Brits behaving badly: Where UK citizens are most likely to be arrested

British citizens heading to Thailand stand a greater chance of being arrested while there than in any other country, according to official UK government data.

“The Land of Smiles”, as Thailand is sometimes known, saw some 194 Britons arrested or detained within its borders during the 2015/2016 period, the equivalent of 45 arrests per 100,000 visits, according to data compiled by Statista, a Hamburg, Germany-based international research company, which in turn obtained them from the UK government’s latest Helping British Nationals Abroad report.

The UAE was the second-most-likely destination for traveling Brits to find themselves in trouble with the law (see table, below) followed by Portugal, with per-100,000-visits numbers of 41.35 and 27.69, respectively, according to Statista. The data was based on the numbers of cases in which UK consular assistance was sought between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016.

As for Spain, meanwhile, in spite of stereotypes of Brits getting into trouble in such Spanish coastal areas as the Costa del Sol – and in spite of it being the most popular destination for Brits (13 million visits), there were only 1,012 arrests/detentions in Spain during the time period in question, making for a per 100,000 figure of just 7.8  – the same as the average for all destinations, Statista data journalist Martin Armstrong noted.

One-thirtieth as many Brits travelled to Thailand as Spain during the year in question – or 432,000 – of which, as noted above, 194 found themselves in trouble with the law, the data shows.

News of the findings was reported last week on the ThaiVisa.com news website, where dozens of local readers immediately commented on it, mostly with an unsurprised air, which, as regular ThaiVisa.com readers will know, is their usual approach. One commentator, however, observed that it would be useful to know how the numbers of arrested Brits in Thailand compared with the numbers of other nationals who had also been arrested in the country during the same period. (The UK government would have been unlikely to have included such data in its report, on which the numbers of arrested Brits was based, though.)

The ThaiVisa.com regulars would probably have been interested to note that the British Embassy in Bangkok was, in spite of the fewer British visitors that came to Thailand during the year ending in April 2016, one of the busiest in the British consular network, dealing with some 1,112 total cases of assistance, which included those arrested or detained as well as people with other needs, such as having to do with the need for medical assistance, being raped or assaulted and so on. This put it behind only Spain, with 2,872 cases, and the US, with 1,516.

According to Statista, altogether, there were some 5,122 cases of Britons seeking consular assistance after being arrested somewhere outside of Blighty during the 2015/2016 period covered by the data.

As ThaiVisa.com noted in its report, the Statista data came after it was revealed in March that Brits under the age of 40 “are more likely to die in Cambodia and Thailand than in any other overseas country”, citing an article in The Sun newspaper. 

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