Challenges of criminal checks in Thailand
A potential risk in the recruitment process is the possibility of hiring employees who have been involved in criminal activities. Criminal checks are required for job positions that are strategic in nature or involve public safety to ensure that prospective employees do not have a history of violations or criminal acts.
Consider the professions of a public transportation bus operator or driver for logistics activities. If the prospective employee has a history of driving under the influence of alcohol, there is no doubt that this record needs to be taken into account.
This is one of many background checks for prospective employees and has become the gold standard in many companies, particularly in the transportation industry, for mitigating hiring risks. However, conducting a criminal record check can be a difficult task due to country-specific factors. One country in question is Thailand—its processes and procedures present unique challenges only found in the land of smiles.
The absence of publicly accessible websites
The Thai court system is divided into three levels: (1) the Provincial Courts, the lowest level in the judicial structure; (2) the Appeal Courts, which hear appeals from the Provincial Courts, and (3) the Supreme Court, which hears appeals from the Appeal Courts.
Unfortunately, Thailand’s court system has no public online website or a centralized database of cases, so each court’s database is separate. Every court has a designated computer with a database of cases that the public can search through for more detailed reports on their candidates, and this search can only be done offline.
Field visits: a necessity
Since a publicly available online database does not exist, criminal record checks must be conducted on-site at Royal Thai Police stations, where searches can be conducted for cases against the candidate using the facilities provided.
If a record related to the candidate is discovered, the police precinct or court office in the area where the violation/crime occurred (not the candidate’s domicile) must be visited to obtain a more detailed report.
However, not every related party is willing to share information about the case. Some of them are reluctant to provide details, claiming that they need to comply with the recently enacted personal data protection law (PDPA).
Furthermore, with a land area of approximately 513,120 square kilometers, Thailand is the third largest country in Southeast Asia after Indonesia and Myanmar. The topography is also diverse, with fertile lowlands covering a majority of the area and mountains to the north of the region. Thus, conducting field visits presents time and human resource challenges.
The language barrier
For foreign companies wishing to carry out this check, it is necessary to note that all documents are written in Thai.
A name-changing culture
Another interesting challenge that one faces in this process is closely tied to Thai culture. A common practice that is carried out by individuals in Thailand before they enter adulthood is a name change.
Thai people hold the belief that changing one’s name can change one’s destiny. This cultural practice is supported by the local government in the form of ease in the administration process.
This change has the potential to affect the accuracy of the criminal check results. This is why criminal record checks in the Royal Thai Police are carried out using a unique thirteen-digit number that is assigned to each resident’s identity card from the time the individual is born.
ID numbers and fingerprints
Regardless of whether the individual changed their name or gender, the thirteen digits of their ID card number remain the same. Thus, having a photocopy of a prospective employee’s identity card is mandatory before carrying out a criminal check.
For foreign nationals who do not have a residence identification card, a criminal record request can still be made by scanning the candidate’s fingerprints at the Royal Thai Police station.
Facing the long list of challenges above, companies intending to conduct criminal record checks in Thailand need the support of third parties who have local expertise, backed by the most advanced technology.
Criminal record checks with accurate results are essential for companies to make the right business decisions to protect the company and its assets, including employees.