Is it legal to hire a private investigator in Thailand?

July 23, 2023 - Reading time: 8 minutes

As leading private detectives based in Thailand, we are frequently instructed by clients that have never previously hired a private detective before; and as such, we are frequently asked questions such as whether or not investigative services are in fact legal.

Yes, it is legal to hire a private investigator in Thailand. However, it is always advisable to use a well established and reputable firm in order to ensure high quality results. The detective agency should be a registered Thai company, with all fees paid into accounts held by that company. Accreditations and past experience should also be considered when choosing a detective agency.

Of course, it is possible to hire a private investigator in another country to carry out investigations within Thailand; in this situation the case will typically be outsourced to a local firm based in Thailand, with middle man fees added by the agency which manages the case.

We frequently provide updates to our clients during investigations in real time, and although we also work alongside other detective agencies around the world; we find it easier to communicate directly with our clients, rather than communicating through an intermediary based in the client's home country.

Bangkok Private Investigators logo on a glass door

We offer free quotes for all work; if you require the services of a private detective based in Thailand then feel free to get in touch with one of our experienced team members for help and advice.

What can private investigators in Thailand do?

Private investigators typically offer a number of different services for either private or corporate clients; our agency provides services to both sectors.

Personal surveillance service

Personal surveillance can be used in a number of different cases to check the lifestyle/activities of a subject. Surveillance is often used during infidelity investigations, for example, and is the most common method which can be used to catch acts of infidelity on camera.

Private investigator taking photos with a camera

Surveillance is often deployed in areas of Thailand such as Bangkok, Pattaya, Phuket, Chiang Mai; however we can also deploy surveillance teams in all areas of Thailand, subject to reimbursement for travel time and costs.

If you are interested in our surveillance service and would like a free quote, then please feel free to get in touch with us - we will need to know the locations of the case and any relevant details in order to understand your needs and requirements, please include this information when getting in touch with us.

Background check services

Due to the growing problem of romance scams, premarital background checks are an increasingly common method to check and verify facts relating to a Thai girlfriend or boyfriend before taking the step to get married or further progress a romance.

Background checks can also be used by employers to check candidates as part of preemployment background screening.

Private investigation services displayed on a touch screen

Checks can be used to verify any number of different factors relating to an individual; from basic information such as their date of birth or gender, to other checks such as employment history, marriage/divorce history, criminal record checks, family checks, and more.

We offer standard background check packages and can also offer customised packages depending on the needs and requirements of our client. Please feel free to contact us and tell us about your case to learn more about our background check service. We offer free, no pressure quotes for all work.

Missing people investigations

Searching for missing people can prove to be some of the most challenging and most rewarding cases that are handled by us.

Binoculars looking out over a city

In cases such as these, everything will depend on the information that our client is able to provide us with... Are there any locations which could be visited in order to conduct interviews with a view to locating the subject? Is any information available on the subject's current or past locations? What is the subject's nationality? Why specifically are you trying to get hold of them? For missing people investigations we will need as much background information as possible in order to assess the situation and provide a quote.

Corporate investigations 

We have years of experience in performing corporate investigations and due diligence within Thailand. Investigations on behalf of corporate clients often involve the acquisition and dissection of data which can be used to help them to make informed decisions, which will in turn allow them to save both time and money.

Skyscrapers in Bangkok, Thailand

Shrewd businessperson understand that conducting due diligence in the form of relevant checks can help to mitigate their risk of financial loss... Investigations of this nature can take many different paths, depending on the circumstances and the needs/requirements of our client.  

What can't private investigators do?

Phone hacking

"Can you hack into a phone? Can you hack into a social media account?" - Answer: No; absolutely not. We do not offer any form of hacking services as this would be against the law. 

In some cases we are able to utilise publicly available data in order to collect information on any certain individual... For example, in some cases we can use facial recognition checks to discover instances of a subject's face on the internet - we have previously found adult videos featuring subjects, as well as dating profiles and similar material. As these checks involve the acquisition of data which is already available in the public domain, it is effectively considered 'fair game' for a private investigator. 'Hacking' into private data on the other hand is not allowed under any circumstances.

Unethical surveillance practices

"Can you break into a hotel room and install a hidden camera so that you can record my partner cheating?" - Answer: No; absolutely not. Unauthorised surveillance of this nature is not allowed.

Requests for intrusive surveillance of this nature are all too common... Surveillance services which take place outside of a Hollywood movie set is always confined by rules, as well as numerous subjective elements which are often outside the control of surveillance agents. While it may be possible to gather evidence that your partner is cheating on you, the use of hidden cameras in this way is simply unacceptable.

Learn more about us

Please visit the Bangkok Investigators homepage for more information about us and the services that we offer.

Scammed by my Thai girlfriend (shocking HORROR story)

February 22, 2023 - Reading time: 11 minutes

Ian, please post this story in your blog. I want other people to read about what happened so that they can learn from it and maybe it won't happen to them.

For the purpose of this story I will refer to the lady as 'Pim', but this is not her real name.

I originally found Pim on a dating site. I found her to be very attractive and we started talking. She told me that she was living on her parent's farm in a small town in Roi Et. She sent me lots of photos of her farm, her animals and the basic living conditions there. 

We started talking regularly through WhatsApp, we were talking all day every day for months. After 8 months of speaking to Pim I flew out to meet with her for the first time. We arranged to meet in Phuket where I had booked a resort near the beach in Patong.

Stock photo showing an Asian lady with a serious expression on her face

I had an amazing time with Pim in Thailand, we visited the temple, we went on boat trips, ate at nice restaurants, everything was great and I became even more in love with her at this point. After 2 weeks it was my time to return home but I could not stop thinking about Pim and within a week I had paid for a second flight to Thailand, I was going to return after 6 months but stay in Thailand for 4 weeks this time.

During my second visit I wanted to visit Pim's farm in the countryside but she told me that I wouldn't like it up there and that we should stay in Phuket. Pim told me that she had never visited Phuket before going there to meet me during my first trip.

6 months quickly passed and I was back again in Thailand with Pim. This time I did not want to leave her and was making plans for a long term future with her. I had some money available from an inheritance and I figured out that if I sold all my assets back home in the States that I would be able to buy a business in Thailand and make a life out there.

A person holding 100 dollar bills

During my second visit I took Pim to our favourite restaurant and proposed to her, which she accepted. Now things were really getting serious.

Knowing my plans, Pim told me that she had found a really good deal on a house for sale. The house itself was a bit of a wreck and needed some investment. The pool was leaking water, it needed various repairs and a coat of paint. The house was being advertised for 3.8 million baht, but Pim was able to negotiate it down to 3.5 million. I thought it was a good deal, especially compared to house prices in the states.

At the time of writing this article 3.5 million baht is approximately 100,000 US dollars. It is not a massive amount of money, but it is still a lot by most peoples’ standards. I wanted to view more properties but Pim persuaded me into this specific one, using many different reasoned arguments.

So I bought the house, and setup a Thai company which would be used to own it. Although I felt like I could trust Pim, I did not want to put the house in her name, and after reading horror stories online we setup a company of which I was able to own 49%.

After the vacation I went back home to liquidate my assets and Pim was tasked with making sure the house was renovated to a high standard. I sent her money on a regular basis, I sent her 14,000 dollars to fix the roof and repair the pool. I sent 6,000 more to repair the fence and driveway gate. There were many expenses involved with repairing the property. 

Things came to a head when Pim gave me a rough list of expenses and told me that she needed around 16,000 dollars to finish the house. This would include painting the walls and buying basic furniture and appliances. 

Lady holding dollar bills

I sent over the money and then things went silent. I got no response from her on WhatsApp or Facebook, I called her and the calls would not connect. I became very worried that something might have happened to her, I thought maybe she was involved in an accident. I sent a friend over to the house to speak to her but when he arrived the house was empty.

I could not think straight and was constantly worried about the situation. I ended up taking time off work to fly back and find out what was happening. I got back to my house to find it was not as completed as I thought it was. Work has been done on the house but it was still a building site and nowhere near finished. There was no sign of Pim anywhere.

I started asking around. I visited the bars that I always drank at with Pim. I got speaking to the manager of a bar in Patong where we always would drink. The manager told me that Pim used to work at another bar on the strip, apparently Pim had been working in the bar for at least 2-3 years - this was all new to me. I thought that Pim had worked at a clothing store before meeting me, she never mentioned bar work.

Although the manager gave me some information on her past, no-one I spoke to knew where Pim was. It was like she had just vanished.

I spent more time in Patong alone and depressed, I started drinking heavily. I looked through the paperwork that I had brought relating to the purchase of my house. A business card fell out for the real estate agent that sold the house. On a whim I visited their office to see if they could help me find Pim.

Although the realtor only spoke with Pim while I was buying the house, she remembered it and described it as 'the blue corner house for 1.6 million'. I showed her photos of the house on my phone and she repeated, 'yes, I remember. That blue corner house we sold for 1.6 million'.

You will probably read this story and think that it is ridiculous and that it could never happen to you. I wouldn't class myself as an idiot either, but it quickly transpired that Pim had sold me a house which cost 1.6 million for 3.5 million and simply put the difference in her own pocket.

Documents with the word scam written on them

The process of buying a house involved what seemed like thousands of pieces of paper, and Pim had dealt with most of it. She had somehow inflated the price that I paid. She then took even more funds which were supposed to be used to renovate the house. I was expecting the house to be almost finished, but when I arrived it was still in a total state of disrepair. Plus, Pim owned a large percentage of the holding company which owned the house.

The truth was starting to dawn on me and I broke down in the real estate office. While going through my paperwork with them, they pointed out that I had a copy of Pim's ID card, which featured an address for a small town in Roi Et. 

I needed answers at this point and took a flight from Phuket to Bangkok. In Bangkok I rented a car and drove myself to her village. The drive took me 7 hours. She was living in the middle of nowhere and surrounded by rice fields. Finding her village was very difficult and it took hours to locate her.

I showed local people in the village photos of Pim on my phone and they told me with broken English that Pim lives in 'that house' with a farang.They pointed to a very large 4-5 bedroom house that was painted white. I should point out that ''farang'' means a foreign man, usually a white guy. They were reluctant to give me any information and I could tell that they were gossiping amongst themselves as the 'translator' tried to communicate in broken English.

The house that she supposedly lived at was protected by a gate/fence all around it. I could see most of the driveway from the roadside as the house sat on top of a hill. I decided to just see what was happening and sat outside the house in my rented car.

Rural road in Thailand

After 40 minutes of sitting outside this house in the middle of nowhere, my heart sank as I saw Pim walking outside the house and onto the driveway. It was definitely her, I recognized her hair, clothes, everything. Shortly after she left I saw a white man follow her out of the door and two young children. They walked around the garden together watering plants.

At this moment the gravity of the situation hit me like a brick in the face. I just couldn’t believe that I had been conned in this way. All along she had been living with a different man and raising his kids.

This is probably very anticlimactic, but I decided not to confront them and just drove away. I am not a confrontational guy and did not want to create a big situation in front of her kids. I don't know whether the other guy knew that I had been conned but by this stage I didn't care either. Maybe I am not the only boyfriend, maybe her husband just sits back while Pim earns money by conning guys out of cash. I don't know and will probably never know the truth. 

After this I sought legal advice and the long and short of it is that it's going to be a very long road to try to recover my money and get out of the situation that I'm in. My lawyer said that it will take years and might not go anywhere, of course I will still need to pay the legal bills whatever happens with my case. 

I will admit that I was a fool, and while all Thai women are not bad I will certainly be more cautious in the future. When my relationship becomes more serious I will definitely have you run a background check on my girlfriend before money enters the equation. 

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Can a Thai bar girl make a good wife?

February 6, 2023 - Reading time: 10 minutes

Reading online you are bound to find countless stories involving foreign men forming romantic relationships with Thai bar girls... Usually, the advice is to 'steer clear', and not without good reason. Entering a relationship with any person that works at a red light area in any country in the world is probably not considered to be a wise endeavour by most people.

However many foreign men do become involved with Thai bar girls and go on to get married and live happy lives together, so what makes the difference between long, happy relationship and a disastrous, short one? The truth is there are many unique variables at play in each relationship; this article will touch on some of the more common circumstances witnessed by us.

What is a Thai bar girl?

First of all, it's important to understand the job description of 'bar girls' in south east Asia... Bar girls are ladies that are responsible for entertaining clients, both inside and outside the bars in which they work.

Woman in a tank top drinking alcohol from a bottle

Bar girls earn a commission each time someone buys a drink from them. If a customer decides to take the lady from the bar then he will also need to pay what is known as a 'bar fine' in exchange for the bar losing a member of staff; the lady herself will typically receive commission from the bar fine, as well as money paid from the customer for her time.

Bar girls can be found in most red light areas of Thailand, in beer bars, go-go bars, gentlemen's clubs, discos, nightclubs, karaoke bars, and more.

Allowing your Thai girlfriend to work in a bar

One arrangement that some guys might choose early on in their relationship is to allow the lady to continue working in the bar and to simply accept the fact that she will continue sleeping with clients in exchange for money. If the man is not ready to 'take care' of the lady financially by sending money, then this is a popular choice, and it can take many different forms.

The first is a 'don't ask, don't tell' approach, where the lady will continue to service clients on a regular basis and not tell her 'boyfriend' what is going on - he would prefer to not know the details, while accepting that she is still on the game. In other cases the lady will inform her boyfriend each time she sees a new client, and let him know what is going on in her life.

Women drinking alcohol in a bar

By far the most common approach however is for the lady to tell her boyfriend that "I will keep working in the bar but I will never go with customers, I can make money from drinks and tips but I will never go with customers"... The reality in this case is usually different, and when we are asked to check during a bar girl investigation then in the majority of cases we will find the lady is still 'on the game', despite what she tells her boyfriend - she is still available for the right price. This is only to be expected as after all - it's in the job description for a bar girl, and most ladies are keen to earn as much money as they can for themselves and their families.

However, a surprising amount of guys will still believe the lie that their girlfriend is not leaving the bar with customers. In our opinion the lady will still be doing her full job as a bar girl in 8 out of 10 cases.

If a bar girl claims that she does not leave the bar with customers, then a popular technique is to tell her boyfriend "I will call you at the same time every night as proof that I'm in my own room". This can often provide a false sense of security, as the lady is still free for 'short time' arrangements where she can return back to her room in time. 

In other cases the lady will simply tell her customer that she needs to grab some clothes from her room before returning to his hotel room. While back at her own room the lady can make a quick phone call to her boyfriend, she might say that she is 'feeling tired and can't speak for long' - after the call her phone is turned to silent and she will return back to her customer. We have seen this happen on numerous occasions. 

Bar girls often claim to be "working as the cashier in the bar" or "working as the manager", having "only started working in the bar last week/month".

Other times the lady will call her boyfriend in front of her customer. Some guys that are paying for a lady's services even find this funny, and there are videos posted online which show this happening.

The bottom line is that if your girlfriend is currently working at a bar in Thailand, then you can never know for sure whether she will be prepared to leave with a customer. If she is attractive, then she is likely to regularly receive offers from customers in the bar. And remember, each customer is not only an opportunity for the lady to make a quick buck, it is also an opportunity for her to potentially forge a romantic relationship, which leads us to the following section...

Do Thai bar girls have more than one boyfriend at the same time? 

In online forums and social media groups, a common topic is the theme of a bar girl having multiple different boyfriends at the same time. This is often referred to as 'the bar girl scam'.

Bar girls are able to meet with numerous guys every day or week; and if the lady is young/attractive, then many of the guys she speaks to on a daily basis may be interested in her - whether that is a short time 'pay for play' arrangement or a serious romantic relationship.

Private investigator taking photos with a DSLR camera

The emergence of internet dating websites and apps can allow attractive bar girls to chat with men from all countries around the world. Of course, it is rare that a bar girl will actually admit her job title to men that she meets online. We have seen cases where ladies might visit their friends in a coffee shop or café where they can take half a dozen photos wearing their friend's uniform - the vast majority of men that find her on a dating site will never have any reason to doubt her claim to work a normal job, especially when her claim is backed up by photos.

With bar girls regularly meeting with different guys, there is a potential for them to form 'long term relationships' with more than one man. Some boyfriends might choose to send money to her on a regular basis, some might just send her gifts occasionally - some will send nothing and only spend money on the lady when they are in Thailand themselves. Whichever way you look at it, romance scams can be profitable, especially if the lady is attractive and desirable.

Taking your Thai girlfriend out of the bar

Taking a bar girl out of the bar can be a 'catch-22' type situation... If you are not willing to spend any money, then the lady will continue to work in the bar and continue to leave with customers (even if she tells you that she doesn't)... Eventually she might meet a guy that does want a serious relationship and that is willing to spend money to prevent her from working in a bar. This is the 'endgame' for some bar girls.

On the other hand, if you decide to send money to your girlfriend so that she can stop working in the bar, then you risk being scammed. 

Most guys believe that 'I've heard the horror stories but this girl is really different, she is not like the others', but the reality is that most bar girls are in very similar circumstances. Some bar girls might take the money and stop working in the bar, but many others will simply continue working in the bar or switch to more discreet methods such as freelancing or using dating apps. Will the lady be truly content with the support from one man, or will she seek to earn even more? Some choose a career from the latter.

Until you commit yourself to paying the lady a monthly allowance or purchasing some type of business for her, you won't find out whether she is genuine or just out for a quick buck. It may take many months or years for her true character to surface. In some long term scam cases it can take literally years the truth to come out.

We believe that if you are involving money into your relationship, then it can often make sense to perform due diligence in order to make sure that you are not being taken advantage of.

Check your Thai girlfriend

As a leading detective agency based in Thailand, we can help to investigate your partner through various techniques. Please click through our website to learn more about us, or get in touch with one of our experienced team members for a free quote.

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My Thai girlfriend keeps asking for money

February 4, 2023 - Reading time: 10 minutes

If your Thai girlfriend keeps asking you for money, then this could be a sign that she is not financially independent and needs support from you in order to pay her bills and live day to day, perhaps she simply does not earn enough money. On the other hand, it may be indicative of a romance scam, or that she could be using you for money. 

A lady clutching dollar bills

Of course, for those of us that are not able to read minds, discovering your partner's true intentions can be very difficult. Hiring a private investigator in Thailand is one way to check on your partner's activity/movements in order to confirm their claims and verify whether infidelity is taking place within a relationship - there is nothing worse than being cheated on, and as Thailand's leading detective agency we are often asked to help in such cases.

Does your Thai girlfriend need your money?

Some Thai ladies have careers or businesses and are able to earn large salaries - ladies that fall into this category are not likely to need help from their boyfriends or husbands with paying for day to day expenses. However, if your girlfriend is working a menial or low paid job, then she might find making ends meet more of a challenge. 

In traditional Thai culture, the daughter of the family is typically responsible for supporting her parents into their old age - many Thai people do not have high paying pensions as is common in Western countries.

Asian lady taking a selfie

If the lady already has children from a previous relationship then she will likely need to provide for her kids as well as potentially her parents. Supporting yourself and your family on a low paid or minimum wage job can be a challenge; especially if the lady also has debts or other commitments which she needs to take care of.

Many Thai ladies that are uneducated and have a family to feed will look to Thailand's red light areas for an income... Securing a decent paying job can be very difficult without relevant qualifications, and most businesses require start-up capital. Working "the game" can act as the means to an end for impoverished ladies in some cases, and infidelity involving the sex industry is something that we often observe during surveillance investigations that are conducted by us. If your girlfriend is struggling for money, and happens to live near a red light area, then the risks of infidelity occurring are clear.

Supporting a Thai girlfriend long term

If your girlfriend does not make enough money by herself, then perhaps you could support her into further education such as university, which might enable her to earn money money in the future. Otherwise you might be able to provide the capital needed for her to start a business. Before making decisions it would be wise to consider your partner's current incomings/outgoings and perform due diligence in order to make sure that she is trustworthy.

While there are obviously risks associated with choosing to invest in your partner, the adage "Give a man a fish and will be hungry tomorrow; teach him to catch a fish and you will feed him for a lifetime" is relevant here.

"I have never met my Thai girlfriend in real life"

Sending money to a person that you have not yet met in real life is a different topic altogether.

Due to the prevalence of romance scams we encounter during our day-to-day work, if you have never met your Thai girlfriend in real life then we would not recommend sending money to her

Letters spelling out the word scam surrounded by 100 dollar bills

If you decide to support a person you have not met in person anyway, then we would recommend running a background check on her beforehand, or at least carrying out some form of investigation in order to confirm that her story is correct and not fabricated. We have observed many cases where romance scammers were able to take advantage of others' good will... Even if the lady is not a scammer, she could be involved in relationships with other men or fabricating major details about her life in order to extract money from you.

"My Thai girlfriend is asking me to buy gold jewellery for her"

Gold is popular in Thailand, and if you spend anytime in the country then you will notice gold stores in most areas; whether you are in a small town or city, a store selling gold jewellery is never far away. In these stores gold can be purchased and sold or even pawned in some cases.

Gold in Thailand is usually 23 karat, which is 96.5% pure gold. Due to its high purity Thai gold has a distinctive yellow colour, which is different to the duller colours often seen in Western jewellery which have lower purities of gold. Due to its high purity, Thai gold is also more soft and malleable.

Bars of gold

Gold jewellery is also relatively cheap in Thailand - the amount you will pay for having a piece of gold crafted into a necklace is not a lot more than the value of the metal itself. Gold can therefore be swapped for cash without much loss; if the value of gold goes up then you might gain a small amount (or you might lose money if the value of gold goes down). This is unlike gold jewellery in Western countries where steep fees are usually charged, which are far above the cost of the metal itself.

In traditional culture, buying gold is used by some as a way of saving money and investing it in a tangible asset. Gold jewellery can easily be swapped for cash, and it allows people to show off and display their wealth... Your Thai girlfriend might enjoy walking around with gold necklaces/bracelets/rings, in order to 'gain face' by showing others that she has enough spare cash to buy gold jewellery. 

If you are considering a gift for your Thai girlfriend, then Thai gold jewellery is a good option. After all, if she doesn't like it or would like to spend the money on something else, then the item can easily be sold for cash or traded for another piece. Remember though to purchase only Thai gold jewellery - your Thai girlfriend is not likely to be impressed by a 10 karat chain from the West!

Is my girlfriend using me for money?

One of the reasons that Thai ladies seek relationships with foreigners may be the perception that foreign men have money and will be able to provide them with financial security. If you decide to start a relationship with a lady that is struggling financially, then you will need to help keep her head above water - just as a Thai man would, or any guy in a mutual relationship with her.

The Thai concept of 'saving face' does not always help matters when it comes to extracting information from your partner such as specific details on their finances. What do we mean by this? Well, if the lady owes money and is in significant debt, then she might not be keen to tell you about this, and it's easy to understand why. After all, most guys will not be thrilled to discover that their partner has debts or other financial commitments, and revealing this information could lead to her 'losing face'.

A wooden Pinocchio doll

Due to this, understanding the true state of your Thai partner's finances might be easier said than done. In order to understand her financial situation, you could make a start by listing her in-goings and out-goings - how much does she earn and how much does she spend? Does she have any dependants that rely on her, and if so how much does it cost to support them? Is the lady in debt? Does the lady or her family own farmland for example? If so, what are the costs associated with cultivating their land?

If your girlfriend is constantly asking you for money and to make non-essential purchases for her then this might be indicative that you are being taken for a ride. Although, as we mentioned at the start of this article, discovering your partner's true intentions can be very difficult unless you are able to read her mind... Many of our clients would never have discovered that their partner was cheating on them or living a double life had they not taken the step to investigate further.

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