Readers' Submissions

Other Ways To Earn And Stay Under The Radar

  • Written by Anonymous
  • December 13th, 2010
  • 6 min read


Black Pagoda Patpong Bangkok

Re: the current theme of 'legal' and 'illegal' ways to earn in Thailand.

I lived in Siam for eight years. Firstly we ran a restaurant on an island but walked away after the media scare-mongering of SARS killed tourism for awhile. Although the SARS scare was short lived I realised that there would always be one thing or another and having a business in a one sector (read tourism) economy is not a good idea. Plus a baby had arrived and medical care was disgraceful down south. So to Bangers we went!

I tough English there (yeah, I know, the old standby haha) doing uni, Matayom, language schools, and corporate; mostly freelance and moving around regularly to relieve the boredom of what is surely the most soul destroying job a farang can do here!

My wife leased a 'stall' in a food market and made a few bob as well!

So after 18 months of TEFL HELL, a mate put me on to online selling as he had been doing it for a few months.

Within a month I was earning 40K baht net profit (more than most teaching gigs as one would know) and quit all teaching gigs; one ended naturally as end of contract coincided and the other I walked out of without a word or a backward glance!

It was so successful that I was turning over nearly 300K some months with an average of 180K with net profit at about 40%. We were lucky as we happened to fall in to a couple of very hot items to sell. This was some years ago when Bangkok was a lot cheaper to live in!

All done from a nice 2 bedroom, 3 air-con, Bangkok condo with about 2 hours work a day. Usually an hour online then another hour or so packing and posting and two trips a week to my suppliers (although the two biggest ones delivered to me).

My mate who originally tipped me in to this worked in tandem with me from his condo opposite mine; so we worked together but his money was his and mine was mine (well the missus and kid had their hands out of course!)

No Thai corporate structure needed or wanted, no work permit – and none needed as well as no one knew; all bank accounts off shore. My visas were Non Immigrant O, good for 15 months and even though I qualified for a marriage visa, why go through all the jumps and hoops and then stick 400K in a Thai bank? Fuck that!

Non Immigrant is a great catch all visa to have. I used to fly home to renew it and a couple of times 'Phil the Chinaman" out at Ekamai would arrange a little trip for my passport to get a new Non "O".

On the few occasions that I was casually questioned by Immigration – "What you do in Thailand", I would tell them I look after my family and I'm a lucky man because I have investments at home.

In case you Thaivisa wankers are reading this, get off your bloody high horses; you all have 'Stockholm Syndrome' and there are more ways than one to skin a Thai. Imm. cat!

Some people obsess too much (and rightly so in some cases) but if you are a 'one man band' and tight lipped why alert the Thai govt. to what you are doing? In my case as in Secret SEO's recent submission, if we were on a beach here (or in Fiji) on holiday would we bother to register a corporate entity? No of course not; especially as no money from our customers is 'in country'. And Thaivisa fascists, don't even bother making fools of yourselves and bring your pathetic Thai govt. originated arguments to me or quote Thai law!

I used to associate with a small group of like minded people as well; one traded stocks online, another worked for a very large Ebayer managing his operation, and other various one man shows, and all had no company structure or work permit.

A very close friend living in Phuket used to trade stocks online-no company reg. or work permit as he was a one man band with bank accounts and trading houses offshore-should he have had these Thai entities? Fuck no!

This year he has started a very high profile club so should he now have a Thai reg. company with all the bells 'n' whistles! Fuck yes!

And he does as this type of enterprise is bricks 'n' mortar and above the radar with Thai employees, customers in Thailand paying Thai baht, etc.

I even know an old age pensioner who brings arty/ crafty type goods from Chiang Mai to his Pattaya apartment and then sells them on Ebay; small scale to top up his pension. Should he register a Thai company? Should he also tell his govt. about the extra few hundred quid he makes each month?

Of course he fucking well should not!

A couple of years ago I left Thailand :( for my daughter's future to be assured) but I still have my online biz which I operate from back home and now pay my mate a commission per sale to carry out the Bangkok end. There is less money in it now but I would still be making a comfortable living if I was living there. In fact my mate (and others) aren't starving!

So yes there are ways to make money in Thailand and stay 'under the radar'. I'm not condoning outright criminality here but rather asserting the right of the individual to make money in a moral manner without the Thai govt. taking their cut.

And again to Thaivisa tossers, why would one want to give the Thai govt. a leg up? WTF do they do for anyone but the 'chosen few'? As said previously – you have 'Stockholm Syndrome' – and BTW it is treatable by mental health professionals!

If you can stay under the radar then stay there. It is a very nice place to be. And keep your mouth shut!

We all know of the envious, sanctimonious, holier than thou low farang that can't wait to alert the Thai police to anything that they do not approve of!

Those arseholes hang out at Thaivisa.


Stickman's thoughts:

In an ideal world we would all be legal. The law however makes it very difficult for one man bands to ever be legal and with so many hoops to jump through it's no wonder that there are a lot of operators, both one man bands, and larger operations which operate under the radar. There are even quite a few well known farang businesses around which aren't legal in any way! I don't like to condone and certainly wouldn't recommend anyone knowingly operate illegally, but I have yet to hear a good argument as to why a small operator with a modest turn over should subject themselves to the authorities.