Security in Thailand – Keys

| August 11, 2011 | 32 Comments | 12,011 views

A weakness of the the Thai economic system is the inability to enforce written contracts and protect intellectual property rights–witness the recent episode with the princes plane being confiscated in Germany over a contract where the Thai government just refused to make the last payment for work done. The German company had a contract but in the end it was unenforceable in Thai court.

Contractors in Thailand routinely add on 20% to estimates in Thai on Thai deals because Thai people are unlikely to make the last payment when work is completed. Some excuse will be made, the last 20% will be withheld and the contractor has no recourse. So contractors add 20% on to protect themselves from the inevitable bad faith dealing.

Landlords ask for large deposits because Thai renters won’t pay the last months rent, running their deposit down to zero before leaving. It’s rational behavior considering they can’t force the landlord to return their deposit. Following the contract and paying the last couple of months rent, would leave the Thai landlord with no incentive to return the deposit and the tenant with no way to compel it.

In lower Sukhumvit, Patpong, and Pantip, there are counterfeit DVD’s, counterfeit Louis Vitton purses, counterfeit Rolex watches, counterfeit software, and counterfeit vaginas openly for sale.

So it’s not surprising that lock companies can’t restrict access to key blanks and lock owners can’t protect themselves from casual copying of keys.

In the U.S., key blanks to many expensive locks are restricted. Only licensed locksmiths can order blanks and they are liable if they make unauthorized copies.  Large companies with thousands of locks typically use a proprietary blank that prevents casual copying and the lock company sells the blanks only to the company. You can’t just take your office key to a key shop and have a copy made. This prevents casual copying where employees take keys down to the local strip mall and makes extra copies.

This is how the function of protected blanks is described by an online lock seller (

The key profile of a lock primarily is an issue of key control. Legally the Protec Elite and Ruby Exclusive key profiles have the same level of key control, no dealer other than the dealer who originally issued the keys (or the Factory) can cut more keys. Technically with the standard Protec Elite key profile all Abloy Protec dealers in the US have access to this blank, so physically they could duplicate a Protec Elite key if they wanted to (but they would break their contract with Abloy in doing so). Our Ruby Exclusive key profile is a key blank that is only issued to us, which makes it physically impossible for another Abloy dealer to duplicate your key as they do not have access to the key blanks. A Protec Elite key will not even fit in a Ruby Exclusive lock. The Ruby Exclusive is a very secure level of key control giving peace of mind to even the most worried lock owner. Having an exclusive key profile can also be useful if an eventual attack against the Abloy Protec is found. While it is hard to speak about something that has not happened, many advanced rights escalation attacks, or advanced attacks against high security locks, require having a key (or key blank) that fits the lock. With the Ruby Exclusive you will make it harder for an attacked to have access to a fitting key.

In Thailand, key blanks even to expensive locks are available if you know where to go and this makes unauthorized duplication of keys by maids and girlfriends a big problem. Even with expensive high quality locks, once you give the key to someone your security is compromised. They can take the key and have it inexpensively and easily duplicated. In Thailand, you must protect physical access to the keys.

This is another reason the two lock setup is the preferred one in Thailand. The keys to one lock are given to those you want to have access, like maids and girlfriends. The other lock is only for you and the keys are never given to anyone. That way you can always secure your home from unauthorized access by locking the second lock and  you can always allow access by giving keys to the other lock

This is a key stand on Petchaburi Soi 25 just east of the Petchaburi/Rajadamri intersection. If you are at Pantip, head east on Petchaburi, take the overpass at the Rajadamri intersection just past Platinum mall and the stand is on the left right after the overpass.

This modest stand has blanks and the equipment to duplicate all kinds of keys and defeat the electronic security features on most keys.

When you see this building, the key stand is right across the street.

This is a motorcycle key that has an ant-theft feature. There are pieces of metal that must be inserted into the fob that match the original keys or the electrical system of the bike will be disabled preventing starting and running.  Just duplicating the metal part of the key doesn’t produce a usable key. This is supposed to make unauthorized duplication more difficult.

In Thailand, no problem. The girl had blanks with a selection of dibs and she inserted the proper ones in the new key. Cost 150 THB.

Here is the owner duplicating a key for Honda accord that has a non-traditional key path that can’t be ground with a normal key duplicator. The key has a squiggly groove running down its center preventing copying using a standard key grinder like the one pictured above.

No problem. The stand owner has a special machine and a collection of special bits and slugs to allow the squiggle path to be duplicated. Cost 200 THB.

In the U.S., getting extra keys for your Honda costs around $100 USD (3000 THB) per key and requires the technician to program the electronics in the car to recognize the key. Frankly, its an example of the dealer taking advantage of highly inelastic demand and charging an enormous markup.

Even the Toyota keys with the radio transmitter in the fob can be duplicated without visiting a Toyota dealership.

In the U.S., these keys can only be duplicated at certain lock shops or the dealers and they costs about $100 each.

In Thailand, extra keys for high tech auto locks can be made by 3rd party vendors for about 1000 THB.

Here is the same guy duplicating the keys from the expensive lock from the previous post. These keys use different depth and diameter depressions in the key blank which means they also can’t be duplicated with a standard key cutter.

This key stand had a special set of bits and plugs to create the proper divits in the keys.

The blanks are supposed to be restricted to authorized outlets but this guy had them in stock. Cost 250 THB.

It took 30 minutes of labor to cut two keys because he had to switch out the bits and plugs for each depression. To give the lock manufacturer credit, the keys he made were not perfect even after 30 minutes of work. The tolerances on the key were too tight and the keys were not a perfect fit. One key wouldn’t actuate the lock and the other did so only with great effort. I took the lock cylinder out of the lock and had to return the next day. It took the guy another 30 minutes with a file to refine the keys while constantly inserting them into the cylinder to check the function until they worked as good as the originals.



Comments (32)

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  1. Bitter Old Sex Monger says:

    I have to admit that as I age my destination of choice becomes less and less appealing. And whenever I mention this, Jimmy Smithers is all over me and is offended.

    But let’s face it: Bangkok has become somewhat of a hell hole. I think that next year, I will go to the Maldives before they sink to the bottom of the sea. Here are changes in Thailand I have witnessed over the past 20 years: across the board increases in prices in virtually everything. And this is not to say inflationary, but measurable and rapidly westernizing. Perfunctory performances from the service staff.

    Every inch of Sukhumvit is now cluttered with makeshift brothels where you will literally be pulled to a seat by a hooker. Boy, girl? At this hour, honey, makes no difference. There  have been no discernible changes to the infrastructure and one is likely to fall into an open cesspool that would, God willing, require hours of antibiotics and monitoring in order for the wound to properly heal.

  2. Saphan Loy says:

    I have to admit that at my age, I just don’t get much attention when I put on my bra, heels, and slinky low cut dress and head out for a night on the town.
    There’s nothing sadder than a big fat out of shape cross dressing middle aged man with a paunch pretending he could be mistaken for a woman.

  3. Mochalover says:

    None of the mongers on this blog care about getting their keys copied. Most live in cheap concrete boxes and don’t run the air conditioning because they don’t have the money. Most spend every spare dollar on cheap happy hour beer and disease ridden prostitutes. Do you think they care about where to get the key to their car copied? They don’t have the money to buy a hooker a drinks at Tilac. Where the fuck are they going to get 1 million baht to buy a car?

  4. TURDWORD says:

    The disgraced economics profesors and other assorted mongers on this blog care because the few worldly possessions they have are locked up in those cheap concrete boxes.

  5. Mochalover says:

    Turdword. If the only Thai girls you are involved with are prostitutes you have one night stands with then you don’t have to worry about giving a key to your girlfriend. Some of us have non-prostitute girlfriends where there are actual feelings between us. When you get one of these, you’ll understand why you want to give your girlfriend a key so she can get in when your not a home. If you ever have the money for a maid, then you’ll also see that giving others keys to your home is a necessity. Of course, if you are an English Teacher or retiree barely surviving in Thailand then maids and real girlfriends are not part of your life.

  6. END OF STORY says:

    Mocha Looks like you forgot you said “None of the mongers on this blog care about getting their keys copied.” Laying off the caffeine a bit may help with that A.D.D. problem.

    I surmise you to be one of those self-righteous dumb asses who likes to type the first gibberish that comes to mind and then thinks about what was said after the submit button is clicked. Reminds me of that idiot Prufrock.


  7. Mochalover says:

    End of story. There are people who have been living in Thailand successfully for years. I am one of them. I come on these monger blogs to get a good laugh reading comments from buffoons such as yourself. You sewer dogs think the sewer is Thailand and talk as if learning to hold your own playing games with prostitutes pretending to like you is an accomplishment. Nothing funnier than some buffoon preening himself on the monger blogs by bragging to other buffoons about the prostitute he fucked last night. As if that is some kind of accomplishment. Live in Thailand as long as I have and make a good living all those years. That is an accomplishment to brag about. Not the shit you mongers write about.

  8. TURDWORD says:

    Well END OF STORY, although you certainly did nail it by identifying Mochalover as a dumb ass, I would associate his comments as a mix of Kenny’s style and Prufrock’s. For the most part Prufrock sticks with what he posts. Then you have Kenny. When People point out he doesn’t have a damn clue and upon realizing his stupidity, he goes about with his “what I really meant was” corrections.

    Here we see Mochalover doing something similar to what Kenny would do when someone (you) points out what an idiot he is for his lack of logic. . In addition to the useless tripe he then goes about trying to build himself up as somehow being superior to you; something Prufrock would do.

    I would add self-absorbed to your “self-righteous dumb ass” description. Mochalover has built his own fantasy about how you, I, and everyone else lives in Thailand… with the exception of himself of course. Leave it to these regular idiots to post here. It’s a wasted effort pointing out their follies.

  9. Mochalover says:

    To everyone but Turdword and End of Story. If you visit Thailand or live here and aren’t a monger take a taxi down to Soi Cowboy or Nana Entertainment Plaza. Walk through Cowboy at happy hour and look at the Expats sitting outside Sam’s 2000 or go into Tilac or Shark Bar. These are the favored hangouts of the lower Sukhumivt Expats. Look closely at the “gentleman” sitting there. What you will see are the bufoons I mentioned earlier who are the bread and butter monger blog readers. Now that I reflect on it, maybe it is an actual accomplishment for them to have sex with the prostitutes because even a prostitute getting paid can’t relish getting fucked by them.

  10. END OF STORY says:


    I see what you mean. More of a Kenny-Prufrock mix. These guys are like the noise the airplane engines make while in flight. At first it’s annoying, then you get accustomed to it and just ignore it.


  11. Mochalover says:

    I can see its a waste of time trying to convince mongers that a real girlfriend who loves you is a better alternative than fucking prostitutes. Oh well I tried.

  12. DH says:

    Youre just another BBK.COM twat Mochalover. You didn’t like being corrected and then made a bunch of stupid generalizations and assumptions based upon nothing but your imagination and driven by your damaged ego. Put a lid on it.



    Hahaha. You certainly got that right.

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  16. Raul Villegas says:

    Mr. Kenny,
    Hi, this is Raul from Panama. I would like to get a new key for my Toyota, can you help me?
    You Pal,
    Raul Villegas

  17. Thompson Reily says:

    What is wrong with going to the Soi, having a few brews and chattin up a ‘hello handsum’ hooker?
    I plonk my ass down there prob a couple of times a month and have a rollicking ol time.
    Sukhumvit is perfect for just chilling and letting the world go by.
    You just got to let it all flow in front of the eyes and think of tomorrow as another day.
    No use getting all up tight and angry at other people etc – don’t really see the point/benefit…..
    Sometimes its great just to sit at a Sukhumvit bar and slowly get drunk on cool beer with the sweat on your back and forehead slowly cooling from the fan.  Eat a bit of food and watch the night progress.  Bliss I say!

  18. McLovin says:

    What kinda of name is McLovin, no one is named that.

  19. Cricket says:

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  25. William B says:


    Who travels all the way to Thailand to get keys made? Anyone who lives in Thailand already knows what you wrote.

  26. Purple Avenger says:

    Purple security?

  27. Purple Avenger says:

    Purple keychain!

  28. Purple Avenger says:

    Purple intruder!

  29. Thailand Hooker and G-Girl Magnet says:

    Get a biometric lock for the second lock. No key issue.

  30. Thailand Hooker and G-Girl Magnet says:

    Get a biometric lock for the second lock.

    No key issue.

  31. Roadmaster says:

    The real key to security in Thailand is having brains which is something you’re lacking Quite ironic given your line of work.

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