Thai law firm explores new corruption survey

Top Quote A recent survey shows the majority of Thai people believe corruption is likely to increase due to current economic instability and loopholes in Thailand law. Leading Thai law company BSA Law has reviewed the poll and current legislation aimed at reducing corruption. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) February 16, 2012 - Bangkok - Thai people fear corruption will rise amid economic uncertainty and that loopholes in Thailand law exacerbate the problem, according to a new poll.

    The survey revealed that 54 per cent of respondents believed corruption was likely to increase and that giving money was considered the most prevalent form of bribery, ahead of gifts and promotions.

    BSA Law is an international law firm in Thailand which has examined the issue of bribery and corruption in the south-east Asian kingdom.

    It believes a culture of paying money to 'oil the wheels' of business is still entrenched in many emerging markets such as Thailand. Those starting a business in Thailand or looking to expand their operations may be tempted to use bribery to fast-track approvals but this is fraught with danger. The Thai law firm warned that anti-corruption provisions were contained within both criminal and business law in Thailand.

    Under Thailand Law's Organic Act on Counter Corruption the definition of corruption centres on the abuse of public power and fraud. It does not address bribery within the private sector.

    The Thai Penal Code also deals with bribery and corruption and distinguishes between active corruption (offering a bribe) and passive corruption (accepting a bribe).

    BSA Law spokesman Apisakde Kongkangwanchoke said the January Suan Dusit Poll - which surveyed 2209 people in every province - showed there was still a long road ahead when it came to tackling corruption.

    "This shows that public confidence in anti-corruption strategies is not high," Mr Kongkangwanchoke said. "Those with a business investment in Thailand need to be aware of anti-corruption provisions under Thai law. Consulting with business clients tells us that there is confusion over what is considered bribery and what is considered acceptable business dealings."

    The Thailand lawyer identified the following loopholes within Thailand law's Penal Code:

    The use of a broker was not criminalised, meaning that anyone using an intermediary would not be penalised; and
    The definition of bribery did not extend to an inducement offered to a bureaucrat or judicial officer to carry out official or legal duties, suggesting that sin nam jai or gifts of goodwill were acceptable.

    "Criminal and business law in Thailand can be open to interpretation and as a legal service in Thailand we are often called to advise our clients on anti-corruption legislation."

    About BSA Law:

    For nearly 30 years, Bamrung Suvicha Apisakdi Law Associates (BSA Law) has focused on providing reliable legal advice and services to the Thai and foreign business community in Thailand. BSA Law seeks to provide international standards of legal services while retaining the customs of the Thai business culture.

    For more information please contact:

    Jim Byrne
    Business Advisor, BSA Law.
    Email: jim ( @ ) bsalaw dot co dot th

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