Taken For A Ride
The following story may be of interest to your readers and may also help to further enlighten "farang" about the need to be extra vigilant when doing anything in Thailand that involves a large sum of money.
I was told the following story "secondhand", by a friend of the "victim", and I believe it to be true and accurate.
A European man, approaching 60 years old, retires to Thailand. He had previously established a relationship with a bargirl and had been visiting her fairly regularly for 2 years.
His funds were sufficient to secure a category "O" visa, and to purchase a house in Pattaya, valued at approximately 1.5 million baht.
Having heard many stories of farang men being cheated by their Thai girlfriends, he consulted a solicitor to advise and assist him with the house purchase.
The solicitor told him that, because he had an "O" visa, there was no need to set-up a company – he didn't need a work permit or the associated 12 month category "B" visa.
The solicitor told him that there were other ways by which the house could be purchased that did not involve registering the property in his girlfriend's name.
The man went ahead and purchased the house, with the solicitor's help. He was given photocopies of the land title and was told that the original document would be safely stored in the solicitor's safe.
Some 12 months later he split-up with his girlfriend and, feeling a little disillusioned, he decided to sell the house. He consulted a real estate agent and gave him the photocopied land title.
The agent explained that he would need to arrange for the person whose name appears on the land title, to sign a bill of sale, land transfer documents, etc.
He didn't quite understand what was going on so he went to see his solicitor. The legal representative explained that the house has been purchased in his wife's name – that is, the wife of the solicitor.
The man asked that the wife sign each of the documents given to him by the real estate agent. The solicitor then advised that there was a slight problem. He said that his wife had run away with another man and he didn't know where she was.
Currently, the man is still living in the house – nobody has yet tried to evict him, or take-over the house. However, he is now well aware that this could happen anytime in the future.
The man has now consulted another solicitor with a view to taking legal action against the first solicitor.
I'll let you know more, if and when I become aware of any
This was originally sent to me as an email, but I decided to include it here as a reminder that one REALLY must be extra careful when making major purchases in Thailand. Sadly, there are many stories like this doing the rounds – and most of them are true!