Stickman's Weekly Column June 30th, 2013

Bar Customers, Farangs and Asians

It was one of the most surprising things a bar owner has said to me, not because it was bad or even questionable, but because it just came out of left field and was totally unexpected. But after just a few words explanation I could see where he was coming
from. What made it all the more surprising was that the bar is ultra popular with Westerners, and not really on the Asian guys' radar. I thought about it more and saw he had a point…

Bacarra and Rainbow 4 have long been the busiest bars in the farang bar areas. They're in a class of their own and no other venues of the same genre come close. Each has a large number of dancers and they are probably the two
biggest bars in terms of staff numbers. They both have many attractive ladies. And in what separates them from many other farang bars, they attract plenty of Asian customers. Bacarra and Rainbow 4 aren't farang gogo bars per se, but gogo bars in farang-dominated areas.

The next tier of gogo bars in Bangkok would include Billboard, Angelwitch, Rainbow 1, Shark and a few others, possibly Mercury and Mandarin. Billboard and Angelwitch remain largely popular with Caucasians, with not a great number of Asian customers. However,
the other bars in this tier also have a following amongst Asian men. Visit Shark, Rainbow 1, Mandarin and Mercury and there is every chance that the guy sitting next to you is Asian.

Asian men are nothing new in Bangkok's farang bar areas. Before Rainbow 4 and Bacarra opened respectively a decade or so ago, Rainbow 1 and Rainbow 2 were the strongholds for Asian men, dominated by the Japanese. In recent years guys from other countries
are popping up, with noticeably more Singaporeans, Chinese and Koreans.

Asian men enjoy a drink and a pretty woman as much as a Caucasian, but they are known for their own way of doing things. The Japanese guys even have their own bar area, Soi Thaniya, which manages to replicate not just what you'd find in Tokyo in
terms of environment, but also in price. Outsiders may be allowed if they are with Japanese customers, but their patronage isn't encouraged.

Some Japanese are so paranoid about others that they even have their own blowjob bar in soi 33, known primarily to Japanese and where Westerners and other nationalities aren't allowed inside.

And not only do they like to party in a different way, Asian men often have rather different tastes in women. Whereas many Western men visiting Thailand tend to be ok with shorter, dumpy, darker skinned girls, Asian men prefer fairer-skinned, taller women
with a look often described as cute Japanese. They also prefer those who are less animated on stage. Where many white guys decry a woman who doesn't dance, the Japanese seem to prefer that.

And where the Asian men have a definite preference as to the archetype of their women, so the Thai women working in bars have preferences about their customers – and there is a growing preference towards Asian men!

Why are Thai bargirls so enamoured by Asian men?

Many Thai women in and out of the bar industry will say straight out that they prefer the look of Asian men. They find their body shape and stature more to their preference. The macho Sylvester Stallone bodybuilder look might be a winner with Western
women but Thai women are generally not big fans of it.

Asian men tend to be more focused on getting down to business. They seem to understand the girls' reasons for being there much better than Westerners and have a mindset much closer to Thai men. Find a girl, take her to a
room, do the business, pay and leave. Seeking tenderness, warmth and someone to tell their problems to doesn't appear to have the same draw for Asian men as with many Westerners, and neither does the practice of using the
bars as a place to find a wife.

Another reason for the preference of Asian men could be the popularity of Asian culture amongst young Thais. Where once they liked all things Western (but predominately American), now they seem to go for cultures closer to home. K-pop, the modern dance music from Korea which is awfully popular in Thailand with the younger generation partially explains the love affair with Korea and all things Korean, to include Korean men.

But there is one very clear reason why there is a preference for Asian men. Some Asian guys – particularly the older guys – tip very well, sometimes several thousand baht. They are also less likely to negotiate. They will accept a price offered or they
won't. Negotiation doesn't really come in to it. The Thai girls like that and with their growing preference amongst some for Asian men, many farang guys feel resentful.

Many a white guy talks trash of Asian guys in their areas. They point to the rule of 4s – 4 inches, 4 minutes, 4,000 baht. Amusing, but with little foundation in truth. Anatomically the differences may exist but are not
great. As far as time goes, given that many Western men are older and can't get it up – and many don't actually do anything contrary to what they might tell all others – there's probably no difference time-wise. And with
Asian sometimes paying more, it's easy to see why the ladies like them so much. From many accounts, while some throw money around they generally pay about the same.

The odd report out of the Philippines equivalent of Pattaya, Angeles City, concerns the behaviour and actions of Korean men who are said to mistreat the local ladies, often hurting them and insisting on or forcing the girls in to dangerous sexual acts.
I don't ever recall hearing such reports in Thailand.

So what did that bar owner actually say to me? To paraphrase, "I've had it with the type of guys coming to Pattaya these days which have been a real turn for the worse over the past couple of years." He then
launched in to a tirade against men from his homeland who he observes mistreating girls, from feeling them up in his bar – at which point he tells them to stop or throws them out – to boasting about what they would like to do with them,
some of which sounds more like twisted Medieval torture than pleasurable bedroom actions. "My wife used to hear the term poo-dee-angrit banded around in years gone by < which loosely translates as "English gentleman",
it being implied that Englishmen stood out from the crowd and were just that little bit better >. Today she tells girls in the bar to be careful around the English, and here she is married to me, a proud Englishman. In my bar the number of Asian customers has gone from 5% to 15%. In a couple of years I'm going to go close the bar and open a new bar that will be all Asian customers, with no farangs allowed. I can't continue in business with people like this."

I sent a question to a bunch of bar owners asking them about the bad points of Asian customers in their bars. The question wasn't merely leading. It was loaded. Their responses surprised me. Not a bad word was said from any of them. Not one single
negative comment! One of my favourite Bangkok bar bosses, a Brit with a popular bar in Patpong had this to say, "I wish my bar was full of Japs every night, never a problem, girls love them, pay their bills, never bitch. That's it!"

When it comes to Japanese men, you occasionally hear the story of eccentric individuals and overpaying, the latter often talked about as if it was a heinous crime! It's long been a touchy issue for Westerners who feel that
Asian men paying over the odds have pushed prices up for everyone. Given many of the Asian men – particularly the Japanese – in the gogo bar areas popular with Caucasians are young and not likely to be big earners, do they really pay over the odds?

Asian men typically don't sweat the small stuff, don't complain and certainly aren't known for challenging girls in the bar. Thais don't like confrontation so such behaviour fits well with them. Asian customers are typically generous
and often men from wealthier Asian countries don't negotiate prices with working girls. They pay what is asked. Thai bargirls love nothing more than money. Asian customers in Bangkok's bar areas are generally younger and of a
smaller stature than their farang brethren, and closer in size to Thai men. It's natural for women to be more attracted to men physically fit and of similar age.

From bar owners' perspective, Asian men are model customers. They behave, they treat the girls well, they don't cause trouble and if things don't go their way, they usually keep their cool.

And many foreigners in the bars wonder why they don't get the same attention as Asian men these days…

Where was this photo taken?


Last week's photo was taken From Benjakit Park, not far from the Asoke intersection with the Stock Exchange of Thailand building
in the background.

(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.

He Clinic Bangkok

EMAIL OF THE WEEK – Demographics is destiny.

Demography is destiny – a phrase attributed to many and whose truth is indisputable. The fate of a nation, a society, is determined by who constitutes its populace. With that in mind, here are some interesting stats on the kingdom. Thailand's total fertility rate, that is children per woman, was 5.5 in 1970. That plummeted to 2.2 by 1990 with the introduction of contraception, industrialisation and the introduction of more women to the work force, and social change. By 2010 it had fallen to 1.8, below replacement level, meaning the country's total population will be in decline barring the impact of large-scale migration, a dynamic already common in many western countries. In 2010, the percentage of Thailand's population aged 65 and older was 8.9 percent. Extrapolating out the above TFR, that percentage will be 17.6 percent in 2030 – a doubling in 20 years. The average in other ASEAN countries was 4.5 percent in 2010 rising to 8.5 percent in 2030, so Thailand will be greying quicker than surrounding countries. And the percentage of Thais aged under 20 will fall by a fifth over that 20-year period. So far from being the hip, happening hub of the region, Thailand will instead become a more staid and greying society in the coming years. And going back to those TFR figures and how that might affect the bar industry; in 1970 every family had on average 2.75 girls who would have turned 18 on average in 1988, that would have slipped to 1.1 coming of age in 2008, and 0.9 in 2028. It's no mystery why many bars complain of finding replacement stock.

Where's my 5K?

CBD bangkok

Back before Swampy changed their screening process to take place upstairs as it does now, I entered a long line of people all organising their items in to trays to go through the scanner. I usually empty all my pockets and stick the contents in to my camera bag. I remember I was pretty exhausted that evening as I'd been drinking and partying right up until I had to get on the plane home. I took the loose cash out of my pockets, about 5,000 baht, and placed it into a zipper pocket at the front of my camera bag. I must've been seen by a worker at the scanner as he immediately grabbed my bag as soon as it came out of the scanner. He took my camera bag along with my backpack to a side table to check it again for some reason. He placed the camera bag in front of my backpack shielding my view of it and stole the money. I didn't check my camera bag until I got on the plane as I was focused on getting to the gate and getting a seat. That, and it just didn't occur to me that it would get stolen in that situation. It was too late to do anything about it as I was seated and the doors were shut. I've no doubt these airport workers do this all the time and have a routine worked out. It's a great little scam as people don't often have time to go back and report the problem even if they find out before they get on the plane and if you had a choice between a hundred or so dollars and a thousand dollar plane ticket home would you risk missing your plane?

Pattaya has gone.

The Pattaya I knew 20 years ago is no longer. My first few trips to Walking Street I would never see a so called "tourist or foreign white lady" and all the customers where white male sexpats and sex tourists. Now, as you say, you see bus loads of 50-year+ Koreans, Chinese and others being led by flag-waving guides. And the worst of the worst are the so called families who take their very young children there. As if it is a good idea to take a 7-year old boy there to see gyrating women dancing around a pole in a beer bar. The push for a more family orientated location is the main reason why the girls are not working and why their attitudes have fallen so low. It's a double edge sword. The married men with family will not likely play the field. That leaves the cheap Indian and Pakistanis begging, and the Russians, who do not play or go out at all, to spend their time buying condos. They are just here to wash their dirty money, as most of us here know. We few westerners will not play the game any more. We have our own bastions.

One of many reasons for Bacarra's spectacular success.

wonderland clinic

You referred, not for the first time I think, to the reason for male service staff in Baccara on Walking Street. The fact is that it's a favourite place for me to visit to start the evening, catch a cheap drink in the happy hour, and remind myself of what an attractive woman looks like before I venture forth into the hinterlands beyond. My impression is of well trained service staff who always acknowledge you at the door once you become known. Once inside you are usually guided to a seat and promptly asked for your order. A request to buy a second drink is usually well timed just as you take the last gulp of your first. Add a tip to your payment and it is often visibly and verbally noted. If this is how male staff can be trained, can we have more? Then I can relax in a bar, instead of being pestered, cajoled and insulted into buying ladies drinks for service staff. Trays thrown on the floor, drinks being snatched from under your nose before you have finished, or subsequently being totally ignored are all experiences I can do without. Baccara, I salute you; other bars take note.

A safety zone?

I write about the beating that a customer at one of the Arab's bars received, and the submission I've just seen it prompted. Isn't Soi Cowboy supposed to be a tourist safety zone with police on duty, to protect visitors to the street from such violence? As usual in Thailand it is all talk, no action. In many visits to Soi Cowboy I have never, never seen any police on duty, either early or late. Their only contribution has been to put up a banner over the street and to block the pavement at the soi 23 end with an unmanned booth. As you suggested, the bar owners in the street need to get together to deal with the Arab's nonsense before those who don't know who owns which bars decide to play safe and go instead to the rejuvenated Nana and Patpong.

Get used to it!

Is it at all possible to get a decent conversation out of these girls? I like a little mental stimulation but all I seem to be hearing is the same uninteresting shit over and over. One wonders if speaking Thai would make much difference with these Sukhumvit ladies. I'll make an educated guess at your answer…get used to it!

Beware those asking questions about banknotes.

We were in Pattaya a couple of weeks ago walking down Second Road near the back of Central Festival and one of my friends was approached by an Indian couple. After exchanging greetings the man said he was going to London in a couple of weeks and they chatted for a minute. The guy said they had just arrived in Thailand and wanted to know about the currency and could my friend explain. My friend took out the notes and showed him a 1,000 baht note and a 500 baht note and somehow this guy returned only the 500 note and not the 1,000. This was not discovered until later. Whether the Indian couple targeted my friend because he is also of Indian appearance I don't know. Definitely a set-up and the presence of a wife encouraged us to trust them. I wonder if anyone else has had a similar incident.

Girl of the week

Tai, dancer, Spanky's, Soi Diamond, Pattaya.

Club Electric Blue in Patpong will continue to offer draft beer at just 50 baht, every night, all night long. What started as a special for June to celebrate the bar's 10th anniversary has proved so popular that the boss has decided to keep it going.

When will the new neon and sign frontage for Lighthouse in Soi Cowboy be erected? Is the reason for the delay uncertainty over what name will be put on the sign? The bar which replaced Sheba's is called Lighthouse, but those in neighbouring bars are whispering that the name on the licence still says Sheba's, and while the new bar is called Lighthouse, signs might also have to say Sheba's to satisfy the licensing requirements. What a debacle!

A big name gogo bar in one of the most popular sois off Pattaya's Walking Street is proof that times are tough with word that they have not paid their rent for the last 3 months! What's up with that?

In the same soi, Beach Club has reopened after a redesign to the bar's frontage and entranceway. And it's not just the front of the bar which has been given a makeover with the hello girls sporting new uniforms which look much the same as those worn by the hello girls outside Bacarra, in style and colour.

Carousel A Gogo had a prime position on Soi Diamond just a few steps from Walking Street but closed some time ago and has remained vacant. The lease was recently acquired for a reasonable 2.5 million baht by some fresh faces to the industry. The new bar will be called Dream A Gogo.

Pattaya's Soi Post Office has always been home to a few salubrious venues like the notorious Pump Station but has never really been a destination, a soi you could venture to and spend the entire night, in the same way that Soi Pattayaland 2 was, or Soi LK Metro now is. Anyway, Soi Post Office has seen a rise in the number of massage outlets with overly friendly women sitting outside these new venues, often in no more than shorts and a tight top and showing rather a lot of leg, all of which makes it look like Soi Honey. And I got the distinct impression that the services offered at these new outlets would be exactly the same as what is offered on Soi Honey. And with venues with names like Happy Massage, I'd say I'm right!

Stumble Inn yet again is doing everything it can to stand out as the best beer bar on Soi Nana with another great day-time offer. From 9 AM – 5 PM, Chang, Heineken and Tiger pints are just 80 baht. That's everyday of the week. I'm not sure who drinks pints at 9 AM but for those that do, the kitchen opens at the same time with great pub-style food served from 9 AM until late!

The American Chamber of Commerce will host this year's Independence Day picnic this coming Saturday, July 6th. It's one of the biggest days on the expat calendar, especially for the Americans. Full details can be found here.

Thursday is July 4th and Bully's will celebrate with an American favourite. The promotion this year is hot dogs and Budweiser. All day long you can order any of their hot dogs with fries and a Budweiser for 275 baht.

Also at Bully's, after 10 years of a no happy hour policy, Bully's has come out with happy day pricing on Mondays and Tuesdays. Monday features Heineken pints at 99 baht all day, all night, and on Tuesday Tiger pints are 99 baht. Boss Hogg says now you do not have to watch the clock while drinking draft.

Sunrise Tacos will celebrate the 4th of July with a rib eye steak special at only 379 baht. This is an imported, juicy, choice rib eye steak, flame-grilled on the Josper grill and served with a baked potato and vegetables. It's available at the original branch on Sukhumvit Road between sois 12 14 and also at the Silom Soi 4 branch. Both branches are open 24 hours. This special starts on July 4th and will run until the end of the month.

One of Phuket's best-known and most-loved expats, Big Bill – who is perhaps best known for his time as the disc spinner at Hard Rock A Gogo – has announced that he is moving on from the island. Bill's enjoyment of life has caught up with him and he is not quite as mobile as he once was and is looking for somewhere wheelchair-friendly. Pattaya and northern Thailand are both on the radar. What struck me about Big Bill's announcement was the words, "The camaraderie of Phuket just doesn't seem the same". Yep, expat circles sure are changing. A colourful character never short of something to say, he says that in his 15 years at Rock Hard he never let a customer get fxxxxd…unless they paid a barfine!

I just heard that Woodstock closed…months ago! Woodstock started life as a gogo bar in Nana Plaza and later became a funky bar and restaurant specialising in older music and classic American food – which it has to be said it did particularly well. As big a fan as I was of Woodstock, I didn't follow when it moved from Nana Plaza to Thonglor. Anyway, Woodstock is history and closed a few months back.

After pulling pints and being a popular haven for expats on Loi Kroh Road for several years, the Old Belle English pub in Chiang Mai will open its doors for the very last time today.

From Monday, July 1st, Temptations, the intimate ladyboy bar on the second floor of Nana Plaza, will offer ALL bottled beers at only 80 baht, all night, every night.

Temptations ladyboy bar

A number of readers commented on the beating an old man received after a dispute in one of The Arab's bars. Complaints in the hospitality industry in Thailand are seldom handled well although you generally have a better chance in a Western-owned / managed venue of things being put right. What you often find with Thai customers who feel let down is that they do not complain – but they will never ever return. Why don't they complain? I think quite simply they know that nothing will happen or they will receive nothing more than lip service.

I often get asked about the one often referred to as "The Arab". Some ask me why I persist in calling him by that nickname so let me explain. The nickname was coined by the owner of Suzy Wong and a few other bars. The Arab is in fact NOT an Arab at all, but a Persian, and Persians hate being called Arabs – which is the very reason said fellow came up with the nickname! These two fellows used to drink together at Tony's Bar in Soi Cowboy the bar now known as Cockatoo. They later fell out and have not been on good terms for some time and it is from falling out that the nickname arose. Anyway, ask any foreign bar owner on Cowboy about his bars and you'll hear the term, "The Arab"!

And spending a few hours in one of my favourite Pattaya haunts this week, I joked with one of the girls about how the bar did not have enough money to buy a new CD of copied songs at Tuk Com after hearing Jennifer Lopez's "On The Floor" played for the 3rd time. After it had played for the 5th time – no exaggeration – I started to wonder about the wisdom of these computerised so-called random playlist music generators.

In the latest report about the men in tight brown uniforms hassling foreigners near the Asoke intersection, a friend was stopped around 10 PM on Friday night by 2 police officers near the bus stop between Sukhumvit sois 23 and 25. When they asked to perform a search of his person he told them they couldn't without a warrant. They either pretended not to understand what he was saying or ignored what he said and insisted on searching him anyway! Can you believe it? Well, sadly, I can. What I found so bad about this is that said friend is clean cut, always well dressed, has a friendly disposition, is clean living (does not smoke, drink or do drugs) and is unfailingly polite. If you looked at him you would think he was the last person who would be up to no good. He refused to allow them to stick their paws in his pockets in such a dark spot so late at night and emptied his pockets himself. He had about 5,000 baht on him and says he saw the cops' eyes widen when he pulled the money out. Searching people by day is one thing, but in dark sections of Sukhumvit at night when someone exercises their right to refuse to be searched? One could assume that things are getting worse.

Angelwitch 2

I was recently asked how many times I've seen a snake in Thailand. Outside of a zoo or the snake centre on Rama 4 Road, the answer is a grand total of 3, which means about one snake spotting every 5 years on average. Each occasion was in a built-up, urban area. The first time was on the grounds of Chulalongkorn University where I was amazed to see a huge – and I mean HUGE – python. That was early in the morning, around 6:30 AM, before the masses had started arriving. The second occasion was last year in Chiang Mai where a snake was slithering amongst the rubbish strewn between the Riverside restaurant and the building next door. The 3rd was just a couple of weeks ago in Benjakit Park, the location of last week's where is this picture competition when I spotted a thin green snake of perhaps 2 or 3 feet in length that moved like Usain Bolt and scared the crap out of me. That's it, 3 times – and frankly 3 times too many for this boy from a country that has no snakes!

I have long lamented the lack of reasonably priced Indian food in downtown Bangkok. If you fancy tasty Indian food at reasonable prices it often meant venturing out to Pahurat AKA Little India – which is quite a hike. I recently discovered that Mrs. Balbir, for so long considered one of the top Indian restaurants in Bangkok, has a branch in the food court in the basement below Robinson's at Sukhumvit soi 19. It's not quite the same quality as the original Mrs. Balbir branch at Sukhumvit soi 11, but it's still pretty good – and being a food court, the prices are reasonable. Curries and biryanis run around 120 baht each.

Food comparisons between Bangkok and Pattaya usually go in Bangkok's favour when it comes to quality, Pattaya's when it comes to price. There is one type of food where I'm convinced that Pattaya has it all over Bangkok for quality. Street kebabs. The best kebabs in Thailand are found on the streets of Pattaya. Just about any Pattaya street kebab vendor has it all over just about any Bangkok street kebab stall – assuming we're talking a Middle Eastern-run stall. (Thais smother kebabs in tomato sauce – yuk!) The best kebabs I've found still come from the Egyptian fellow who has long been a fixture on the corner of Second and South Pattaya roads. Nice guy – a proper trained chef – and delicious kebabs!

Pattaya kebab vendor

Quote of the week comes from Dana, "All the vehicles in Thailand look new – whatever happened to it being a third world nation?"

Reader's story of the week comes from Korski and is part 2 of his latest popular series, "
A Random Walk in Yangon".

Two Aussies in Phuket accused in a shooting narrowly avoid jail time.

Questions are being asked about just how an Australian in Phuket died.

The government is talking about the idea of foreign visitors to Thailand requiring insurance.

A Belgian is stabbed multiple times in Phuket after his long-term Thai girlfriend flies in
to a fit of rage!

In the latest clap trap from Phuket tuktuk drivers, they claim illegals are stealing their

Ask Sunbelt Asia 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
Me and a friend had a conversation with the French owner of a restaurant in Chiang Mai concerning marriage laws in Thailand. The French owner was told that in Thailand a foreigner cannot legally marry a Thai woman if the age difference between them is of more than 30 years. I know that in Cambodia they recently passed a law about this but I never hear of it in Thailand. It may be useful for older foreigners to know about this.

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: This is not a law in Thailand. There are no restrictions on age, only on marrying a minor.

Question 2: I am European and I am a resident of Thailand for quite some time now. A while ago, before moving to Thailand, living in Switzerland, my bank made me aware that every foreigner
who is a NON-US-person, and not a US resident, has to pay taxes. In the case of death, if "US holdings" exceed USD 60'000 – and this person is a resident of Switzerland. Actually, any NON-US-person living outside of the US, has
to pay those taxes in the event of death (the heirs pay). Under the "US Federal Estate Tax" law, they call them "US Situs Assets", including US Equities, US Bonds and US Investment Funds. My bank made me aware that, having
holdings exceeding 60'000 USD in "US Situs Assets", the bank would immediately freeze my portfolios in the event of my death. However, the bank made me aware, that this rule is based on the place of residency. And every country
has a different "contract" with the US. Being an official resident of Thailand now (also in the books of my Swiss bank), my question is, what is the maximum amount in "US Situs Assets" a non-US person residing in Thailand can
have, without falling under that agreement?

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: If your total worldwide estate is worth less than $US 1.2 million at the time of your death, you most likely will not face the U.S. estate tax on most assets that would normally be considered U.S. situs property. You will, however, still be taxed on U.S. real estate.

If you leave your U.S. assets to your spouse, you'll be entitled to a tax credit. Finally, you may be eligible for foreign tax credit, that is the US Estate taxes can be used to reduce your Thai tax bill in the year of death. Thailand does have a tax treaty with the US and the withholding tax on investment income is 15%. However, this does not cover assets in your Swiss bank. I would suggest contacting them directly regarding those assets. This American Chamber document
may be of some use.

: I am being accused of slander by a Thai national. Skipping the details – albeit both in my country and Thailand having multiple husbands is illegal – the person involved is using the legal system to their advantage as in Thailand slander is deemed a criminal offence. Next month I've been told by the local police I'll probably have to go to court and post bail. I've not been charged or detained in anyway and to date have been free to travel in and out of Thailand. Once I post bail, will this restrict my ability to return home – I work periodically when back in my home country – or will I still be allowed to travel in and out of Thailand?

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: The term in Thailand that is used is "defamation". It is a criminal offence. The procedures in a criminal defamation case are as such:

1. After the complainant has made his / her report to the police, he / she could proceed with a criminal case. The court will initially have to determine whether there is any fact or ground for the defamation. In the determination stage the judge would only question and review the statement presented by the complainant. The insulting party (and / or their witnesses) will not be allowed to join in to present their side of the statement, but the lawyer of the insulting party will be permitted and will able to question the complainant.

2. Court decision on the determining of the case.

a. Should the court decide that there is ground for defamation, the court will notify (in writing) the insulting party that he / she is accused of defamation, where he / she would then need to proceed with posting bail. Bail amount will be determined by the court and on the basis of the charges; or

b. Should the court decide that there is no ground for defamation, the court will dismiss the case.

3. Following the court decision in 2a. the accused will be schedules for the trial procedures. Initially the court may propose that both parties should resolve this dispute by the court arbitration route (compromise session(s)).

In the case if your defamation case was brought to the court's attention by an individual, you may be restricted to leave Thailand. The court could impose a restriction on your departure and if so would inform Immigration of your status. If your defamation case was brought up by the prosecutor, there is a chance that your passport would be confiscated by the prosecutor as they fear that you might jump bail.

If you have been charged with defamation it is vital that you have a lawyer represent you from the very beginning. Sunbelt Asia has very experienced lawyers who can represent you before the courts.

Over the years I have become friends with a number of people who contacted me after reading this column. I never imagined that would happen, but at the same time it's nice. I don't try to appease anyone when I put together this column and I am certainly not trying to make friends when I write it. In fact I know that the opposite can – and does – happen. Before the publishing any column I know there will be some who won't like something in it. If I really wanted this site to be a commercial success, I'd be positive about everything and write glowing, flowery reports about the bar industry, about restaurants and about those who enjoy the Bangkok lifestyle. Nah, that's not me. I prefer to report what I observe going on out there, be it positive or otherwise. Sure, I like to be positive, but sometimes that isn't always possible. I'm not the salesman type i.e. putting a positive slant on everything. I put my honest opinion out there, come what may. In recent weeks I have been accused of farang-bashing and of not supporting my fellow farang. I know that sometimes what I write cuts to the bone and I make no apologies for that. If you don't like something I have written for any reason other than I got something factually wrong, ask yourself why. Saying what I really think is the only way I know, and I have no plans to change.

Your Bangkok commentator,



nana plaza