Child Abduction and Kidnapping in Thailand

Child Abduction and Kidnapping in Thailand

For many, the joy of welcoming a child into their lives is unparalleled, fulfilling dreams and completing families. Yet, life's unpredictability can sometimes shatter this idyllic picture. A momentary lapse, such as losing sight of your child in a mall, can plunge a parent into deep distress. The agony is unimaginably magnified when a child is abducted, leaving parents in a tormenting state of uncertainty for days, or possibly longer, about the well-being of their child. Such an event can be devastating, shattering the emotional well-being of a child's parents.

Although the notion of child abduction may seem distant, it is a harsh reality for some, underscoring the importance of having robust legal and law enforcement systems in place. Thailand recognizes the gravity of these situations and has enacted specific laws aimed at safeguarding children, particularly in scenarios where their safety is at risk. This legal framework is designed to protect the most vulnerable members of society, ensuring that when the unthinkable happens, there are mechanisms in place to support and rectify such grievous situations.

The Thai Criminal Law On Child Abduction

Child Abduction is a serious offence and is penalized under the Thai Criminal Law, Section 313 which states:

“Whoever, in order to obtain a ransom:
1. Takes away a child not yet over fifteen years of age;
2. Takes away a person over  fifteen years  of age  by using  deceitful  means, threat, doing  any  act  of  violence,  unjust  influence  or  mode  of  coercion  by  any  other means; or
3. Restrains or detains any person,
shall be punished with imprisonment of fifteen to twenty years and fined of thirty thousand to forty thousand  Baht,  or imprisonment for life, or death. ‍
If the commission of the offence according to the first paragraph causes grievous bodily harm to such person taken away, restrained or detained,  or is by acts of torture or hardly cruelty so as to cause bodily harm or mental harm to such person,  the offender shall be punished with death or imprisonment for life. If the commission of such offence causes death to the person taken away,  restrained, or detained, the offender shall be punished with death.” ‍

Such accomplices or intermediaries of the person who abducted the child shall also be penalized under the following sections of the Thai Criminal Law:Section 314 ‍“Whoever, to be a supporter to the commission of the offence according to Section 313, shall be liable to the same punishment as a principal in such offence.” ‍
Section 315  ‍“Whoever, to act as the intermediary person, to demanding, accepting or agreeing to accept any property or benefit to which not to be entitled from the offender under Section 313  or from the person who will give the ransom,  shall be imprisoned as from fifteen years to twenty years and fined as from thirty thousand Baht to forty thousand Baht, or life imprisonment.”

Taking Your Own Child Away Without the Other Parent’s Consent

After parents split up or get divorced, sometimes the child's care is shared between them. But, there are times when one parent might take the child without the other parent's permission. In Thailand, if a parent takes their own child like this, it's not seen as a crime. Instead, it's handled as a private matter to be solved between the parents, without criminal charges, unless the situation clearly breaks a sole custody agreement.

If a child is taken to another country, the parent left behind must first prove in a Thailand court that they have the legal right to care for the child. Then, they can ask the court for a special order to bring the child back from the other parent who is in Thailand.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction

There are several elements to consider in cases of international child abduction, and one of those considerations should definitely be the Hague abduction convention. This is arguably one of the most important civil aspects of international child abduction.

The Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (HCCH 1980 Child Abduction Convention) is a multilateral treaty, which seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of wrongful removal and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to bring about their prompt return and ensuring the protection of rights of access. The "Child Abduction Section" provides information about the operation of the Convention and the work of the Hague Conference in monitoring its implementation and promoting international cooperation in the area of child abduction. In Thailand, parental child abduction is not a criminal offence. It is considered to be a dispute between the parents and a civil matter to be settled by a court of law. Thailand has signed the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Child Abduction. 

If your country is a signatory to the Hague Convention, then, the convention may work and take effect, however, if your country is not a signatory to the Hague Convention e.g. the United Kingdom, then it cannot operate between the two countries.


The fear of kidnapping, especially involving one's child, is a profound concern for many people. When seeking legal help from a foreign country, it's important to start by understanding how the legal system and police work there. You need to know the police's authority, their reliability, and the legal boundaries of your case.

The first step for any parent in this situation is to find a trustworthy lawyer who can explain the laws in simple terms. It's important to choose someone reputable, whether in Bangkok or another part of Thailand. Adapting to the way lawyers handle disputes in Thailand can be different from what you're accustomed to in your own country. At Juslaws & Consult, we're a trusted firm with the resources to ensure you fully understand your legal case and how it will proceed in a Thai court.

We take every case seriously, using all our resources to ensure Thai laws are strictly followed. Courts in Thailand may operate differently from those in your home country, but that doesn’t mean you can’t seek justice or that we can't help you recover your child if they've been unlawfully taken. We handle all information with the utmost care.

Losing a child, even briefly, is an unimaginable ordeal. At Juslaws & Consult, our experienced lawyers have dealt with child abduction and custody cases. Our services extend beyond child abduction; we can assist with other legal issues as well. We're confident in our ability to support your legal needs.If you have any questions or need assistance, please contact us. We’re here to help.