Is Thailand a haven for US criminals?

It’s only a matter of time before more reports like this come out. The headline reads, “Thailand can be a haven for those fleeing the United States.” From Statesman.com:

In downtown Bangkok, street vendors offer forged American driver's licenses for about $35. Medical clinics provide plastic surgery for a fraction of U.S. prices. Hotel owners often look the other way if guests give false names.

The combination of lax law enforcement, easy hospitality and thousands of backwater towns has attracted a wide roster of fugitives to Thailand and other nations in Southeast Asia.

Fugitives are attracted to Southeast Asia partly because of lax enforcement of immigration laws, experts said.

The problem is clear in the Khao San district of Bangkok, where [Morgan] Hoke was detained last week. Residents and tourists said many hotels do not ask guests to register with their passport numbers, as required by Thai law.

So clearly it's the fault of 100-baht guesthouses. It confuses me how wanted criminals get out of their home countries in the first place. Nobody can deny that there have been a number of high-profile cases of fugitives caught in Thailand, but I don’t like the way the media is starting to present Thailand as a lawless state. These criminals usually come to Thailand via other Southeast Asian countries, but no questions are being asked of those nations.

From the same report:

Thai immigration police used information Hoke had listed on customs forms to find her within hours of receiving her name and photograph from the FBI.

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4 thoughts on “Is Thailand a haven for US criminals?

  1. How typical it is to blame Thailand or present it negatively because the customs people and the FBI can't do their jobs.

    I do wish the criminals would find some other place to hang out though.

  2. But the reason they all head for Thailand is that no one will stop them. Maybe Thailand should perhaps tighten up its borders a bit, for its own sake.

  3. I lived in Thailand for ten months from 7/1/07 to 5/1/08. Its not only criminals from the USA but any and all countries. Crimes ranging from drugs to murder. Living in Thailand without a current visa is not that difficult as I stayed the last four months without a visa,payed the 20,000 baht at the airport and was allowed to leave with no problems. Its very difficult for Thailand as well as any country to police illegal immigrants. It is a shame as Thailand is a lovely place and the people there are very kind and trusting. It also comes down to a reliance of tourist dollars for their survival.

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