According to Transparency International’s 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index, Thailand’s ranking in terms of perceived levels of corruption increased by 9 spots, moving up from 110th in 2021 to 101st out of 180 nations.

An improvement to put into perspective

The nation was ranked 85th in 2014, the year General Prayut Chan-o-cha staged a military coup to seize control. It subsequently improved to 76th place in 2015 before falling to 101st place in 2016. It climbed back up to 96th place in 2017, but after that, it started a relentless decline that saw it drop to 99th in 2018, 101st in 2019, 104th in 2020, and 110th in 2021.

According to a report published in January 2023 by the anti-corruption organization Transparency International, the country scored 36 out of 100, an improvement from 2021.

New Zealand (CPI score: 87), Singapore (83), Hong Kong (76) and Australia (75) continue to lead the region, but there are some worrying signs.

New Zealand once led the world, but its progress is now stagnant while other countries around it improve. Afghanistan (24), Cambodia (24), Myanmar (23) and North Korea (17) score lowest.

A nationwide problem

However, corruption remains a nationwide problem, with endemic corruption among state officials and the police, conflicts of interest and lax law enforcement.

24% of Thai citizens said that they had to pay a bribe in the previous 12 months and 88% think corruption is a big problem in Thailand.

On August 29, 2022, the deputy secretary-general of Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), Prayad Puangchampa, was removed from his post after being deemed “exceptionally wealthy” and amassing a fortune of 658 million baht, part of which is abroad.

More recently, the recent corruption case revealed by Taiwanese actress Charlene An Yu Qing: she allegedly paid a bribe of 27000 baht to the Thai police after being arrested with a vaper (illegal in Thailand) during a traffic stop.

Top and bottom performers

Countries with strong institutions and well-functioning democracies often find themselves at the top of the Index. Denmark heads the ranking, with a score of 90. Finland and New Zealand follow closely with a score of 87. Norway (84), Singapore (83), Sweden (83), Switzerland (82), the Netherlands (80), Germany (79), Ireland (77) and Luxembourg (77) complete the top 10 this year.

On the flip side, countries experiencing conflict or where basic personal and political freedoms are highly restricted tend to earn the lowest marks. This year, Somalia (12), Syria (13), and South Sudan (13) are at the bottom of the index. Venezuela (14), Yemen (16), Libya (17), North Korea (17), Haiti (17), Equatorial Guinea (17) and Burundi (17) are also in the bottom 10.

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