The sharper edge to traveling in Asia

Murder for Hire in Thailand: a few good ways to die if you’re careless

Written By: herbrunbridge - Jun• 15•10

It’s conventional wisdom in the expat community that you don’t want to run afoul of Thais in business dealings, because it’s a good way to lose one’s life. But it’s not just expats that lose their lives, it’s Thais as well. This WoWasis post describes most popular ways of murdering people, the activities of some of the groups that have been held historically responsible, and our suggestions for avoiding situations that are conducive to westerners getting murdered.

Expat murders

Expats are often murdered by being pushed off buildings, generally from the balconies of their own high-rise apartments or condos. The general rule is for the murderers to pay off the desk security people to look the other way and disable the security camera. That way, so one sees the perpetrators going up and down the elevator, and the recording gap in the security tape can always be explained away as a temporary power failure. Occasionally expats will be gunned down by pillion rider son motorcycles, but it’s messy, as there may be witnesses, and it can’t be explained away as a suicide or accident.

The price paid for murdering someone can be as low as $50 USD, but that’s for a simple street murder. It costs more if security personnel have to be paid off. To murder an expat, a Thai generally uses the resource of a gang with murder expertise. In the countryside, gangs operate under the kamnan system, and are generally known to locals. An effective way to murder an expat in Bangkok is to contract with a gang operating upcountry. The city of Korat (Nakhon Ratchasima), for example,  is legendary for its gang activity. A contract is negotiated, and a gang member simply takes a bus to Bangkok, commits the murder, and is back on the bus within a couple of hours. If the gang member does the job efficiently, death is ruled accident or suicide.

Thai murders

A great way for a Thai to get murdered is to become a politician. In the December 15, 2008 issue of the Bangkok Post, writer Wassayos Ngamkham provided an interesting exposé of a few of the Central Plains and southern gangs that have some proficiency in assassinating political leaders, an activity that ramps up during election period, as rivals attempt to do away with each other. According to Deputy Crime Suppression Division (CSD) chief Prayon Lasuea, gang members are under the protection of “influential figures,” a catch-all term commonly used in Thailand to describe political and business individuals that routinely work outside the law, and are deeply entrenched in their own communities. Prayon even divulged the going pay rate for assassinations, ranging from 30,000 baht ($926 USD) for a villager, to 500,000 baht ($15,435) for a politician or businessman.

Murder by the numbers

Overall, we feel Pol. Col. Prayon’s numbers are a bit inflated, as economic factors will often dictate lower fees for murders and assassinations, particularly when westerners are the targets. Detective Warren Olson, in his book Confessions of a Bangkok Private Eye (2006), states that the going fees for most murders are 20,000 baht ($617 USD)  for a Thai, 50,000 baht ($1,542 USD) for a westerner. Police, particularly the CSD, tend to get involved when a Thai businessman or politician is murdered, but somewhat less so when the victim is a westerner, unless he or she is a famous one. In the case of nearly all murders, witnesses are conspicuously absent, or not forthcoming with information that could get themselves potentially involved in a police investigation, or  worse, in serious trouble with a gang member. Gangs have been known to include former members of the CSD, which suggests that by greasing the rights palms, gang members would potentially have access to police databases and investigative reports.

Our suggestions

There are two classic ways for westerners to get murdered in Thailand. One is to have a romantic relationship with a Thai, and have a life insurance policy that the individual knows about. Somewhat insidiously, the victim may never know an insurance policy is taken out.  Thais are victims of life insurance scams, too. The Bangkok Post of December 18, 2008 reported that Natthakarn Anamarn, a 58 year old former nurse, received a 20 year jail sentence for insurance fraud (but not for murder) for falsifying insurance documents on her late husband. She had taken out 18 life insurance policies for him, totalling 40.645 million baht ($1,254,669 USD). This was the second of her husbands to die under mysterious circumstances (he was apprently drugged prior to an auto accident, and later died at home, the victim of poisoned coffee), and she collected insurance money on the first one as well.

Another great way to end one’s life prematurely is to have a business relationship with a Thai, wherein the Thai stands to make more money if the westerner is dead, rather than alive. An example would be a joint business venture that has suddenly become successful, and the Thai wishes to buy out the westerner’s share in the business. If the westerner refuses, he or she could be potentially in serious jeopardy.

Thais love to smile, laugh, and have a good time. But don’t let the brilliance of a beautiful smile blind your good judgment.

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  1. Jim says:

    -Are you a farang living in Thailand?
    -Are any of your property (condo, car, accounts) in the name of a thai lady or business partner?
    -Do you keep a lot of cash around the home?
    -Does you Thai partner know you have significant assets in Thailand that they, the banks and police can manipulate in their favour in the event of our death?

    If so, an accident can be arranged for you in the form of balcony fall, electrocution, drowning, suicide pills.

  2. Justin t says:

    Don’t end up in the Thai legal system it is more pricy than USA.Don’t go to Thailand I learnt this the hard way after losing my life saving and being put on fake charges.

  3. An interesting website cropped up in October 2015. The subject? Expat deaths in the Land of Smiles:

  4. […] to be rare. There are also the stories of those falling off balconies, where speculation about contract-style murders is common in social […]

  5. Anonymous says:

    Dangers in thailand in descending order of severity:
    1). Taking a bus to Laos, Cambodia or Burma and leaving you backpack or luggage unattended while the bus stops for the usual 20 rest/eat stops. The danger is not someone taking something out but rather putting something (drugs) into your bag to smuggle them across the border. You’re playing around with 20+ years in jail. So always keep your backpacks with you always.
    2.) buying a joint or any drugs usually from undercover police. Getting busted means, about 1000 usd for bail or the same amount to have charges dropped.
    3.)having drinks with a thai prostitute and leaving your drink unattended. Tourists are often drugged and walked back to their hotel rooms waking up to an empty wallet. Sometimes, too much sleeping pills are put into theirs drinks and they never wake up. These are always ruled accidents and very rarely if ever is someone charged with murder.
    4) making a fake id on khaosan road (international drivers license) for about 20 usd. If you get caught using one its up to 3 years in jail, but usually a 10k baht fee paid to police to let you go.

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