The Royal Thai Police have cleared over 9 million criminal records of Thai citizens, restoring their right to seek employment and other rights. According to a Coconuts report, Thai citizens can now check their criminal status via a new website launched yesterday, November 16.
The clearing of records applies to certain categories, including cases where there is a non-prosecution order, cases that have been withdrawn, cases where offences have been legally cancelled (for example, possession of cannabis), for those who have been successfully rehabilitated from drug addiction, cases where former suspects have been acquitted, where people have been pardoned, cases of legal amnesty, cases involving individuals who have not re-offended in a 20-year period, cases involving minors, new verdicts that find someone is not the offender, as well as cases where the statute of limitations has expired.
The clearing of criminal records is being done on behalf of Thai citizens with a prior criminal history who, despite having been acquitted or having charges dropped, are still discriminated against due to their data still being held in the criminal records database. This has negatively affected people trying to find work or seek other rights, sometimes leading people to re-offend.
The RTP says that while the project can’t solve all problems, it is an effort to help individuals reintegrate into society. According to the Coconuts report, when asked about former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, deputy national police chief Surachata Hakparn said the project doesn’t apply in his case due to the “severity and duration of his sentence”, adding that it wasn’t up to the police to grant him a royal pardon.