Thai law prohibits torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment; however, NGOs and legal organizations continue to report that some members of the police occasionally torture and beat suspects to obtain confessions. During 2004, there were newspaper reports of numerous cases in which citizens accused police of using brutality, threatening false charges, and extorting bribes. Investigations were undertaken in most of the cases, including several in which the accused police officers were suspended pending the results of internal investigations.
A Thai senator, testifying as a character witness at the trial of four Muslim suspects accused of membership in Jemaah Islamiya, said that while in police custody bags were put over the suspects' heads, and they were beaten on the back and the abdomen. The four were acquitted by the criminal court in June and released from custody. Police opened an internal investigation, but at year's end no criminal charges had been filed.
On October 15, in Tak Province, a police officer said to be drunk at the time forced his way into a home, threatened and beat an older woman, and allegedly tried to rape an 18-year-old Burmese migrant worker. The policeman reportedly had previously extorted money from the girl. The two women returned to Burma, but a complaint was lodged on their behalf with the NHRC.
In March 2004, five suspects in the 2004 Narathiwat military camp raid alleged that police beat and administered electric shocks to them in order to obtain confessions. The suspects filed a formal complaint with the Ministry of Justice through their lawyer, Somchai Neelapaichjit, who subsequently disappeared and was presumed dead. Police opened an internal investigation of the officers suspected of abuse, but at year's end no criminal charges had been filed.
There were no reported developments in the internal police investigation into the November 2004 claim by a married couple that they were beaten and robbed while under detention for 102 days without charge at the Lumpini police station in Bangkok.
In November 2004, police in Ayutthaya Province reportedly beat and applied electric shock to a man's genitals to coerce a confession after arresting him for suspected robbery; 23 members of the police were transferred to Bangkok in connection with the incident, pending an internal police investigation. In December the complainant reportedly withdrew his complaint following an out-of-court settlement.
Have fun on your holiday - but don't do anything stupid. Check the laws in Thailand before you go - they may be different than your home country. You don't want to spend you holiday in a Thai prison.