Kidnapping in Thailand is complex. You might not be aware that the laws in Thailand can be very different from your country when it comes to certain crimes. Kidnapping might be the most complex to understand and can also create enormous problems without even noticing the seriousness of what you might have done. There is a good example from the Thai newspapers a few years ago and it might be best to explain the charge of kidnapping in Thailand.
Kidnapping in Thailand
John paid a woman to be his guide while he visited Thailand. After two days everything went well however he suddenly missed his camera. He blamed her for taking his camera and asked to see her Thai ID card. Instead of going to the police to lay a charge of theft, he decided that he was going to hold onto her ID card until she gives back the camera. This created a new problem he did not think of. She went to police station to lay a charge of kidnapping.
A Thai national is not allowed to be out and about without their ID card as it is a criminal offence and by holding her ID card he is holding her against her will. He was arrested on the charge of kidnapping and was not allowed bail when he appear before court. He was remanded to a prison in the province until his next court date. You will note under the article on detention and arrest in Thailand that a serious offence allows the prosecution to hold you on remand for a long time while the police investigate. From the article on detention in Thailand you will note that
“If the maximum punishable imprisonment term of 10 years or longer the Court will have the power to issue several detention orders consecutively for not longer than 12 days each but to a maximum of 84 days”
By the time he finally got hold of an English speaking lawyer he had already spent more than 1 month on remand at the provincial prison. In the end there had been a number of problems with the case however he was released in the end and he left the country. The case highlights four issues:
- 1. Always seek legal assistance once arrested;
- 2. Don’t make any statements unless you have a lawyer who speaks English;
- 3. Your Embassy is normally of little help once arrested;
- 4. Don’t hold anyone’s ID card while in Thailand unless it is by consent.
If you look at the article on arrest you have the right to make a telephone call to an attorney if you are arrested in Thailand. There are not many expatriate law firms or lawyers who speak good English in Thailand. This is a common problem so always remember the contact details of an expatriate law firm with a criminal lawyer on staff that can assist you. Just add the telephone number to your mobile phone in the event of a problem. Note that taking your illegitimate child in Thailand without the consent of his/her mother would also be kidnapping. See the article on child legitimisation.
Remember that you have the right to remain silent once arrested in Thailand. It is always good to keep your mouth and not sign anything unless you have a criminal attorney present that can explain the consequences in good English. Remember that child kidnapping Thailand is not that uncommon during divorce.
The information contained on our website is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For further information, please contact us.