Criminal Trespass Under the Thai Criminal Code of B.E. 2499 (1956)

Under the Criminal Code of B.E. 2499 (1956), trespass is defined as a criminal offense in which there are different manners that the offense can be committed. For example, under Section 362, trespass can be committed where a person enters into immovable property belonging to another in order to take possession of the property in whole or in part or in order to disturb the peaceful possession of that person. Furthermore, according to Section 59 of the Code, a person can only be criminally liable of an offense if it is committed intentionally, unless the law designates negligence or strict liability.

In Thai Supreme Court Decision No. 5132/2555, Plaintiff’s brother was the owner of a plot of land in Samut Prakarn upon which Plaintiff had owned a house with her brother’s permission. Plaintiff’s brother had entered into a sales and purchase agreement with Defendant to sell both the land and house. However, when Plaintiff’s brother later went to the Land Office to register the transfer of property to Defendant, the contract at the Land Office specified that Plaintiff’s brother was selling only the land and not any constructions built upon it. After the sale was completed, the Defendant hired Second Defendant to enter into the Plaintiff’s house to renovate the bathroom and kitchen. After being warned by Plaintiff to cease, Defendant ordered Second Defendant to continue with the renovations.

  • The Court held that Defendant was guilty of trespass in violation of Section 362. The Court reasoned that since Plaintiff’s brother specified that only the land was being sold when conveying the property to Defendant, Defendant was not the owner of the house despite owning the land and had no legal right to order Second Defendant to renovate the house.
  • The Court sentenced Defendant to three months imprisonment under the heavier offense of criminal mischief under Section 358 and suspended the sentence for two years. Charges of trespass against Second Defendant were dismissed at trial.

In Thai Supreme Court Decision No. 10832/2553, Plaintiff 1 was a director of Company X, while Plaintiffs 2, 3, and 4 were shareholders and employees of the company. Plaintiffs were residing in employee quarters on the second floor of Company X’s building. The group of Plaintiffs were replaced by a new management team. Plaintiff 1 then resigned from the company in order to establish a new factory; Plaintiffs 3 and 4 resigned to follow Plaintiff 1 to his new company. Later on, Defendant, the manager of Company X, had ordered the locks for Plaintiff’s quarters to be changed. The Public Prosecutor filed charges against Defendant for criminal trespass pursuant to Section 362, in which Plaintiffs joined against Defendant.

  • The Court cleared Defendant of the charges and ruled that his actions did not constitute trespass pursuant to Section 362. First, the Court determined that Plaintiffs had resided in company quarters in their capacity as company employees and nothing more.
  • Furthermore, the Court came to their decision on the basis that Plaintiffs 1, 3, and 4 had resigned from their positions and were not aware of the change of locks until several days later. As for Plaintiff 2, she had been aware that a locksmith had been hired to change the locks and did not protest.
  • Furthermore, at the time the locks were changed, there had been incidents of theft of company property and of employees allowing unauthorized persons to enter employee quarters. Defendant had ordered the locks changed in various different rooms, not only Plaintiff’s.
  • Defendant had also made known in a company announcement that actions were to be taken to secure employee quarters. Ultimately, Defendant had committed all his actions on behalf of Company X which was the owner of the employee quarters.

Although the crime of trespass may appear rather straightforward, there may be times when a situation is not clear cut as evident by the above cases. Whenever one is unsure of the law or its implications, it is strongly recommended that legal counsel be retained before taking any action that could have legal consequences.

 

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