Thailand considers lowering age for criminal responsibility to 14

Photo of Mitch Connor

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

In response to a disturbing surge in juvenile offences, the Royal Thai Police (RTP) is considering a radical proposal to lower the age threshold for criminal punishment exemption from 15 to 14 years old.

This unprecedented move follows a string of harrowing incidents that have rocked the nation and left authorities grappling for solutions.


RTP spokesman, Police Lieutenat General Achayon Kraithong, revealed on Thursday that National Police Chief Pol. Gen. Torsak Sukvimol, has mandated the RTP to collaborate with relevant agencies in a comprehensive study of the ages of young perpetrators involved in criminal activities in recent years.

The urgency of this development has been underscored by two particularly shocking events: one, a chilling ordeal involving a 14 year old boy who indiscriminately opened fire on several individuals in Siam Paragon shopping mall, and the other, a horrifying case of a woman brutally murdered by a group of youths in Sa Kaeo province.

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Pol. Lt. Gen. Achayon disclosed a troubling uptick in criminal activities perpetrated by youths aged between 10 and 18 over the past few years. Shockingly, statistics reveal a staggering 11,866 cases of juvenile crime logged between 2016 and 2023 alone. Among these, 1,645 were classified as serious offences, 4,318 as violent crimes, and 5,903 as property crimes, reported Bangkok Post.

Disturbingly, the ages of these offenders are showing a worrying trend towards younger demographics.

Consequently, the RTP and pertinent agencies have reached a consensus that the age range for juveniles subject to legal punishment warrants adjustment, the spokesperson asserted.

Proposing a significant alteration to Section 74 of the Penal Code, Pol. Lt. Gen. Achayon advocates for a reduction in the age range from 10 to15 years old to 10 to14 years old, coupled with a call for stricter enforcement of Section 97 Paragraph 2 of the Juvenile and Family Court and Juvenile and Family Case Procedure Act 2010. Such amendments would empower the Central Juvenile and Family Court to transfer cases involving young offenders to regular courts if they exhibit comparable physical and mental maturity to those above 18 years of age.

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The RTP is poised to formally present this contentious proposal to the Ministry of Justice and relevant organisations in the near future, Pol. Lt. Gen. Achayon affirmed.

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