Stickman's Weekly Column July 4th, 2010

Postcards From Sukhumvit Road



Think of Bangkok and you may well think of Sukhumvit Road, one of the city's main thoroughfares, the centre for Farangdom and the heart of the city's famed foreigner-oriented naughty nightlife.

Following on from the positive feedback to last week's column which included a dozen postcards from Pattaya, this week I bring you a dozen photos from a late afternoon / early evening stroll around lower Sukhumvit this week.



The Nana area is perhaps the most cosmopolitan part of Bangkok. It's where you find Little Arabia and Soi Africa and with a bunch of 5-star hotels and dozens more accommodation options, it's the playground for many of the city's Western visitors and residents. It's also home to some big name Thai companies and one bank head office. Strolling around lower Sukhumvit, as the area between sois 1 and 21 is often referred to, it feels as cosmopolitan as parts of New York, Sydney or London.




Soi Cowboy by day time has really changed! Long gone are the days when the soi was full of food carts with vendors selling their wares to the hundreds of girls who lived above the bars in which they worked. Most of the girls working in Soi Cowboy live offsite these days. By day, Cowboy is quiet with few obvious working girls lingering. I guess this is one of the reasons Cowboy doesn't quite have that small village feel any more. When I first visited Cowboy, probably 90% of the girls working in the soi lived in the soi which gave it a rather different atmosphere to what you find today.




Despite being surrounded by bars, the motorcycle taxi riders at the Asoke end of Cowboy were ever so keen to whisk me away to a massage parlour where, I was told, the girls were "clean and don't have HIV" – intimating that the girls of Cowboy are a bunch of walking germs.




The small strip of footpath between sois 3/1 and 5 reminds me of Pattaya's beach road. It's one of the few places in Bangkok where freelancing prostitutes can be found 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But unlike their sisters in Pattaya, this lot are much less keen to be caught on camera.




Batman and Robin were even less keen of being caught on camera than the working girls. The moment a camera is pointed in their direction, they turn around, almost in unison, with the grace and timing of professional dancers. There's been a massive influx of men of colour to Sukhumvit over the past 12 – 18 months. They used to stick to the soi 3 and 3/1 area but now they can be found the length of Sukhumvit, all the way down to Onut and beyond.




Many Bangkok streets have a soi dog problem, stray dogs, many in quite a state. They're an annoying lot, especially when they mistake white legs passing as their next meal. Nana Plaza is free of the pesky soi dogs and instead has a feline population.




Up and down Sukhumvit, as well as in many of the more touristy parts of Bangkok, you'll find beggars. Most are organised or perhaps more accurately are controlled, and are delivered to their begging spot early in the day and picked up late in the evening by their handlers. Looking back at photos I have taken on Sukhumvit over the years, it's the same beggars in the same places…




The motorcycle taxi riders operating between Sukhumvit sois 1 and 21 charge some of the highest prices of motorcycle taxi riders anywhere in Bangkok. This lot wanted 60 baht to take me the 1.5 km from Cowboy to Nana. In the area where I live, I often take a motorbike from the condo to the local shopping centre, a distance of just 1.4 km which sets me back a mere 15 baht.




As night falls, various vendors pack up for the day while others take over their spot and set up for the night. In some parts of Sukhumvit, particularly the odd-numbered soi side between sois 3 and 21, the pavement has become a real obstacle course with vendors selling junk taking up much of the space leaving a narrow passage for pedestrians to negotiate their way through. All it takes is for someone to stop to browse, examine the junk or bargaining a price and it becomes impassable. Walking between the major nightlife hot spots in the area is best done on the even-numbered soi side of the street where there are few such vendors.




But the odd-numbered side of Sukhumvit seems to have more beggars. This poor fellow has been a fixture on Sukhumvit for years, cruelly referred to by some as the slug, he has been slithering his way along the same stretch of Sukhumvit, eliciting more than mere sympathy. Various reports in the mainstream media over the years suggest that beggars in busy areas like Sukhumvit make thousands of baht a day.




With tourists throwing silly money around, prices on Sukhumvit have soared over the past several years. A pint in a British pub on Sukhumvit will set you back more than it would in London, and the price of a good old English fry up might cause that heart attack before you even have a chance to eat it! Copied goods often go for silly money and the willingness of many Western visitors to pay way over the odds has not been lost on the ladies of Sukhumvit, many of who request – and receive – the equivalent of $100, or even 100 Euros, for the pleasure of spending some time with them.




Thankfully Sukhumvit is not all hookers, ladyboys, sex toys, porno DVDs and riff raff. Close to the mouth of soi 7, I spotted Somchai Gates surfing the net, completely disinterested in all of the madness going on around him…





Looking for Thai girls? Look no more – you just found ThaiFriendly.com



Last week's photo

Where was this photo taken?


Last week's photo was taken upstairs in the Starbucks branch on Soi LangSuan, NOT Chidlom as some readers thought! Yes, LangSuan is VERY close to Central Chidlom but it is in fact a different branch. There are another TWO Starbucks branches in Central Chidlom, one on the ground floor and one up by the book shop on the 6th or 7th floor. The first person to email me with the correct location of the picture wins a 500 baht credit at Oh My Cod, the British fish and chips restaurant. The second person to correctly guess the photo wins a 500 baht voucher from one of the very best farang food venues in Bangkok, and the home of Bangkok's best burger, in my humble opinion, Duke's Express. Duke's is very conveniently located in the Emporium shopping centre in central Bangkok.

Terms and conditions: The Oh My Cod prize MUST be claimed within 14 days. Prizes are not transferable. Prize winners cannot claim more than one prize per calendar month. You only have one guess per week!

FROM STICK'S INBOX (These are emails from readers and what is written here was not written by Stick.) Preference may be given to emails which refer to the previous week's column.

EMAIL OF THE WEEK – Pretending to be rich is a wonderful way to waste money.

One of your readers made the assumption that because three of the four blokes in a Pattaya photo did not have wrist watches that they must be destitute. I am unable to comment on just what their financial position may be, but the observation regarding wrist watches is incredibly superficial and cannot be accurate. Speaking for myself, I would not bother wearing an expensive watch if I was out and about in Pattaya because: (a) the exact time is not normally an issue when in Pattaya, especially when spending the day sitting around Beach Road; (b) an expensive watch becomes a target for thieves; (c) looking too rich acts as an incentive for sales people to try to extract more remuneration; and (d) I don't want to damage an expensive watch. I currently do not own a $1,000+ Swiss watch, and I am wealthy. I prefer to save / invest most of my income and what I leave as discretionary income I spend on my toys and travel. A watch doesn't really do it for me, so I wouldn't be inclined to spend more than say $500 for a Longines and only if it was on sale (irrespective of income, I still want perceived value for money). The majority of my friends and associates are also rich and I have noticed that most of them (there are a few exceptions) do not place much emphasis on buying high end name brand products, but instead on spending money for their own enjoyment (e.g. they might buy a Porsche Carrera, but only because they are into race cars, and they will take the car out to the local track, not because they think the car will elevate their status etc). Looking at the employees in my own company, I actually notice that a lot of the people in the middle (or even lower) income bracket are more likely to place emphasis on high-end name brands. For some, they are possibly living beyond their means but for one reason or another they think the brand defines them. Interestingly, I had a discussion with one of my employees one day, and he was very passionate about expensive watches (he had a Tag on his wrist and was hoping for a Breitling) and couldn't understand why I was wearing a $100 Seiko. Therefore, be careful in judging a book by its cover, and consider carefully what your motivation is for buying an expensive high end brand. Pretending to be rich is a wonderful way to waste money and never achieves wealth.

Watches and the heat don't go together.

I felt compelled to respond to your reader's assertion that people who don't wear watches in Thailand must be poor. Moving to a tropical climate, you gradually learn ways to cope with the heat and humidity, such as wearing linen shirts, seeking out lightweight "summer jeans", wearing shoes that allow some ventilation…and leaving the watch at home. I found my skin was always getting sweaty underneath the watch, and worst of all was having a leather strap moist with sweat. Given that, I prefer to use my cellphone to look up the time. Moreover, I disagree with the notion that well-off people in Europe usually own an expensive watch as I know too many counterexamples of that.

Non-smokers unite!

Thanks sooo much for your comments to bar owners about allowing smoking. Like you, I too used to not mind, however now if I see or smell smoking, I simply walk out. Usually there is a group of us. If I had more time, I'd try to find the manager and let him know why we're leaving, but when I only have a couple of weeks in Thailand, I'd rather spend it with my friends than educating a bar manager.

Is there a deep-rooted fear / loathing of farang?

We were all shocked when these US "institutions" suddenly started crumbling. But the reaction (worse service / higher taxes) does give you that feeling of watching your life ebb away. Of course it's different if you have family members and your presence is required / expected. But being a wage-slave has never been a joy and now, even that is difficult. The USA for example has DEEP, systematic problems with employment: people who thought they'd retired now find themselves fighting for jobs with kids young enough to be their grandkids. And even if they do find a new gig, there's mistrust / learning curve, a triage-system for bill-payments, and no matter where they were when their previous job vanished, now they're at the bottom. There's also the matter of outsourcing, which only years ago Americans thought was a joke. Now they're learning there's a smiling English-fluent Indian or Filipino who will do their job at a fraction of the price. It's bleak, at best. Maybe these factors will in fact drive people to seek residence in Thailand. My only hope is that the current drop in tourist numbers somehow forces some type of order on the retirement visa system. I read letters from people who've spent decades in Thailand, married with kids, spent their life-savings in the Kingdom and have nowhere else to go, decent folks who just want a quiet retirement and local Immigration keeps changing rules, forcing all kinds of new documents / photos / whatever, and I think WHY? These are the people you want, and you want them to tell their friends, hey, it's great over here, you can find a lovely wife or live as a bachelor, here's the website with the rules. The only reason I can think of for Thailand's bizarre behaviour is a deep-rooted fear / loathing of all farang. I realise that some farang are truly feral but if someone's got a track record, dresses nice, is jai dee and all that, can't Immigration tell the difference?

Some of these women are complete nut jobs.

A lass I had been seeing a few times a week for two years found that I had entertained other lady friends in her absence and went berserk. I had left her in my condo for a couple of hours and she slashed curtains, blinds and computer peripheral cables with a box cutter and poured away 6 bottles of good quality spirits. This despite the fact that I always made a point of rewarding her in the preferred manner. She works in a bar on the occasions I do not see her, undoubtedly going with other farangs! I did not know this latter part until now. Obviously that is one lady who will receive no more contributions to the village jollies fund from me.

What is charity?

I recently signed up for the half marathon in Singapore. As it is going to be quite a challenge for me, I thought it would be a good idea to do it for charity. I thought of some charities in the UK but then thought about doing it for a charity in Udon Thani, where the wife comes from. Surely that would impress her and her family. I proudly told her what I intended to do and all I received was a blank stare. It seems that the concept of making an effort in your own time to raise money for someone less fortunate is completely lost on Thai people. OK, I should not generalise, I'm sure many Thais give to charity and run charities. I am just surprised that the wife was clueless about it.

Do you fear becoming one of that lot?

Very nice weekly this week with some great photos. Is it just me, or do others find your pictures featuring ageing (and often out of shape) farangs, usually with a Thai tart nearby, lounging in some bar, incredibly depressing? I not only find it depressing, but it puts the fear of God in me, and I start thinking God, I hope I don't end up like that.

On the top floor of Nana Plaza, Hollywood Carousel might be sinking millions on renovations, but they're spending almost nothing on promoting the venue. Photocopied A4 sheets stuck up around the plaza state that Hollywood Carousel, the largest bar in Nana Plaza, is now open from 3 PM every day. Few punters venture into the plaza during the day, and even fewer make it up to the top floor so the venue needs to promote the fact that it is open for business from mid-afternoon onwards. I wonder how effective these signs will be and I wonder if there is any demand at that time of day. Nana is dire to walk through during the day and frankly, there's little to see at that time. Those keen for a little afternoon delight can find it at the likes of Strikers, the Golden Beer Bar and Morning night, all which are on the main soi 4 and have a view of the comings and goings.

In a move I cannot understand, Erotica in Nana Plaza has canned its happy hour. Here we are in the middle of the low season with tourist numbers at the sort of lows we have not seen for more than a decade and a bar removes a reason to entice customers through the door!

I am never there on a Sunday – I have this column to put together after all – but I hear good things about the FREE buffet at Secrets in soi 14 off Walking Street, which is available every Sunday starting at 2PM.

#2 at Tilac has long been terrorising the girls in Tilac and apparently things came to a head recently and a cat fight erupted. #2's reputation preceded her and rumour has it that she dealt to 6, yes SIX, girls in the bar! What it was over I have been unable to find out.

Minor renovations are underway at Cowboy 2 bar in Soi Cowboy. It doesn't seem to be anything too major.

The west / soi 5 end of the small alley connecting Sukhumvit sois 5 and 7 has been made narrow by the installation of a large Krung Thai Bank ATM right at the start of the tunnel. I also note that the bar that was once there has gone. How long this has been the case, I don't know for I am no fan of walking down that dark and dingy alley.

Yet ANOTHER incident occurred in one of the Arab's bars although this one took place a few weeks back and I am somewhat late in reporting it. A Japanese businessman had become very drunk – which frankly is never a good idea in some of these bars – and he stupidly pushed one of the girls who's known for her feisty temper. That was, undeniably, a really dumb move. She then hit him on the head with a glass which caused him to go crashing to the ground. At that point you think it would end, but Midnite is one of the Arab's bars and his hired thugs are not known for restraint or being fair. While the Japanese guy was down, the spurned bird went to town on him, kicking him in the head, a massive insult in Thailand and worse still when it is a woman administering her foot to a guy's head! The guy started bleeding heavily and none of the bouncers or mamasans intervened. Of course they made sure he paid his bill before letting him go. Is it any wonder many steer clear of the Arab's bars?

In a complaint I have never heard before – and that is saying something because I reckon I've heard most of them – two friends (who don't know each other) individually mentioned to me this week that one of the reasons they are less keen on visiting Nana Plaza these days is because of all of the ladyboy bars and the discomfort they feel when passing by these ladyboy bars. In the old days there was just Casanova in the back left hand corner of the middle floor which was easily avoided if you're homophobic, but now there are four exclusive ladyboy bars with one on each of the top and bottom floors and two on the middle floor.

I could rattle off the names of a number of bars where the owner or manager proudly tell customers that girls will be fired on the spot if they actively ask a customer for a lady drink. They say that they have put this policy in place to make the girls less pushy and to create a more relaxed atmosphere. It's a good idea in principle, but flawed in practice because the owners place a quota of lady drinks that the girls need to achieve otherwise their salary is cut. And what makes it a total joke is that if you were to actually say to the owner / manager that a girl had been bothering you for a lady drink then he would just laugh. The likelihood of a girl being given her marching orders is pretty much zero. I wish some of these bar owners and managers would not talk such crap.

And be careful in Cowboy when a girl requests Tequila as a lady drink. It seems that one of the biggest name and busiest Cowboy bars is not above cheating customers. If your Tilac requests a Tequila you might want to check that it is the real item and isn't in fact H2O. A shame that a bar so popular is resorting to such nonsense.

If there is one major difference I would say that exists between the gogo bars of Bangkok and those of Pattaya it is that there is more energy in the Pattaya bars than what you find in Bangkok. In some Bangkok gogo bars there is almost no energy, even in some of the better bars. In my favourite Tilac, some girls look like they're about to fall asleep on stage and the girls in Angelwitch in Bangkok, the non-showgirls that is, are about as lethargic a bunch of gogo girls you will ever find.

The largest group of Westerners by nationality visiting Thailand is the Brits and many Brits not only fall in love with Thailand, but fall in love with a Thai sweetheart who they often end up taking back to the UK. I have heard all sorts of nightmares about the visa process for the UK and apparently things are not going to get any easier with a new challenge on the horizon – the forthcoming compulsory English language tests for fiancées and spouses! The finer details have not yet been made public but at best it will make it more expensive for the punter and at worst, may even dissuade potential visa applicants from going through the process, thinking that it is simply too much trouble. For any Brits in need of visa assistance, contact MyThai-Visa who specialise in visas for Thais going to the UK.

The latest issue of the bargirl catalogue, as the late Cigar Bob used to describe, After Dark magazine, is available now. Bob used to joke with me how guys would buy the magazine and make a checklist based on the girls featured in it and work their way around the bars of Pattaya, completing that check list! And it is great to see that even with Bob's passing, the magazine continues.

I am hearing more reports of police checkpoints on major Bangkok roads late at night, particularly on or around Rachadapisek Road, where there are many Thai (as opposed to foreigner-oriented) nightlife venues and discos. I am seldom in that area and almost never there late at night so these reports are second-hand. It seems that cars full of youngsters as well as taxis are waved over by the police, the occupants asked to exit and a thorough search of their person is made, to include turning out their pockets, checking every compartment in their wallet and even checking what's in their cigarette packet if they are a smoker. The cops carrying out the checks have been described as polite and courteous and no hints for donations are made. It would seem to me that they are looking for those who may have drugs.

Duke's Express in the Emporium is offering unlimited refills of Lemonade for just 60 baht. When I first heard about it, I assumed it was 7 Up or Sprite, but it is actually freshly squeezed lemon juice, made with real lemons and not limes as you tend to find here in Thailand. Very refreshing in the Bangkok heat.

Fancy Greek? Bangkok has a heap of international food options including hundreds of Italian restaurants but there are few Greek restaurants about. Popular O'Reilly's manager Mark finished up at the end of June can now be found at Souvlaki on Silom Soi 4. In addition to some cracking Greek dishes, they are also selling bottled beers for 75 baht – and there is no ++ on their prices. And yeah, 75 baht even includes the superb Beer Laos.

Throughout July, Bangkok Beat, in Sukhumvit soi 7/1, will host a new band, Freaks. There will also be a party night on July 24 with promotions on Sauza Tequila & Russian Standard Vodka and a happy hour from 8 – 11 PM. Chang draft will be available for 80 baht (33cl), 120 baht (50cl), 210 baht (1 litre) and until the end of the World Cup, they are still giving EVERY CUSTOMER a free shot of Tequila each time a team scores.

As per previous columns, there's little happening in the bar areas and ALL of Bangkok's bar areas are quiet. Even happy hour at Soi Cowboy seems a little quieter at the moment and I would speculate that the small peak we saw about 2 or 3 weeks ago coincided with the start of the World Cup when there was a match kicking off every night at 6:30 PM, Bangkok time. There's very little happening in terms of any new bars being built, bars being renovated, bars changing hands, venues featuring new shows, features of promotions. If there was something going on I'd write about it but for now things remain quiet. Even big name bars are seeing very low numbers. There seems to be an even greater disparity between Friday and Saturday nights and the rest of the week, which seems to suggest that there just aren't that many tourists out and about.

I have been commenting on the 150 baht fee levied by Thai banks on withdrawals made from foreign accounts at Thailand ATM machines for some time. While I have mentioned that international banks as well as AEON ATMs allow you to make a withdrawal fee-free, these banks are for the most part in less convenient locations. There is now one spot where you can make fee-free withdrawals that is convenient – Interchange 21 building on the northeast corner of the Asoke intersection, just a stone's throw from the Asoke BTS station and the Sukhumvit MRT station. There are five Citibank ATM machines that dispense cash without robbing you of 150 baht for the privilege. These are new style ATM machines operated by touch screen. You pop your card in, it is read and then you can retrieve it and put it back in your pocket – so there's no danger of the card being gobbled up. You then carry on once your PIN number has been entered.

If you've had an Internet connection with True Online for a while, go in and see them and ask for a new package. As crazy as it sounds, you'll probably find that your monthly fee goes down and the speed of your connection goes up! No, I am not joking, that will almost certainly be what happens. True constantly revises its Internet packages and the prices have been going down and the speed going up. You would think that they would just increase the speed and drop the price automatically and let you know by letter but no, it seems you have to go in to an office and talk to them about it. And if you have True Visions cable (formerly known as UBC) and / or a mobile connection with True, you might be eligible for some sort of convergence deal and discount.

And I notice that True has been advertising what it is calling ultra high speed internet in the Bangkok Post this week, with speeds of 50 Mbps available. Just what speeds you will actually get is unknown, but even if you got half of that, it is fair screaming! Reading the fine print, it seems that these speeds are only available in certain parts of town, with 200 odd condo buildings in Bangkok mentioned.

The price of taking a taxi from Pattaya to Bangkok has increased. When a Bangkok taxi gets a fare to Sin City, they are going outside the area in which they are licenced to operate. Once they have dropped off their passenger in Pattaya, they are not supposed to pick up anyone and technically should return to Bangkok to look for their next fare. But what actually happens is that the Bangkok taxi will park up and wait to be approached by someone who has arranged a fare back to Bangkok. These someones are the people who operate the small stalls all over Pattaya advertising a taxi to Bangkok. For a long time the fare has been 800 baht from Pattaya to anywhere in Bangkok east of the Chao Praya. Prices have increased. At most booths, the price remains 800 baht to the airport and 1,000 baht to anywhere in Bangkok. The reservation booth gets 300 baht, the taxi driver the balance. 1,000 baht to Bangkok from Pattaya is still a bargain.

Reader's story of the week comes from Korski and is titled, "What Men See, What Mongers Think, What Men and Mongers Say".

The Australian newspaper ran an interesting interview with the Thai Prime Minster in yesterday's edition.

The latest excellent article from Maxmilian Wechsler appeared in the Bangkok Post today about Thai bars for girls!

The UK's Guardian newspaper reports that Thailand is no champion of human rights.

PhuketWan reports that a bargirl killer is on the loose in Phuket!

This most unusual Phuket-related ad appeared on Craigslist.

CNN takes a look at some of the downright whacky festivals held in Thailand.

From the Bangkok Post, more anti-smoking laws came into effect this week.

In what is a mammoth age difference, a 90-year old Aussie is charged with bonking underage girls in Thailand.

The FT reports that following on from the red shirt protests in Bangkok, resentment is growing in the Thai countryside.

An American teacher joined the Pattaya Flying Club this week.

Ask Sunbelt Legal

Sunbelt Asia's legal department is here to answer your questions relating to legal issues and the law in Thailand. You can also contact Sunbelt's legal department directly for all of your legal needs.

Please email your question to Stick by midday Thursday, Bangkok time, so it can be forwarded on to Sunbelt Legal in time for reply before the end of the business week.

Question: A number of foreigners renting property in Thailand have found that when they move out of their rented accommodation that the deposit they made is not returned to them. Generally the amount involved is not significant enough to go through the hassle of filing against the landlord in court. Is there any small claims tribunal like we have in the West with low fees and a short timeframe where such disputes can be sorted out? What options does a person in this situation have?

Sunbelt Legal responds: When it comes to getting your deposit back on any type of rented property in Thailand, you will have the best success if you have taken the appropriate steps prior to the lease being signed and the deposit made. It is highly advisable that a property agent is used throughout the process of renting as this service will cost you nothing as the agent is compensated by the individual renting the property. Landlords know agents won’t work with them again if they don’t refund the deposit to their clients.

The first thing to make 100% sure of is that the person claiming to own the property actually does own the property and if they are not the owner they must have a signed power of attorney clearly stating that the individual has the right to provide and sign a lease for the specific property in question. Next, make sure the property owner provides copies of their ID card, 3 copies of the lease signed by both you and the landlord with signatures on each page and then witnessed on the final page by no fewer than 2 other people. One copy of the lease will be for you, one for the owner of the property and one for the property agent. Make sure you also have a signed and witnessed receipt of the deposit and make sure the terms of the deposit refund are clearly stated in the lease.

The return of the lease security deposit may not be returned in full due to property restoration expenses that the landlord may incur as they may claim that they would have to repaint the lease premises, filling out a hole that the tenant made etc. This should be addressed in the lease as far as cosmetic repairs and what the maximum costs of cosmetic repairs are. Preventive measures would be to take pictures of every room, appliance, and all of the furniture and provide copies of these pictures so there is clear proof of the condition of the property at the time the deposit was made. Have a checklist with the condition of each room and its contents signed with date and by both parties with two witnesses. Also, it is advisable that the pictures and checklist are included in the lease so the owner’s signature will be on the pictures thus acknowledging the condition of the property and its contents.

Ideally you will complete the lease transaction and leave the meeting with the following items in hand:

* 1 copy of the lease correctly signed
* 1 copy of the property owner's ID card
* 1 receipt of deposit

It is also advisable that no part of this transaction be done in cash but rather done via bank transfer or ATM as then there is always clear proof of each payment and when that payment was made.

The day you move out, take pictures of everything once again. Go over the checklist of all items and condition with the landlord.

Thailand does not have a Landlord and Tenant’s regulation nor does it have tenant's deposit protection. Deposits, however, are covered in the Civil and Commercial Code of Thailand. Contract laws offer the best protection for you as the tenant.

When the landlord does not return your deposit:

First Step: Call the Thai Consumer Protection Board at the hotline 1166 who will investigate.

Second step: Hire a lawyer to send a warning letter.

Third step: File a report with the local police with your lawyer and provide numerous documents and receipts. This will require many trips to the police station.

Forth Step: Go to civil court on a breach of contract.

Hopefully you noticed that a new section started in the column this week, ask Sunbelt Legal. With the Mrs. Stick section canned, I wanted to replace it with a new section that would have both broad appeal while also providing information of value. When a reader suggested creating a section where a reputable legal firm answered questions from readers, I got my A into G and the new section was born. This week's question was put to Sunbelt Legal by me. I have put two more questions to them, one concerning one's rights when police wish to carry out a search of their person and another concerning copyright law, with specific emphasis on the Internet. I will run the questions and their responses in future columns – I think you'll find the response to the question of searches by police officers an eye opener. For this section to really work, I encourage readers with questions of a legal nature to send them in. I will forward them to Sunbelt and their response will run in the column. It would be great if you could limit your question to 150 words. I look forward to receiving your questions, and publishing them, along with Sunbelt Legal's responses!

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

Stick encourages feedback and can be contacted at: [email protected]