Stickman Readers' Submissions May 30th, 2003

Divorce Thai Style

By Yet Another Victim

I have been quite busy on a little matter about divorce Thai style which you maybe interested in as it is a good reality check on life in Thailand and you maybe interested in. A brief rundown as follows.

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I got married to an educated Thai woman about two years ago after we had been together for a year and a half and we had had several trips to NZ. She was smart, good sense of humour and seemed to have a good balance between Thai and Western culture – my family loved her.

Shortly after we got married she started talking to me about changing my will re NZ assets (declined on account I have two NZ kids in their '20s). She also became moody, very jealous, always checking on me and also quite ugly after a night out on the turps.

After a lengthy time where by I decided I could not tolerate this life with all its stresses and strains, and after quite a long period of discussions, I informed her I wanted to split and hopefully we could remain good friends. I was prepared to be generous and also help her get through this. She was OK about this for a few days and then suddenly changed.
I was in our home upcountry and she works in Bangkok when she asked me to drive down to meet her and her mother for lunch to discuss the settlement in a friendly way. This I did but as soon as I got there she stole my car with the second set of keys (that was 5 weeks ago and I still have not seen it). My car had my passport, mobile phone and wallet in. So I got a taxi to our small condo we had bought 6 months earlier and fund she had changed all the locks. As I was in Bangkok with no money, no change of clothes and not phone / passport (and after taking legal advice) I broke into the condo to retrieve some of my things.

Two weeks later while having a meeting between my wife and respective lawyers she asked to speak to me outside (3.30 PM after the banks were closed) so we went outside straight into the arms f two policemen who had a court warrant for my arrest. So down the police station for 5 hours, finger prints taken> My wife was hoping I could not post bail (hence the timing) so I would have to spend me time in the cells but fortunately the ATM came to the rescue.

That was 3 weeks ago. As the car and condo are both in my wife's name, and despite the Thai law saying that everything is 50/50 I cannot do any thing about it. She still has all my personal belongings that were in the car and the condo. Luckily I have a business upcountry which she cannot touch (I hope).

Why could this happen even though every lawyer and a judge I know admits there is no charge?

The answer is that my wife's mother's boyfriend is a cop and we have had words before . He has planned and orchestrated everything including pulling in favours from the police station hierarchy. The charging officer has been helpful but his hands are tied by Kwangjai.

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The case could take 1 year to come to court and will for sure be dropped but in the meantime I have bail money tied up, am unable to use my car or condo and cannot retrieve my personal belongings.

There are several morals to this story – they are:

1. If married to a Thai beware of taking the easy route of putting possessions in her name.
2. Thai civil law does not work and is controlled by the one with the best "contacts" – in most cases this means the Thai side.
3. Thai civil law keeps the farang at a disadvantage. We have to prove our innocence against anecdotal evidence only.
4. The arrest system is designed to extract money from the arrested person. The charging policeman can hold on to the charge for up to 6 months before handing to the courts for decision and the court takes another 6 months. The only way to speed this process up is by graft.

There are many other side stories to this saga which I will not bore you with however I am a victim of an evil, conniving family whose prime objective is to extract money from faring (they want 1.5 million baht for this to go away). I refuse to pay anywhere down the line.

I am sure I am not the only one to have gone through this situation and it is clear that there is no avenue for shared information or support that I know of. <If you have been through something similar, contact me and I'll put you in contact with the author of this articleStick>

Most of my Thai friends are very surprised at my wife's vindictiveness and cunning planning and I am sure this is not typical Thai although I have heard of similar situations. It has been a good reality check I must admit. One gets a feeling of absolute hopelessness and lack of control something I have never felt before even when living in Russia 8 years ago.

Stickman says:

This is scary.

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