Legal Corner: What Are the Penalties for Destruction of Government Property in Thailand

Recently there have been several major cases involving destruction of government property in Thailand that have driven a lot of attention on our media platforms.

The most recent involved a foreigner who allegedly parked his motorbike in a no-parking zone in Phuket and then had a police officer place a wheel lock on the bike. Instead of the foreign man going to the police to pay a relatively small fine for improper parking to have the wheel lock removed, he chose instead to purchase tools and cut the lock off himself.

The incident was caught on video, even showing the man giving a Shhhhh symbol to the bystander who took the footage. This caused it to go viral and have police release statements that the man, who is still unknown and free as of press time, would be searched for and charged with destruction of government property.

What shocked readers was just how high penalties for destruction of government property could be in Thailand. Let’s take a closer look by starting with the differences between misappropriation and destruction of government property, presented by our friends at Issan Lawyers.

The difference between misappropriation and destruction of government property in Thailand is primarily in the nature of the acts and their legal definitions:

– Misappropriation: This refers to the act of dishonestly taking possession of property that belongs to someone else or is co-owned, and converting it for personal use or for a third party. In the context of government property, it would involve an individual taking control of government assets without the authority to do so. The Thai Criminal Code specifies that misappropriation is punishable by imprisonment not exceeding three years or a fine not exceeding six thousand Baht, or both.

– Destruction of Government Property: This involves the act of physically damaging or destroying property that belongs to the government. It is a more direct and tangible offense compared to misappropriation, which is more about the unlawful taking or use of property. The destruction of government property can lead to different legal consequences, potentially more severe, depending on the extent of the damage and the specific laws that apply. In top level cases, it could even possibly see imprisonment of up to ten years and/or fines of up to 500,000 Baht.

Basically, misappropriation is about the unauthorized taking or use of property, while destruction is about causing physical damage to the property. Both actions are illegal and carry penalties under Thai law.

In Thailand, damaging government property is considered a serious offense under criminal law. Yes, even a motorbike chain placed by a police officer on your bike, although realistically it is unlikely someone would actually face a decade in jail for this.

Dangers of Damaging Government Property

Damaging government property not only leads to legal consequences but also poses significant dangers to the individual involved. It can result in a criminal record, which can affect future employment opportunities, travel plans, and even social standing. Moreover, there are broader implications such as contributing to the degradation of public assets and services, which can have a detrimental impact on the community and the environment.

For instance, environmental damage in Thailand is taken very seriously, especially in areas of high ecological value. Violations can lead to severe penalties, including imprisonment and substantial fines. For example, people found violating bans on environmental damage on certain islands can face up to one year in prison and a fine of 100,000 baht.

It is crucial for individuals to understand the gravity of damaging government property in Thailand. The legal ramifications are significant, and the broader dangers to oneself and the community are substantial. It is always advisable to respect public property and adhere to the laws to avoid these penalties and contribute positively to society.

Consider reaching out to Issan Lawyers, contact information below, for assistance with any problems you may have had or questions regarding legal matters, including criminal case related problems like destruction of government property.

Isaan Lawyers specializes in providing legal services for expats and overseas nationals in Thailand.

For more information, visit Issan Lawyers here.

*Disclaimer: This article provides general information and does not constitute legal advice. Consult with a qualified attorney for personalized guidance.*

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Adam Judd
Mr. Adam Judd is the Co-owner of TPN Media since December 2017. He is originally from Washington D.C., America, but has also lived in Dallas, Sarasota, and Portsmouth. His background is in retail sales, HR, and operations management, and has written about news and Thailand for many years. He has lived in Pattaya for over nine years as a full-time resident, is well known locally and been visiting the country as a regular visitor for over a decade. His full contact information, including office contact information, can be found on our Contact Us page below. Stories please e-mail About Us: Contact Us: