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 (https://securitysnobs.com/):
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.