HOW TO...: Find a private detective in Thailand

The Nation, Published on Feb 21, 2003

Thailand has a number of private investigators willing to pound the pavement to get the low-down on and for expatriates.

You’ll find plenty of private investigators operating in Bangkok listed on the Net, from one-man operations who specialise in keeping your house in order while you’re away, to multinational outfits that carry out due diligence, asset tracing, litigation support, as well as plenty of other services for small and large businesses.

The array of services offered means that costs of private investigators vary enormously.

On the lower end, expect to pay from Bt3,000 to Bt5,000 a day for a small operator on a regulation job, such as background checks on individuals or potential business partners, or simple surveillance. With larger investigation firms on more complicated security and investigation cases, costs can shoot into the tens of thousands of baht a day.

Smaller operators have moved into a niche market of private investigation and surveillance in Thailand: making sure companions, business partners and other people you may be dealing with while living in Thailand are on the straight and narrow.

And these detectives do not mince their words when it comes to explaining why their services are in demand.

Investigator Warren Olsen is one. Olsen conducts investigations for Westerners living outside Thailand into personal affairs and backgrounds of their companions.

For work in Bangkok, Olsen charges Bt5,000 a day but adds travel and hotel expenses to the bill when he has to work outside the capital. His website is www.privateeye.com.

One investigator, Sydney PI, carries out investigations in Australia, Thailand and the Philippines, and has also found another niche – investigating if that bar or restaurant you are thinking about buying is the cash cow the owner says it is.

The firm finds out things like: How many customers attend over a 24-hour day, week or weekend?; How many people work there?; What is the true income of the bar?; How long has it been operating?; Who is the real owner?; What is he really selling?

Nervous about your investment? Sydney PI promises it will get the low-down for you. You can visit the company’s website at www.sydneypi.com.

Another investigator, PI Thai, offers several services. They include finding missing persons, surveillance, asset searches, due diligence, collection of evidence, land/business ownership, criminal record checks, negotiations, employment checks, and document searches.

PI Thai has affiliates in other countries, and a team of Thai legal advisers on hand when things get litigious. It can be contacted at investigations@pithai.com.

If you want a bit of local expertise you could try Surachai Vivadhnajat at International Detective. Surachai has received high marks from many clients, and is reachable at undercovers31@hotmail.com.

Among the bigger players is AmorGroup Asia-Pacific, part of a multinational outfit that carries out a host of private investigation and security services.

These include due diligence, missing persons and asset tracing through its worldwide network, particularly in cases of loan default; insolvencies and bankruptcies; litigation assessment; employee thefts; and internal company inquiries. It also offers litigation support with background information on witnesses, identification and location of evidence, and negotiation and settlement support.

The company says it has access to numerous international online databases, which helps it with corporate and credit information on listed or unlisted firms worldwide, property transactions, and reports from various newspapers and trade journals.

Another firm, Investigations Asia, uses UK, US and Thai nationals for its investigations, which include background investigations, due diligence, missing persons, surveillance, and insurance.

The group, which operates throughout Asia, can obtain individual and multiple marriage records, compile information on an individual, and obtain medical records up to 10 years prior to request.

Investigations Asia is also credited with a good record on locating missing persons such as runaways, beneficiaries and heirs to estates.

And if you are an influential businessman with enemies, the company offers VIP protection with a bullet-proof limousine. Visit www.investigationsasia.com for details.

Phil MacDonald

The Nation