The Anti-Money Laundering Act was passed in March, 2008. The aim of this legislation was to eradicate the drug trade, along with other illegal activities. The Act was recently amended in 2008 to broaden the scope of criminal liability and to increase the powers to conduct investigations and seizures. The Act also attempted to address the issue of perceived corruption in government offices. To this end, the Anti-Money Laundering Prevention and Suppression Office (AMLO) was established under the Act.

 

Crimes covered under the Act

The Act now covers the transfer or conversion of funds or property obtained from illegal activities like:

 

  • Prostitution and other related sexual offenses
  • Drug trafficking
  • Extortion
  • Public fraud
  • Trade involving contraband items
  • Abuse of power by government officers
  • Fraud involving financial institutions

 

Provisions of the Act

Under the Act, a violator is defined as an individual who has committed or attempted to or assisted or attempted to assist the commission of a money laundering. The punishment is imprisonment of up to 10 years and a fine of up to 200,000 Baht. The 2008 amendments to the Act addressed the provision for perceived corruption by government officers, with fines doubled for both the accomplices and principals, if those found guilty are government officials. The Act allows the thorough investigation of banking transactions and any other concerned financial transactions, giving enforcement officials the power to seize, without having secured a warrant, property or money connected to any of the above listed offenses. In order to recover the seized property, the owner must be able to provide enough evidence to prove that the property is not connected to the crime.

 

Reporting Requirements

The Act requires banks and other financial institutions to report all cash transactions exceeding 2 million Baht. This provisions covers property transactions with a value in excess of 5 million Baht. AMLO has also established a requirement that all individuals entering and leaving Thailand should declare the amount of currency in their possession in order to investigate the compliance of the amount with certain statutory levels. Failure to comply with these laws can result in a fine of up to 300, 000 Baht whereas filing a false report can result in a fine of up 500,000 Baht and imprisonment of up to 2 years.