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Thread: Chiang Mai, Thailand

  1. #1

    Chiang Mai, Thailand


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    I'll be headed to Chaing Mai, Thailand for a month soon. Would I be able to carry around a Spyderco Endura4 or Delica4(both have an Emerson clip) without any hassle from local law enforcement? I hear that it's a great place with a low crime rate, but I'd rather not take any chances. Not to mention life tends to be really difficult if I don't blade on me. On that note, if I can't carry those around, are multi-tools illegal? Also, this is only tangentially related but what do the people there generally think about knives? Would I get stares if I whip a blade out to open a difficult package? If it isn't legal or socially acceptable to carry around a knife, what can I carry for self defense? I know I have a lot of questions, but I'd really like to know.
    ^ignore this - already been answered


    Does anyone know anything about Thailand's knife export laws?
    Last edited by XiaolongJackson; 06-15-2012 at 04:27 PM.

  2. #2
    Hey there, although I don't live in Chaing Mai, I am located in Bangkok. Generally, from what I've heard carrying knives is a no no. At least in Bangkok. Laws in Thailand are difficult, confusing, and sometimes just stupid. I do carry my Leatherman 99.9% of the time and haven't ran into any trouble yet. I think multi-tools are more accepted. I've whipped out knives to cut straws or open stuff in public before, and again, haven't gotten into trouble yet. You may not be as lucky though.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Nitiwat View Post
    Hey there, although I don't live in Chaing Mai, I am located in Bangkok. Generally, from what I've heard carrying knives is a no no. At least in Bangkok. Laws in Thailand are difficult, confusing, and sometimes just stupid. I do carry my Leatherman 99.9% of the time and haven't ran into any trouble yet. I think multi-tools are more accepted. I've whipped out knives to cut straws or open stuff in public before, and again, haven't gotten into trouble yet. You may not be as lucky though.
    Thanks for the reply. If knives are no good, what's a good self defense weapon? Once again, I know that this is a peaceful city, but I don't want to take my chances.

  4. #4
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    I'm not in Thailand so my advice isn't worth much but here it is:

    Contact the Thai government and make darn sure its legal. Possibly contact a respected lawyer. Ask about knife carry in general and the consequences of using a knife in self defense.

    I've been living in a neighboring country (Philippines) for a few years and prior to moving here I asked online about carrying a knife. I was told "no problem". When I got here I realized it could indeed be a problem. Even though the wording of the law allows a knife to be carried (I looked up the law myself) the vast majority of the population assumes that it is illegal. And that includes the police and others in the legal system. You then get to argue your case starting at a "guilty until proven innocent" standpoint with people that may, or may not use logic. For example when I ship knives from here to the US new Fedex employees always insist it is illegal and refuse to do so. Even when I show them their website and current rules and regulations handbook clearly states it is fine, and that only switchblades are illegal. They will then argue that all knives are switchblades.

    I don't know what its like in Thailand but here law enforcement can be hit and miss. I would hate to end up in a situation where my possible freedom depends on convincing an illogical person person that they are wrong. Obviously not everyone in the legal system is that way but gambling your freedom is scary.

    With that said look into stuff like tasers, pepperspray, a walking cane, etc. Over here there is no law for tasers or spray...a bludgeon can be illegal if carried for that purpose but a walking stick, umbrella, hammer, etc are fine....maybe its the same in Thailand. And never underestimate a sturdy ink pen for self defense.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by ecos View Post
    I'm not in Thailand so my advice isn't worth much but here it is:

    Contact the Thai government and make darn sure its legal. Possibly contact a respected lawyer. Ask about knife carry in general and the consequences of using a knife in self defense.

    I've been living in a neighboring country (Philippines) for a few years and prior to moving here I asked online about carrying a knife. I was told "no problem". When I got here I realized it could indeed be a problem. Even though the wording of the law allows a knife to be carried (I looked up the law myself) the vast majority of the population assumes that it is illegal. And that includes the police and others in the legal system. You then get to argue your case starting at a "guilty until proven innocent" standpoint with people that may, or may not use logic. For example when I ship knives from here to the US new Fedex employees always insist it is illegal and refuse to do so. Even when I show them their website and current rules and regulations handbook clearly states it is fine, and that only switchblades are illegal. They will then argue that all knives are switchblades.

    I don't know what its like in Thailand but here law enforcement can be hit and miss. I would hate to end up in a situation where my possible freedom depends on convincing an illogical person person that they are wrong. Obviously not everyone in the legal system is that way but gambling your freedom is scary.

    With that said look into stuff like tasers, pepperspray, a walking cane, etc. Over here there is no law for tasers or spray...a bludgeon can be illegal if carried for that purpose but a walking stick, umbrella, hammer, etc are fine....maybe its the same in Thailand. And never underestimate a sturdy ink pen for self defense.
    So it's pretty much like California there huh? Most of the things that you've listed are out of the question, but I have been considering carrying a tactical pen. Problem is they all look like weapons.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by XiaolongJackson View Post
    So it's pretty much like California there huh? Most of the things that you've listed are out of the question, but I have been considering carrying a tactical pen. Problem is they all look like weapons.
    The actual law here (remember I'm in the Philippines, not Thailand) says " It is unlawful to carry outside of one's residence any bladed, pointed or blunt weapon such as "knife", "spear", "pana", "dagger", "bolo", "barong", "kris", or "chako", except where such articles are being used as necessary tools or implements to earn a livelihood or in pursuit of a lawful activity. "

    What most citizens and law enforcers overlook is the part I made bold....If you are using the knife lawfully then it is legal. The problem is you have to argue your case. No idea if Thailand is the same.

    Overall there are a lot less enforced laws here than in the US....especially compared to Cali. I don't recall ever seeing a speed limit sign here, whole families ride on 1 motorcycle, people dump oil down the sewer system, tax laws are more lenient, etc, etc. Locals can legally carry guns with permits (us foreigners can't unless you have connections), but the knife laws were written back during a time of Martial Law under the Marcos regime and are still in effect.

    As for a tactical pen...cops here wouldn't give it a second look....not sure how they would react in Thailand.

    Anyway enjoy your time in Thailand...I know a few people that lived there and they loved it.

    I just posted the first post to make you aware that even though the law in a country may say one thing, in reality law enforcers might not treat it how it is written.

  7. #7
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    I've been to Chiang Mai. They sell all kinds of knives, folders, autos, fixed blades etc. in the night market. For the most part, carrying for self-defense in any foreign country is risky. You will almost always end up in jail. Better to stay out of the more dangerous parts of any city.
    I usually unclip and carry what ever in my pocket in these places including Chiang Mai. Don't give the law a reason to focus on you.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Sidehill Gouger View Post
    I've been to Chiang Mai. They sell all kinds of knives, folders, autos, fixed blades etc. in the night market. For the most part, carrying for self-defense in any foreign country is risky. You will almost always end up in jail. Better to stay out of the more dangerous parts of any city.
    That's why I'm here, asking if knives are illegal to carry in Thailand, so I don't accidentally end up in jail.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sidehill Gouger View Post
    I usually unclip and carry what ever in my pocket in these places including Chiang Mai. Don't give the law a reason to focus on you.
    If it's not legal, I'm just not going to carry it period. I'm going to take ecos's advice and carry a pen with me. I've found a good one with a stainless steel body that doesn't look like a weapon.


    Also, thanks for the help, everyone. I really appreciate all of you taking the time to post in this thread.

  9. #9
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    I guess if you can replace the Spyderco with an ink pen you didn't need a knife in the first place. I was carrying a folder, a CRKT flipper if I remember correctly, as a tool in Thailand and did use it in public for cutting fruit etc. No one said anything. Carrying for "self-defense" is another matter entirely in most countries outside the U.S. In fact, there is a lot of the world that doesn't even believe in the concept of legal self-defense. Posters here are always looking for black and white absolutes. You won't find that when it comes to knives.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Sidehill Gouger View Post
    I guess if you can replace the Spyderco with an ink pen you didn't need a knife in the first place. I was carrying a folder, a CRKT flipper if I remember correctly, as a tool in Thailand and did use it in public for cutting fruit etc. No one said anything. Carrying for "self-defense" is another matter entirely in most countries outside the U.S. In fact, there is a lot of the world that doesn't even believe in the concept of legal self-defense. Posters here are always looking for black and white absolutes. You won't find that when it comes to knives.
    I will also carry a multi tool with me, but I don't like carrying mine around because it's so big and I don't feel like buying another smaller one.

  11. #11
    I lived in Thailand for 15 years, in many different provinces, Chiang Mai being the last one. I had always carried some type of folding blade with pocket clip on me. Knife carry in Thailand usually has two aspects -1) its only illegal if you look like you are up to no good ...2) if you carry one for work related purposes or have a good reason you're good to go.

    They have roadside checkpoints there to check motorcycle registration, sometimes cops pat down the pocket that's on the same side as they are standing, so try and position yourself accordingly when you get pulled over. Or just clip it right over your pants button in the center. They dont shake you down and grope you like the pigs in the US.

    If your caucasion in Chiang Mai your 90% safe that you wont get searched. Unless you got tats and look like a punk or hang around Loy Kroh (beer bar street) during the occasional raid for fugitives and illegal workers. If your black you'll get searched for sure, Africans are well known in Thailand to be drug dealers, and the cops can't tell whether your a westerner or African.

    I'd carry a knife anywhere in Thailand and not even give it a second thought, you can pay the cops off there for $1-20 and your good to go. An American got into a bar fight at a snooker hall with a thai guy about 4 months ago and stabbed and killed him. He did not get charged, it was deemed self defense since the Thai guy pulled out a knife first...the American then responded with a bigger knife...lol

    All in all though CNX is a really chill peaceful place and the majority of people that will cause you grief are actually the British people there.

    Need to know anything else about CNX shoot me a PM, I may go back during the cool season to go riding.

    BTW its hotter than hell over there right now, best time to go is between Nov 1-Feb 15

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by KRS1 View Post
    I lived in Thailand for 15 years, in many different provinces, Chiang Mai being the last one. I had always carried some type of folding blade with pocket clip on me. Knife carry in Thailand usually has two aspects -1) its only illegal if you look like you are up to no good ...2) if you carry one for work related purposes or have a good reason you're good to go.

    They have roadside checkpoints there to check motorcycle registration, sometimes cops pat down the pocket that's on the same side as they are standing, so try and position yourself accordingly when you get pulled over. Or just clip it right over your pants button in the center. They dont shake you down and grope you like the pigs in the US.

    If your caucasion in Chiang Mai your 90% safe that you wont get searched. Unless you got tats and look like a punk or hang around Loy Kroh (beer bar street) during the occasional raid for fugitives and illegal workers. If your black you'll get searched for sure, Africans are well known in Thailand to be drug dealers, and the cops can't tell whether your a westerner or African.

    I'd carry a knife anywhere in Thailand and not even give it a second thought, you can pay the cops off there for $1-20 and your good to go. An American got into a bar fight at a snooker hall with a thai guy about 4 months ago and stabbed and killed him. He did not get charged, it was deemed self defense since the Thai guy pulled out a knife first...the American then responded with a bigger knife...lol

    All in all though CNX is a really chill peaceful place and the majority of people that will cause you grief are actually the British people there.

    Need to know anything else about CNX shoot me a PM, I may go back during the cool season to go riding.

    BTW its hotter than hell over there right now, best time to go is between Nov 1-Feb 15
    I'm actually a NE Asian, so I don't know how cops there would react to me. In any case, I'm just going to carry a stainless steel body pen and a multitool or non-locking knife. Thanks for the advice.

  13. #13
    If your japanese, taiwanese, korean or from hong kong your good to go, you wont get hassled.

  14. #14
    Also, I need info on exporting knives. Will I be allowed to?

  15. #15
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    As far as a weapon, carry a walking stick or a cane. They are not illegal. Get a sturdy one like a cattleman's cane or a 1" diameter rattan stick about 3 1/2 feet long. Put some cord on the handle area. Should be okay.

  16. #16
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    I brought an entire suit case full of them back, kitchen, jungle choppers, folders, you name it without any problems.

  17. #17
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    How much on average are the better quality Thai choppers? Like the aranyik styled ones made of thick leaf springs, and shaving sharp? I imagine they can get pretty pricy, but I also would think that it might be so due to exporting fees, middleman fees, and shipping costs... So what about buying them in Thailand?

  18. #18
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    I don't know if the ones I found in Chiang Mai were what you are looking for. Pretty much all plain jane working tools but the prices were normally under $10-$15 U.S. The best way to find out is go!

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