Thailand Security Threats

Data and information about security threats from Thailand’s black market. Intelligence data and security threat information collected from news articles and public data sources.

Travel to Thailand

According to statistics from the Office of the Narcotics Control Board and the Narcotics Suppression Bureau, there are 1.3 million people in Thailand who are addicted to drugs. This translates to roughly 2 percent of Thailand’s population.

Out of the 1.3 million drug addicts in the country, 250,000 have been prosecuted at one time and have been sent to prison. Military officials stated taht in some years, between 60 to 70 percent of soldiers signing up for the Thai Military have a history of drug addiction.

During the 2013-2014 fiscal year, public health officials stated that 359,399 drug addicts in Thailand underwent rehabilitation programs.

Source:  King-oua Laohong, “Thailand ‘now a drugs hub’ ,” Bangkok Post, December 19, 2014.

According to a study by the Small Arms Survey, there are an estimated 10 million firearms and guns circulating in the hands of civilians in Thailand.

The price of buy a gun in Thailand costs about $2,600 on the black market, according to previous reports.

(More prices of AK-47s and other guns on the black market.)

Source:  Charlie Campbell, “If There’s Going to Be a Thai Civil War, Isaan Will Be Its Front Line,” Time, July 2, 2014.

Security forces in Cambodia arrested two Cambodia men for organizing a kidney selling ring in Thailand. The men ran an organ trafficking ring that sent 5 people to hospitals in Thailand with fake documents in order to have their kidneys removed.

According to police officials, the men sold the kidney’s for $10,000 (325,000 Thai Baht). To the human sellers who sold their kidneys, the men paid them between $3,000 to $5,000.

(See how much kidneys sell for in the organ trafficking market.)

A man from Myanmar told a reporter from the Associated Press that he was sold by a human trafficking broker to a Thailand fishing boat for $616. The man originally thought that he was going to work on the boat for 6 months, yet ended up working for over a year. During the time, the Burmese man stated that he slept for 3 hours a night.

The seafood industry in Thailand employees 2 million people and is constantly facing a labor shortage. Many Thais do not want to work on the fishing boats where the wages are low, the job is dangerous, and many boats are at sea for months and even years. To meet this shortage, an estimated 200,000 migrants from Cambodia and Myanmar are working on the boats. A 2013 survey of 600 workers conducted by the United Nations found that almost none had signed a labor contract and about 40 percent had their wages cut without explanation.

Nearly 6 out of 10 migrant workers on Thai fishing  boats reported seeing a co-worker killed by the captain, according to a 2009 UN report. The man who was sold by traffickers told the AP that after a sick man died on the boat the captain simply tossed the body overboard.

The fishing industry in Thailand exported nearly $7 Billion worth of seafood in 2013. Most of the seafood was exported to Japan and the United States.

Source:  Associated Press, “Thailand’s Rampant Trafficking May Carry Price,” ABC News, June 13, 2014.

Based on statistics released by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), there were at least 20,000 elephants killed world wide by poachers in 2013 for their ivory tusks. The number of elephants killed was slightly down from the 22,000 elephants killed in 2012 and the 25,000 poached in 2011.

At the end of 2013, there were an estimated 500,000 African elephants living in the world. 95 percent of the elephant population has been killed during the last 100 years.

The ivory is collected from elephants in Africa and sold in markets in Asia. According to Cites, there are 8 countries that are heavily involved in either buying, selling or providing illicit ivory. The countries are Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda in Africa, and China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam in Asia.

The three African countries accounted for 80 percent of the major seizures in Africa in 2013.

Security forces stated that many of the gangs involved in wildlife trafficking are now using existing drug trafficking routes to smuggle the ivory.

(See more elephant poaching statistics here.)

Source:  Damian Carrington, “Fewer elephants killed in 2013, figures show,” Guardian, June 13, 2014.

A survey by the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce found that an estimated $1.3 Billion (43.5 Billion Thai Baht) in illegal gambling bets is expected to be placed in Thailand during the 2014 World Cup Tournament. By comparison, an estimated $789 Million (25.7 Billion Baht) is expected to be spent on consumer goods and parties, such as new television sets.

Thailand has a huge illegal gambling industry.  There are over 3 million gamblers in Thailand who gamble at any of the 700,000 to 1 million illegal casinos across the country.

Source:  Phusadee Arunmas, “World Cup a boon to spending,” Bangkok Post, June 6, 2014.

According to media reports, security agents in Thailand killed at least 69 loggers from Cambodia in 2013 who were attempting to illegally cut down timber in Thailand.

The rate of violence between loggers and security and environmental protection officials in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar have increased in recent years due to the demand for luxury furniture in China. The Siamese rosewood, which is found in the Mekong area, is used to make high-end furniture in China. Between 2000 and 2014, an estimated $2.4 Billion worth of precious timber has been imported to China to meet the demand. The Siamese rosewood is sold for thousands of dollars per cubic meter, with illegal loggers able to make hundreds of dollars per day cutting down the trees.

(All illegal logging statistics.)

Source:  AFP, “China demand for luxury furniture ‘decimating rosewood’,” GlobalPost, May 12, 2014.

Criminal justice reports from Thailand state that there were 386 human trafficking cases prosecuted in the court system in Thailand in 2013. 483 people faced human trafficking charges from the cases.

Back in 2010, Thai authorities brough 38 human trafficking cases to court and prosecuted 64 people.

(Additional human trafficking statistics here.)

Source:  Kavi Chongkittavorn, “Thailand as a regional haven for human trafficking,” Nation, May 12, 2014.

A black market passport dealer from Myanmar who was working in Bangkok explained to a reporter about the illegal passport trade in Thailand. According to the dealer, there are three types of passports that are available for sale on the black market: Stolen passports, real passports that the owner is selling in order to make money, and fake passports.

The price of passports in Thailand depends on the issuing country. A passport from Myanmar (Burma) costs between $1,300 to $2,000 (40,000 Thai Baht to 60,000 Baht). Black market passports from European Union countries are available for sale for $2,600 (80,000 baht). The most expensive passports in Thailand are from the United States, which sell for $3,300 (100,000 baht).

(All statistics on fake ids and fake passports.)

Source:  Linn Thant, “Crackdown Under Way on Illicit Thai Passport Trade,” Irrawaddy, March 18, 2014.

Police in Phuket, Thailand report that a foreigners can sell their passports on the black market in Phukett and receive up to $200. The foreigner can then report to their home embassy that they have lost their passport and receive a new one.

(Fake id cards and passports for sale on the black market.)

Between January 2012 and June 2013, over 60,000 passports of both Thai citizens and foreigner tourists were reported missing or stolen in Thailand.

(More earnings and income from illegal jobs.)

Source:  Amy Sawitta Lefevre, “Thailand grapples with ‘massive’ fake passport racket,” Reuters, March 10, 2014.