Stickman's Weekly Column November 28th, 2010

Uwe And The Professional Snitches



Uwe* is a long-term foreign resident of Bangkok. He has had a string of jobs but never had a work permit. He has performed various roles for boiler room operators. He has been involved with the Pakistanis, you know, the ones who do stuff with passports. Today this German works alongside the Thai authorities. Still without a work permit. Uwe works with Immigration and provides information about Westerners breaking the rules in Thailand. Uwe is one of a new breed of Western residents who make a living by tipping off the Thai authorities about their fellow Westerners. Uwe is a professional snitch.

Long-term expats know that most foreign residents break one law or another. It might be something totally innocuous, like conducting free English lessons or doing voluntary, unpaid work without a work permit. It might be something considered serious locally, less serious in the West, such as smoking weed from time to time. It might be something much more serious. The possibilities are endless.

It is unknown what prompted Uwe to start this new career, working alongside Immigration officers, at their premises. In the early days he is said to have provided intel on guys he knew personally. Former colleagues. Old friends. The authorities acted and investigations were followed by arrests in some cases, out of court settlements in others.

Once Uwe had run through those he personally knew, he turned to the Internet. He used various little known Thai forums as well as Craigslist, calling for tips about foreigners involved in any crime in Thailand. Altruism had nothing to do with it.

Uwe is hardly unique. Westerners in Thailand are grassing, snitching or informing the authorities of the activities of other Westerners like never before.

There are those like Uwe who do it purely for financial gain. There's a fortune to be made by inflicting massive suffering on their fellow foreigners. Busts of boiler room operators, for example, can see pay-offs that run to millions of baht.

Not everyone is like Uwe however. Some snitches are just plain envious of others. Perhaps they feel resentful that someone they consider themselves better than has managed to carve out a nice life for themselves.

Some guys are turned by the authorities, with the option of avoiding prosecution in exchange for providing information on other foreigners.

The saddest of all is the twisted Westerner with a Thai girlfriend. When he realises that other guys may still be in the picture, he reports them to the authorities for anything from work permit violations to drug use to visa overstay.

The Thai authorities often don't have a clue what foreigners in Thailand are up to without the assistance of other foreigners but they just love it when foreigners up to no good are brought to their attention. Arresting a foreigner up to no good is promotion material; busting a wealthy foreigner is like winning the lottery!

I've been grassed up to the authorities at least 3 times – and each time there has been an investigation. I've had the knock at the door. I've received the letter summoning me to appear before not just an investigator, but an entire investigative committee. I've been grilled for hours in a language that is not my native tongue, surrounded by brown shirts and senior officers, all with their eyes fixed on me, weighing me up, trying to work me out. Slow, measured questions, cross checking my answers against what they know. Question after question, page after page, often totally impertinent – and forever probing your financial situation. Your assets in Thailand. Condo? Why do you rent? Why do you have no bank account in Thailand? Car? Why did you sell it? What are your main assets? How much do you have in the bank in your country? Can you access that account? If there is even a hint that you've got more than a few pennies to your name, you're history. The appearance of being a poor English teacher has its benefits. It is a very, very unpleasant experience.

How can a career criminal, someone totally untrustworthy, with a history of involvement with some of the most notorious Western criminals in Thailand, become so important to the authorities? It's because the Thai police are unable to infiltrate foreign networks. They don't look like us, they don't sound like us and for the most part, they don't even understand us. They need the likes of Uwe.

When foreigners get involved with the Thai police, what follows is a debacle. Think the Pattaya Tourist Police Volunteers. Think Tony, the Sri Lankan negotiator who works with airport police. And think Uwe, professional snitch.

We come from different countries, different backgrounds and speak different languages, but as Westerners resident in Thailand we face the same challenges. We know and accept that it's not always a level playing field. Did we ever conceive that some of our own kind would turn on us?

* Uwe is NOT his real name. All the other info is, as best as I have been able to verify, factually correct.

Last week's photo

Where was this photo taken?


Last week's photo was the most difficult in months and less than a dozen clever readers got it. It was taken inside the original branch of the Royal India restaurant in Pahurat – also known as Little India. This week's photo is much easier! The first person to email me with the correct location of the photo wins a 500 baht credit at Oh My Cod, the British fish and chips restaurant. The second person to get it correct wins a 500 baht voucher from one of the best farang food venues in Bangkok, and the home of Bangkok's best burger, in my humble opinion, Duke's Express. Duke's is conveniently located in the Emporium shopping centre in central Bangkok. The third person to get the photo right wins a 700 baht gift certificate from Lolita's in Pattaya.

Terms and conditions: The Oh My Cod prize MUST be claimed within 14 days. The Duke's prize must be utilised by March 2011. You have 90 days to claim the Lolita's prize. Prizes are only available to readers in Thailand at the time of entering and are not transferable. Prize winners cannot claim more than one prize per calendar month. You only have one guess per week! If you wish to claim a prize, you must state a preference for the prize you prefer, or list the prizes you would like in order of preference – fail to do so and I will award the prize to the next person to get the photo right.

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 – A moral obligation.

The morality of the issue of being HIV+ and having sex is very simple: if you are HIV+, you are morally obligated to inform anyone you have sex with of your status. Anything less equates to outright dishonesty and endangerment of the sex partner. You are practicing a blatant deception if you have sex with someone without informing them of any STD you have which could be passed on. In fact, my strong opinion is that you are committing a criminal act and should have your schwanzy chopped off with a rusty set of scissors to prevent further transgressions. Condoms are indeed fallible, and if you have schmacka-schmacka sex, there is a very good chance that the condom is going to break. It's happened to me countless times, and sometimes in the heat of passion, you can't even tell it's busted. For females, since they are on the receiving end of the sex act, the odds are much greater for them to contract HIV from an infected man than vice versa. In fact, the odds on the male contracting HIV from an infected female through vaginal intercourse are actually quite low even without the use of a condom, as long as there is no blood involved on either end. The odds of either partner contracting HIV from an infected partner increase, regardless of the sex of the infected individual, with anal sex (one reason for this is that there is often bleeding involved). But again, the female's chances of contraction from an infected male are much greater than vice versa.

Dreams shattered, lives destroyed.

I met a beautiful lady back in 2003 in one of the most popular Pattaya gogo bars. She was 23, so cute and we became a couple. 2 years later she had to have a medical to go to Farangland. She was HIV positive. She cried for a long time, all her dreams smashed. The story from that point on is very sad and very long. She died last week, aged 29, after many illnesses. Her family still don't know she had HIV and that's what she wanted. I supported her till the end and will look after her family also. You are never ready for someone you love to die in such a horrible way. She was not able to speak English at the end. You can see the end result. I never want to fall in love again. It hurts too much. *Photo included with reader's permission.

HIV+ and still active.

I feel a bit disappointed in your reaction to a guy you knew who was HIV+. I am HIV+ and I got it through heterosexual sex with a Thai lady. Does that mean now that people living with HIV can't have sex with bargirls any more? I would have thought a lot of Thai ladies who work in bars also have HIV. Don't you think people with HIV need sex just as much as the rest of the population? I'm not angry but wish someone of your intelligence would do a bit more research on the facts. Don't you think that if he is a decent person like a lot of people with HIV, we of course use condoms to protect others. Did you imagine that we all go around thinking, "Hey I got it so fuck the rest of the world?" It all comes down to an individual choice. <Surely the person you wish to have sex with has the right to this information so they can make an *informed* individual choice too?Stick> I still have sex with bargirls but make it an absolute that they be protected from the virus. We didn't ask for this. I understand that you see us as being different. I guess I felt the same when I was "clean".

Do everything you can to protect the nasty from spreading!

I think you should have asked the HIV+ guy directly if he was out for barfining any girls. If he answered in the affirmative then it was time to tell the mamasan. Of course he could get up and have gone to another bar, but on the other hand he might have given up and gone home. Earlier this year I saw a guy I had not seen for years who has had HIV since the '90s. Once full of life and bravado, when I saw him he was a shuffling wreck and he's not yet 40! HIV is not a joke and whatever anyone can do to prevent its spread, they should do it.

Soi Cowboy girl intends to infect YOU with HIV!

Thailand, as we all know, and as you write weekly in your column, is NOT the place to stick one's neck out for any reason. Those of us that have lived here long enough know that getting involved in any situation can be dangerous – and I don't mean contracting the dreaded virus. I have a close friend that works in Soi Cowboy. I have known her for the 6 years she has worked in the same bar. She is very popular as she not only looks cute but has a heart to match. 18 months ago she contracted HIV through unprotected sex with a client. She told me about the condition just over a year ago and also said she would continue to work as long as she could. She didn't tell anyone at the bar. When I asked her how she could get away with working at the bar with the monthly tests the girls have to have in that bar, she replied that her tests, and I assume those of others, were done at a clinic in soi 4 and that she hadn't visited the clinic in 4 years! The test papers provided to the bar were fake and all she needed to do was pay 800 baht a time. I then asked her about what she intended to do about clients' safety. Her reply was and I quote, "They gave to me and so I give back!" I know the manger there very well and I have had many restless nights pondering what to do about this. In the end I will do the sensible thing and do nothing. I am not judging her or her clients and perhaps they do deserve each other. We all know that having unprotected sex is like Russian roulette but deep down inside I do feel weak, I must admit. FOOTNOTE: I have now discovered that there is more than one girl at this bar working with HIV.

When your signature is more valuable than your passport!

Banks treat the signature in bank books as being of paramount importance, whilst a person's passport is very much secondary to that. Of course anyone with a modicum of intelligence (thereby excluding most of the Thai population) realises that an experienced criminal can easily copy someone else's signature whereas forging a passport is extremely difficult! I've tried pointing out the foolishness of their approach but I might as well have been talking to a concrete pillar. I suffer the consequences of the idiotic thinking because I am often unable to reproduce my own signature exactly! I have seen this in many South-East Asian countries, amazingly even in usually sensible Singapore.

The highlights of Thailand – a strong baht and Stickman Weekly!

I've read your column for some months now plus archived columns that have interesting titles. Thailand seems to be an unappealing country: corrupt cops, a legal system where the ability to pay can solve almost any crime, whores galore, social unrest, tap water that may or may not be fit to drink, air and other pollution in major cities, a bizarre citizen mentality where 'saving face' governs interpersonal relations, bargirls getting fat from Western food, traffic congestion in Bangkok, child pornography available on the streets, wildly unequal income distribution, employees in shops who pretend to work but know little about their business and care less, and an English teaching industry with educators whose main qualification is the ability to show up for work! Other than the strengthening baht and your website, surely there must be something positive about LOS. Maybe the cellphones work?


Gerry Finnegan has opened up a second Irish pub, Finnegan's 2. It's located beside Exchange Tower and attached to Asoke Suites at Sukhumvit soi 18. You can enter the pub from the road or enter directly from the Asoke Suites. I have yet to check it out myself but with New Zealand lamb on the menu a visit won't be far away! Official opening is set for December 4th.

Lolita's in Hua Hin is no more. The spot where Lolita's was once a Hua Hin landmark is now known as Hornblowers, which suggests that while the name of the business has changed, the theme hasn't! New signs state that the venue offers massage with the typical Thai, oil and foot massage options listed. Whether the same services previously offered are still available, I would not know, but with a name like Hornblowers I would have to assume that they are. There have been some minor changes in layout.

First A Gogo in Pattaya's soi 8 was supposed to reopen last night after being closed for a few months.

Not only is there talk in Sin City that Pattaya might be granted 24-hour licensing for the high season, rumours in the capital have it that Thonglor district may soon allow venues in their district to stay open until 3 AM. Bar owners are asking for 4 AM but are hopeful that a compromise will be reached, essentially meaning an extra hour of business for bars at night. Personally, I can't see the authorities 24-hour licensing allowed for anything more than a week or so – perhaps the week between Christmas and New Year, but 3 AM in the Thonglor district (in which Soi Cowboy is located) seems much more likely.

Marc of Spanky's Bar is one of the bar owners I admire most because not only does he have money to invest, he is willing to try new things. He isn't all talk, like certain bar owners, but just gets on with things and follows projects through to completion. This past week Mark acquired DC 10, on the middle floor of Nana Plaza, and has plans to renovate it and give it a new look (as per the two photos below) in line with the name of the bar. The old owner, by the way, was "the iceman" – the older Thai gent who runs the ice business at Nana, as well as providing change to all the bars. DC 10 closed on Monday and should reopen before Christmas. Some punters, especially some of the long-time Bangkok residents, feel that there's still a place for the older style, often seedier gogo bars where the girls tend to be rough and where anything goes. DC 10 was one such bar but its transformation means there's one less original style gogo bar in Bangkok. In Nana that just leaves Sexy Night. There are a few other old-style bars scattered around Patpong and Cowboy – but for how much longer?

Of course if Marc really wants to get punters through the door, getting his staff into air hostess uniforms similar to what the staff don at the similarly themed Airport Club in Pattaya wouldn't be a bad thing!

Mandarin stays open a good half hour later than most of the other bars in Nana Plaza and has a bunch of pretty girls. In a throwback to Soi Cowboy bars in the 90s, come 1:30 AM or so, the DJ puts on Isaan music. It's not to the average punter's taste but the girls love it and bounce around the stage like the Energizer bunny!

Fans of Insomnia know that the entrance fee is 300 baht, but if you spend 300 baht or more in the adjacent V8 Diner then entrance is free. In other words, you may as well grab a bite before going in.

Several years ago, back when Dave The Rave was in charge, Hollywood Carousel was widely considered the best bar in Nana. Not any more! Today the venue is in an absolutely dreadful state and needs much work to tidy it up. There's awful car alarm style music blaring and the few girls they have are horrors! It is so shockingly bad that it's probably the worst I have ever seen Hollywood and – that's really saying something!

The Golden Beer Bar on Sukhumvit Soi 4 has reduced drink prices with a day-time happy hour running through until 5 PM for those keen to get into it before the sun goes down. Bottles of Heineken and the like are just 70 baht. From 5 PM prices go up to what is still a very reasonable 85 baht.

For cricket fans keen to catch the Ashes, ever optimistic Englishman Brian at Crossbar will continue to open the doors at what he describes as "the ungodly hour of 9:30 AM!" Some of us have been up for 3 hours by that time, Mr. Publican!

I don't usually go down to Pattaya in the cool season as I find it just too busy for my liking. Hotel prices go up too and I guess I just prefer Bangkok in the cool season, not that it is cool at the moment. Anyway, I have absolutely no idea how business is in Pattaya at the moment. I received two emails within minutes of each other this week, one from a Bangkok bar manager I have known for years and another from a long-time reader who sends email often. About Pattaya the bar manager said, "I can't believe how crowded Walking street is at night. And talk about a freak show!! I wandered around with a zoom lens and shot the biggest collection of oddballs, losers and weirdoes I've ever seen. The whole city seemed like a huge carnival of the bizarre." The long-term reader said to me, "Back in Thailand, Pattaya to be exact….Man it is the deadest I have ever seen Pattaya." These emails came in 15 minutes apart, presumably describing the same evening!

I must apologise for including a piece of errant information in last week's column. It seems that despite checking with various sources, I was ill-informed about the incident concerning the Arab's security staff beating up a foreign customer who subsequently died. The guy beaten up was a Canadian who is a well-known regular at Cowboy. While shirtless, he tried to get into Midnite but was refused entry – and good on Midnite for refusing someone without a shirt entry. He walked away, but a few minutes later went back and started verbally abusing the doormen. Dumb move! The inevitable happened and the security was all over him giving him quite a kicking. At that point, security from two other Cowboy bars went over to help the guy because A) they knew him and B) they hate the Arab and his security. They out-muscled the Midnite security in the short melee that followed and one of the Midnite guys ended up with a badly cut ear and hand.

Also following on from last week's column, the Western guy and the two Thai girls who died following the purchase of drugs from blacks in the Nana area were apparently trying some new drug which has been described as a sort of "super ice". Sounds nasty.

There was another incident involving The Arab's staff last week. A fracas developed outside Kiss, another of the Arab's mosques, involving a 50ish farang who took a couple of blows from the Arab's sentries. The serving girls from Sam's 2000 and Tilac gave the victim a cold towel and tried to reassure him and calm him down.

Reports are coming out of Vientiane that those with multiple back to back tourist visas for Thailand having their application for yet another tourist visa to stay in Thailand a further 2 months declined. Whether this is due to an officious staff member, a temporary crackdown, a new policy or perhaps something else, I do not know. Vientiane has traditionally been a soft touch for back to back tourist visas. The embassy staff have to know that anyone with years of back to back tourist visas in Thailand are most likely working!

A mate runs one of the top Thai dating sites and tells me that he wastes heaps of time every day zapping Nigerians. They register HUNDREDS of profiles on his site every day, purporting to be someone they're not, usually a little Thai hottie. He spends more time checking new profiles and IP addresses than on any other single aspect of running the site! Another webmaster with a Thai dating site has just told me that he has exactly the same problem. What is sad, is that that website recently became free, but the webmaster has to spend so much time zapping these blasted Nigerian pests that he has been forced to reintroduce subscription fees to make up for all the time he wastes zapping bogus profiles each day. Bloody Nigerians, scum of the earth they are.

In last week's column I mentioned Pattaya Eddie who had got himself into a bit of bother. Most people knew Eddie as the former "manager" of FLB. While the title is not correct only a few would dispute his association with FLB. In early November Eddie was arrested at Bali Hai pier after a tip-off from an as yet un-named source. He was NOT detained in relation to any work related issues. On November 5th he was convicted of "not being in possession of a passport and having an expired visa" and was given a fine of 1,800 baht and ordered to be deported. He was then held in Pattaya police station until November 10 when he was transferred to the Immigration Detention Centre in Bangkok to await deportation. At no stage was he charged with or convicted of anything relating to employment on a tour boat. Ed is a friend of the boat owner and was living on the boat due to financial difficulties after the boat owner had offered him a place to stay. Ed was not employed at the time of his arrest. He has not been blacklisted – blacklisting really is not that common – and can return to Thailand should he choose to do so. An appeal was run amongst his friends and the required money was raised to arrange Ed's release and return to the UK on November 27. Ed has admitted his mistakes and strongly encourages people to not do what he has done. He also would like to thank those who have assisted him during this time and looks forward to seeing them again in the new year. At last count there were 57 people in the cell with him awaiting deportation for similar offences. His friends will be organising a welcome back party which will be well publicised nearer the time.

It used to be that the cost of a standard journey on a songtaew in Pattaya, also known as baht buses, was 5 baht, but foreigners were often asked for – and usually parted with – 10 baht. Not that long ago the official price went up to 10 baht. Perhaps not surprisingly, some baht bus drivers are now asking foreign passengers for 20 baht. Unaware what the price should be, some people pay it. There have also been reports of drivers who have been paid 20 baht driving off without giving the 10 baht change that the passenger is waiting for. The price for a standard journey around Pattaya on a songtaew is 10 baht, not 20 baht! Like so many things in Thailand, it's not the cost, it's the way that those in the tourism industry treat visitors to the country with contempt.

The skytrain really has made travel around Bangkok so much easier. Not wanting to live in the past and harp on about the good old days…but…I can remember when, after about 9 PM or so, there'd be very few passengers on the skytrain, so few in fact that you might be the only person in one of the cars. Those days are long gone and a combination of a booming local economy, the skytrain connecting with the underground and the extension of the skytrain over the river have meant that it is now extremely busy for most of the day – to the point of being genuinely uncomfortable. Unless you get on at the first station, getting a seat is out of the question, and it can be so busy – for much of the day – that it reminds me of buses in the old days when you had to try and make your way towards the door a couple of stops before you would get off! Anyway, maybe things will improve a little with the announcement that from Wednesday this coming week there will be 4-car trains on the Silom line. That should ease the congestion a little. Does nothing for me though as I am seldom on that line!

One of the most common scams poor Thai women try to pull over their Western boyfriend abroad is to make out that she has been injured / hurt herself or a family member is injured / sick and money is required for medical treatment. One way to determine if this is a scam or if it really is genuine (which is probably much less than 10% of the time) is to listen carefully to the way she describes the situation. If it's genuine, she will likely provide details about what the medical problem itself is and the pain or discomfort the person is in. She is more interested in telling you that she / they burned their hand or twisted their ankle or fell of a motorbike or whatever. If she only talks about the monetary requirements, that's often a sign that it's a scam. If she really likes you and felt you cared for her, she would tell you about the medical problem first and foremost. This is not a foolproof method, of course but I have found it to be fairly accurate.

It used to be said that to know the number of farangs living in Thailand you found out how many people were subscribing to UBC – and that was the approximate answer. The trouble of course these days is that much of what is screened on UBC, or True Visions as it is known today, has little or perhaps almost no interest to Westerners so I don't think that method will work any more!

Reader's story of the week comes from Korski and is titled, "Thinking About HIV in Thailand and Southeast Asia".

The New York Times comments on the Thailand abortion debate.

In Bangkok, snakes crawl into people's houses (and they're not wearing brown uniforms!).

24-hour licences for Pattaya have been proposed for the high season months.

Some clown is photographed where many of us have been, wasted outside some shitty bar in Thailand!

As if the Thai police don't have a bad enough rep, a bunch are accused of raping one of their own!

A Russian bird in Pattaya is knifed by a Thai ex-con who grabbed her bag and legged it.

Apparently bicycle tours of Bangkok are all the rage these days.

CNNGo highlights some of Bangkok's best restaurants – none of which I agree with!

The New York Times ran a piece on Thai street food.

Ask Sunbelt Legal

Sunbelt Asia's legal department is here to answer your questions relating to legal issues and the law in Thailand. Send any legal questions you may have to me and I will pass them on to Sunbelt Legal and their response will run in a future column. You can contact Sunbelt's legal department directly for all of your legal needs.

Question 1: We have been together almost 2 years, not married yet, but are thinking about our future and have an opportunity to buy some land near her family home in the north of Thailand. It is with the chanote. I love the area and would love to live there. We are now living in Bangkok. She works in a department store and I am about to start at a language school. The problem is that she is on a low salary and has little in the way of savings. I know I can't buy / own the land – but I do have the funds available. I have read I am not allowed to put foreign (my) money into her account for her to buy the land. I have no problem with her owning the land but would hate it if the title was taken from her because the money (for land) came from a farang. Is there a way around this? I believe in the past a foreigner could use a disclaimer. I would be most grateful if you can offer any advice or clarification on this situation.

Sunbelt Legal responds: You can give money to anyone as a gift. Nothing illegal about that in Thailand. Where it would be illegal is if she bought land with the gift and then you insisted on keeping the title deed to the property even though it's in her name or you insisted upon putting servitude on the land before you were legally married. The commercial code provides: “The Thai national must have the title to the property, to the exclusion of the foreigner. The Thai must have the right to dispose of the property”.

If these conditions are met, the Land Department will invariably recognize her as the rightful owner with all the legal protections that ownership affords.

The disclaimer is used if you are married. No need for it before the marriage or to obtain it after you were married and if she already bought the land. It's 100% her land.

After you are married, she then can ask the land dept to grant you a usufruct over the property. She can simply do this because she loves you and wants to make sure you are protected if something happens to her while you two live on the property. Once you have usufruct or a lease, you as a foreigner could own the house or structure that is built on the property in your own name. In order to register the house in your name, you will need to show a construction contract with a building permit in your name. Sunbelt Legal Advisors have created hundreds of Thai usufructs all over the Kingdom of Thailand. Usufructs are a great, legal vehicle to let foreigners feel secure in building on property and being able to live there for long periods

Question 2: I work for a large international banking concern in a mundane job. However dull, this job will soon allow me to work remotely. After an acceptable period of establishing my work standards while working remotely, I'd like that remote location to be Thailand. There is documentation on my company's human resources' site showing this is not unprecedented in the company.

What would I need from my company to legally work for a US company remotely while based in Thailand? I do not want too many obstacles to obtaining their consent to work remotely from outside the US.

Will I be taxed for work done here if the funds are deposited in the US? Can I create a company and only pay taxes on what I bring into the country?

If I choose to work here on a tourist visa will the Treaty of Amity provide for the exchange of income information with the Thai Revenue Department? My intent would be to use the $85,000 income exemption in US tax law for US citizens working outside the US to suppress my US tax obligations.

Sunbelt Legal responds: Congratulations on being able to make the move to Thailand with a job that allows you to work remotely. You have achieved something that many people in the USA and Europe dream about but sometimes hesitate at making the “big move”. Let Sunbelt Asia's top notch legal team make it an enjoyable and easy process by involving us early in your plans.

You will need to have a proper visa and a Work Permit to be allowed to work in Thailand. The only visas that allow the holder to work in Thailand are the non-immigrant “B” visa and a non-immigrant “O” based upon marriage to a Thai national. It is illegal to work in Thailand on a Tourist visa or a Retirement visa. The consequences of working in Thailand without the proper visa and a valid Work Permit can be quite severe in Thailand and can involve fines, imprisonment, deportation and being barred from returning to the Kingdom. Sunbelt Asia Work Permit assistance is a great way to make your stay in Thailand safe if you are thinking about working here.

There are only two real ways for a foreigner to work long-term in Thailand legally: Work for a company that is licensed to operate in this country and allowed to have foreigners working in such a job; or, Set up a Thai company here with the sufficient number of Thai employees and the proper amount of corporate registered capital to allow a Work Permit to be issued for a foreign national.

The company you currently work for in the USA may want to consider setting up a Representative Office in Thailand or possibly a Treaty of Amity company so you could work legally in Thailand.

Barring that, you will need to set up a Thai company in order to work in Thailand legally. Setting up a company in Thailand can be done quickly and easily by the licensed lawyers at Sunbelt Asia. Setting up a legal company that will enable you to get a Work Permit issued for a foreigner will require the hiring of 4 full time Thai employees and 2 million Thai Baht in registered capital of which at least 25% should be in the company's bank account. Sunbelt Asia has set up thousands of flourishing and vibrant companies throughout Thailand and we are here to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true.

You will need to talk with a licensed US tax accountant or lawyer to discuss US taxation issues.


Question 3: I made a mistake of buying a timeshare from Laguna Holiday Club three years ago. I have paid off the contract and now I just have to pay the annual membership due to use it. But I no longer have the desire to go to Thailand and I have informed Laguna Holiday Club in writing that I don't want to continue my membership and I will not pay the annual membership due. There is nothing in the contract that says I am legally obligated to continue paying my annual membership due. The contract states that if I fail to pay the annual membership due, my membership will be terminated. I have made this clear to Laguna Holiday Club that I want to terminate my membership but they have sent me the bills for 2010 and 2011 annual membership due. They even called me on my cell phone pretending to be interested in renting or buying my timeshare. I told the caller that I don't own any timeshare. Again I have paid off the contract and I owe them nothing. My concern is that can they take any legal action against me if I ever step foot in Thailand? Thank you for your help with this matter.

Sunbelt Legal responds: It is difficult to give a full legal analysis of a contract dispute without having the actual contract to review. Always keep any contracts you have entered into in multiple safe and secure locations (a fire box with a lock and scanned/saved at a secure online location are good choices).

If the contract says just what you claim it is unlikely that the Holiday Club would be successful in any litigation against you. That said, it does not prevent a party from filing a lawsuit against you. Thai law requires that you be served with papers relating to civil litigation before a judgment can be entered against you. You may have waived personal service in the contract and allowed service of process to occur at the location agreed in the contract (the apartment unit you contracted to timeshare). If so it is important to hire Sunbelt's attorneys to review the contract so a judgment is not entered into against you without your knowledge/participation in the civil court process. We can also contact the Holiday Club's legal counsel to make sure they are aware that the contract has been terminated and that they need to cease and desist contacting you. Our fee for this service is a very reasonable 3,000 THB plus VAT and traveling fees. Please contact us quickly so we can give you a full legal analysis by our licensed attorneys and give you the peace-of-mind you deserve


Baronbonk gave me some words of advice when I first started this column. "Don't believe what any bar owner or manager tells you, young Stick. They're all a bunch of lying drunks!" And so his words turned out to have a good deal of truth. Bar owners and managers are known to talk up their bars, and it's not always easy to work out what's really going on. But with that said, I do hope that bar owners and managers would let me know what is happening in their venue. I would like to provide info about more bars and let readers know why they should go to a venue. It's always good to know of any specials, promotions, parties or events. So to the bar managers and owners, do let us know what is going on in your venue, to include letting us know if you think you have the hottest girl in town (just make sure you let me know first before anyone else….and then I can tell the readership :) Free publicity is on offer here – just don't expect me to be telepathic!



Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick