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Thai Police Propose Lowering Legal Immunity Age to 14

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Gautham Suthakar
Gautham Suthakar
23, born and raised amidst the allure of Penang Island, Malaysia, I'm am an adventurous journalist now set to dive to the dynamic landscape and into the bustling streets of Bangkok, Thailand. With a fervent passion for storytelling and a thirst to offer fresh perspectives, join me as I unravel the rich tapestry of narratives in this vibrant city

Amidst the captivating landscapes and vibrant history of the Kingdom of Thailand, a significant paradigm shift is underway within the Royal Thai Police (RTP) concerning juvenile justice. In response to a concerning rise in youth-related offenses, the RTP is preparing to present a groundbreaking proposal to the Justice Ministry: the reduction of legal immunity age from 15 to 14. This bold initiative, disclosed by RTP’s spokesperson Pol Lt Gen Achayon Kraithong, stems from the discerning observation of the nation’s police chief, Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol. The aim is to align with relevant authorities and meticulously analyze the age demographics of minors involved in criminal activities in recent times.

The impetus behind this proposal was fueled by two alarming incidents that shook the nation. One occurred in a bustling Bangkok shopping mall, where a 14-year-old boy unleashed violence by opening fire on unsuspecting individuals. The other incident, equally distressing, involved a group of young individuals in Sa Kaeo province brutally murdering a woman. These occurrences not only cast a pall over the community but also sparked a debate on juvenile accountability.

According to Pol Lt Gen Achayon Kraithong’s insightful analysis, there has been a noticeable surge in juvenile delinquency, spanning ages 10 to 18, in recent years. The statistics paint a troubling picture, with 11,866 juvenile offenses recorded from 2016 to 2023, including 1,645 serious crimes, 4,318 violent incidents, and 5,903 cases of property violations. The trend is clear: the age of offenders is decreasing.

In response to this concerning trend, the RTP, in collaboration with allied agencies, convened to discuss a critical amendment—the revision of the legal framework to redefine the scope of juvenile culpability. The proposed change to Section 74 of the Penal Code seeks to lower the age bracket from 10-15 to a narrower range of 10-14. Additionally, the proposal advocates for a stricter interpretation of Section 97 Paragraph 2 of the Juvenile and Family Court and Juvenile and Family Case Procedure Act BE 2553. This significant step could empower the Central Juvenile and Family Court to transfer juvenile cases to conventional courts if the involved minors demonstrate physical and mental maturity comparable to individuals over 18 years old.

As the RTP prepares to present this transformative proposal to the Ministry of Justice and its relevant partners, it signifies more than just a policy adjustment. It represents a deeper acknowledgment of the evolving dynamics of youth behavior and the urgent need for a legal system that not only punishes but also rehabilitates. In navigating these complex issues, the RTP’s initiative could mark a significant milestone in Thailand’s quest for a more equitable and balanced approach to addressing juvenile delinquency, reflecting a society that adapts alongside its citizens.

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