What is Living in Thailand REALLY Like?

Burglary in Thailand

Apartment burglarized yesterday…

We had a great afternoon exploring new places for my girlfriend’s day off and returned about 2:30 pm. I walked into the apt first and I saw that the back door was open.

Weird. My girlfriend said she was sure it was closed.

I grabbed my beatin’ stick and my knife and walked slowly down the hall.

Oops, the room that we had always kept shut – because we weren’t given a lock for it and because the door locks by itself when opened too much – it pushed in the plunger on the doorknob and locks it…

That room was open. I told my girlfriend to go back out on the porch and let me know if someone comes running out.

Our stuff was laying out on the floor and we realized that someone definitely had broken in while we were gone.

I circled around the back and looked at the window leading into our place. Hmm, screen torn, hammer laying in our place on the floor – whose hammer?

I looked up to my right to see what the young guys are doing in the shop that is adjacent to the backyard area. There’s a guy staring at me maybe 25 meters away but I can see the outline of his body and head in the store. The store is really dark inside, but I see his outline. I walk straight for him, going in the back of his store – through his apartment area and I tell him to come with me (in Thai).

I’m still carrying the stick and the knife and his friends are laughing nervously as they watch him come outside… not sure if I’m about to blame him for breaking into my place.

I point to the back of my house and show him someone broke in.

I tell him I want to look inside and I want him to come in with me. He says, nobody is inside. I said how you know? He said he saw a guy jump over the back wall (over the barbed wire). I said, who?

A guy about 15 years old.

I said, WHO?

The guy comes by a lot on the motorbike and goes around the corner by your apartment. You want me to take his picture?

“No, just point him to me when you see him.”


We go inside anyway and I know now that it is either one of the young guys that work in this place where this guy works or it is the 15-year-old like he said. That eliminates a lot of possibilities.

We find stuff thrown all over the place. A few things missing. The few major things we had – electronics.

My Penn fishing reels that I was hoping to bring back to the states to fish with my son with… hmm, that sucked most of all.

I drill the guy with questions and I go back to talk to all the guys that work in the shop.

They thought the guy that jumped over the fence was working on something at the house – he had a large paint bucket with tools in it.

Yeah, nice.

So -what happened as far as I can piece together.

The guy saw us leave – we had a backpack and when we leave together we’re always gone for 3 hours or so minimum. He went over the back wall – over the barbed wire of the unit 2 doors down from us. He couldn’t get in there easily – they had windows shut tight and couldn’t wedge hammer indoor.

He jumped over the dividing wall unit next to ours.

Again – window shut tight and I guess he didn’t want to break the glass.

He jumped over the wall into the back of our unit – and saw a glass pane missing (always was since we moved in). Our windows were open too – we always leave them open.

He put his hand between the slats and ripped the screen with the hammer claw. Stood on the 5-gallon paint can that he took from the neighbors back area and brought over to ours.

He reached through and unlatched the top sliding ‘lock’.

He ripped a hole lower in the screen (picture top – but not clear) and, using the hammer wedged the claw in the lock we had and bent the lock enough that it popped.

Then he wedged the claw into the space between the door and jamb until he could get his hands in there and pull hard to break the sliding ‘lock’ at the bottom of the door. He was in then.

He went into the bedrooms, spilling stuff everywhere. He took the Samsung digital camcorder and Penn reels there.

He went into the other locked bedroom – the one we couldn’t get into – and used a KEY TO GET IN>

How the hell did he have a key? Who knows – we didn’t have one! How do I know he used a key? There was a key still in the lock – and it FIT.

PLUS, there were two more keys on the keyring with that key! One was for a padlock SOLO brand – like we use and most of Thailand uses to lock the outside of their homes. The other – not sure – a doorknob type lock I think.

So, that was strange to say the least. Yes, we suspect past tenants… but, the whole thing is – it’s impossible to ignore the guy who SAW the 15-year old that he KNOWS jumping over the fence… Common sense tells you he is either correct or lying to save himself or friend’s ass. End of discussion.

It was stupid for me to save 230 baht by buying a 120 baht lock instead of another 350 baht one like I had on the front door. I just figured there’s not much point really – the doors we have someone could stick their foot through if they really wanted to – there are cracks in our front door where we can see daylight through it. The wood is cheap. Why buy an $11.50 USD lock when someone isn’t even likely to try to break a lock – just kick a hole in the door?

Well, that logic was a bit flawed I guess as this guy DID choose to break the lock because it was a small one.

Anyway… long story short we call the police and they come and ignore the eye-witness and say they think it’s one of the construction workers in the back area.

The police ignored the guy that said he saw who did it… Knew the kid, AND saw him go by where we live more than 10 times.

If I gave half a shite I’d have ranted and raved, all I could do was laugh though. How nutty is that?

So the police are questioning the construction guys in the back… most of which are old and might not even be able to jump over the walls with help.

I wish them luck… really I do.



I created this site to focus on expats living in Thailand, and tourists visiting Thailand. Don't miss the blog - Thaipulse.com/blog/. I hope you come away with something positive as a result of visiting Thaipulse.com. Feel free to leave questions or comments at the contact form under Home | Contact above. All written content on this site by Vern Lovic. Contact me at Google+. Cheers!

11 thoughts on “Burglary in Thailand

  • November 18, 2007 at 6:59 am

    I”m so sorry ! Having someone break into your house is a horrible experiance… as for catching the thieves.. I wish the police good luck too…

  • November 19, 2007 at 5:12 am

    an inconvenient truth is that you just cannot stop someone who wants to get into your home. somehow, they will find a way.

  • November 19, 2007 at 6:22 am

    Oh, that sucks! I’m so sorry to hear this, Vern! :( But at least no one got hurt!

    And no, it wasn’t me you saw, I would never have ignored you! (run, maybe…)

  • November 19, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    Thanks all – I think you’re right MJ – with the time there isn’t much you couldn’t break into. The SOLO locks we have can be cut through with the cutters. We had to have one cut through with a rotating disc blade – it took 5 minutes of cutting – and that was a good lock around 400 b.

    In the states when I’d walk into my house which bordered the woods – and an easy break-in target I’d pick up my 9mm that was on the inside shelf within reach of the door. If it was there – that was a good sign. I’d check the hollowpoints. If they were in it -that’s another good sign. I’d then walk around the house like a cop into every room and cupboard. In the states I had a perhaps unrealistic fear that I’d be a home invasion target and that WAS NOT happening to me.

    Here there’s just knives and saws and things… my 3 pronged spear that I used in hawaii for spear fishing is an amazing weapon with the surgical tubing as a sling. It was $50 at the Long’s drugstore in Maui. It has 3 sections that screw together. Awesome!

    Anyway… Thanks for writing. Vern

  • November 20, 2007 at 3:00 am

    I’m really sorry to read this Vern! What’s your plan then? Move to somewhere else or “secure” the doors until next time?

    I sincerely hope Thai police will help.


  • November 20, 2007 at 3:07 am

    Vern, another inconvenient truth is that the police won’t accept your help in Thailand. we come from a place where the police rely on us to help them solve crimes. like a lot of NH guys, i packed too, and the cops were always grateful for our presence to back them up if ever need be. in Thailand the cops prey on the Citizens and maintain an air of absolute authority over them. they would never accept your help – imagine that, a farang telling them how to do their job! no, the only way that they could keep face is if the Thai guy next door told them what he knew directly, and even then there are no guarantees. this explains why they purposefully ignored you and the witness you introduced and went questioning their own “suspects.” the only way you’ll ever see that stuff again is if you find it yourself.

  • November 20, 2007 at 3:21 am

    Oh I forgot to mention. The landlord is being super-cool about this. Considering they have 3 units in the same area and everyone is upset since the intruder went to their two units first before finding a missing glass slat in our louvered windows. (missing since we got there). :( The landlord will install metal gates on the front doors and increase the security of the rear metal gates. Cool enough. At least their doing something. Yeah, nevermind that the next time they could just yank really hard on the metal gate on one of the window frames and pull that whole frame out. MJ’s right – no matter what – someone could get in.

    I’ve always acted like everytime I left the house that this would be the day someone broke in. I don’t know anyone that hasn’t been broken into that’s lived in Thailand for years. Especially farangs.

    I left my computer at home, my portable drives… and you know what? they were in VERY obvious places – but, someone doesn’t look in obvious places… they think stuff is hidden and go looking for the hidden stuff.

    I left my cheap camcorder out on the floor on purpose since I thought it would serve as a good distraction and a thief would be happy enough to get that. Nevermind that the batteries and charging cable were not in the same case! hahaha. The reels – i never thought someone would want those. But, yeah, whatever.

    I don’t really feel the loss since the camcorder didn’t work that well anyway. It goes WHITE screen a lot. That’s why I bought it for 5,000 baht from the dent/scratch section at the store. It worked for it’s purposes and still worked – but, someone that bought it off this thief would be pissed off it doesnt work!

    Such is life… such is life…

    MJ – man, you’re right on with that losing face explanation. That’s a great explanation i didn’t consider – but yep, fits well. It’s amazing what situations you’ll find affected by loss of face. ALL situations. :) Thanks everyone for comments.

  • November 20, 2007 at 6:28 am

    It really really sucks. I am building a house and this is the number 1 concern. My house will have only 3 windows facing West, each 1 square foot, spaced 1 meter apart. No one will be able to squeeze through those windows.
    And I will have steel doors. Hopefully they can push their way in.
    I will have flat concrete roofing.
    Sounds like a prison? Yeah, I guess, but it will be done in hopefully tasteful modern style. And the lack of windows and all concrete design will save a lot of electricity.
    Hell, this might be a better looking house than those houses with all that steel grill windows that really makes it look like you are living in a prison.
    What can you do? Every little thing you have in the house is worth more than their monthly salary…
    Sucks like shit.

  • January 11, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    Bribe the cops and get your stuff back, they were waiting for some cash before they took it seriously. Get to know a local cop and make friends with him and they stuff will be back before you got home and you just tip him. It’s they way they dooz it, Vern, it’s the way they dooz it. You prolly know that now.

    • January 12, 2011 at 1:03 am

      We didn’t lose much so I didn’t go that route. The idea of someone in the house pissed me off more than anything. A neighbor said he knew the kid that did it… I said, ahhhhh, forget it.

  • January 12, 2011 at 10:38 am

    I understand, but it’s good for others to know how that works and that you can do it. “Uniformed police officer” can be a happy phrase in Thailand – very much so. Most Farang get a very negative view and stay away…say after they’ve been fined 6000 baht for throwing a butt in the rain gutter near MBK.

    That said, I would have done what what you did, but my wife educated me as to the great social good and community integration of tipping the cops. You get to know them, shake their hand, commiserate on how Manchester United is doing, and now you have a valuable friend. This gives the cop high status and you higher protection. It can lead to great and good favors and money REFUSED once a relationship is established. Something that I was very delighted to have experienced.


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