Stickman's Weekly Column October 19th, 2014

Bangkok Bar Biz Trends, 2014



2014 has been the bar industry's toughest year. High-profile issues have caused visitor total numbers to fall and even the usually robust and resilient bar industry has taken a hit. 2014 has not just been a difficult year, but a year of change as trends emerge and Bangkok's bar biz moves in a slightly new direction.






Recruiting Difficulties

Bars have struggled to recruit new staff for a few years but the situation is now critical, threatening the very existence of some bars. Staffing is an issue that transcends industry as bars compete with restaurants, offices and even factories which offer much higher wages and much better conditions and benefits than ever before.

Bars are offering higher salaries to attract girls. These costs need to be recovered so drinks prices are going up in naughty bars even if they aren't in convenience stores and supermarkets.

Some industries use technology to make up for a staff shortage, but the bar industry doesn't have that choice. Can you imagine the look on a naughty boy's face when told that the humans can't be barfined, but blowup dolls can?

The problem is acute, and it is the #1 challenge facing the bar industry as a whole.



Club Electric Blue

Attractive Girls In Demand

With fewer ladies entering the industry, there are fewer attractive ladies generally. Genuinely attractive ladies can be taken out of the industry quick smart by a guy who makes her an offer she can't refuse, marrying her, building or buying her a house in record time. Genuinely attractive girls may last just days before they are rescued. In one case an escort was bought a 3-million baht house 3 days after meeting a young American customer who works in the Middle East.



Soi Cowboy

Bar Values Have Plummeted

Bar values are plummeting as profits tumble. It used to be that every couple of weeks I would receive an inquiry from someone keen to invest in a bar, asking for the inside scoop on bars that may be up for sale or a particularly good deal. I don't recall receiving such an inquiry this year!

Last week I had 2 bar owners ask me if I knew anyone who wanted to buy their bar, each of which I mentioned in the last column. Not one email was received expressing interest. This week another bar owner told me he wants out of the industry. I didn't ask him why, but I assume that it's the trifecta of increasing expenses, fewer girls and fewer customers.

As more bars are put up for sale (many are not actively advertised), bar values slump.



Nanapong

Thailand Nightlife Websites In Decline

Many Thailand nightlife centric-sites have seen a drop in web traffic. Some such sites have disappeared altogether. There are various reasons, but there's just not the interest in the industry there once was.

Less website traffic means advertisers get less exposure and they may discontinue their ad if they feel they are not getting a decent return. In turn, webmasters may decide it's no longer worthwhile operating the site. Across Thailand nightlife-centric websites there are fewer posts and a widespread feeling of a general diminishing in quality. I don't think any Thailand nightlife website is exempt.

The golden age of naughty boy websites was long ago.



Privacy And Photography

The girls are even more concerned about their privacy these days and photography has become more difficult in and around the bar areas. Two weeks ago a photo shoot was arranged in a bar with 40 dancers. Only 5 were willing to be shot. A shoot in another bar was abandoned after only 3 ladies were willing to appear before the camera.

Will the day come when a ban is put in place on photography in the bar areas? Cameras in bars are almost looked at like a loaded weapon.



PlaySkool

Just some of the lovely coyote dancers at PlaySkool, Nana Plaza.

Coyotes Soon To Outnumber Gogo Dancers

Coyote girls were brought in to the industry to supplement the number of dancers in bars, but today there are bars with more coyote dancers than gogo dancers.

Most girls don't want to dance naked nor do they want to go with customers. When they can dance in shorts and a top, flirt with customers and take home over 30,000 baht a month, why would they want to do anything more?

If things continue on this path coyote dancers will outnumber gogo dancers industry-wide.



bargirl tattoo

More Hardcore

In the past many ladies who worked in the industry were sweet, friendly and weren't what I call girls with problems. Sure, they needed money, often so they could support children or family. They were doing a very difficult job for all the right reasons. That was a time when Thailand was much poorer and some struggled to make ends meet with the jobs available to them.

Today there is work for anyone who wants it, decent paying work. Those who shirk decent-paying opportunities to enter the world's oldest profession are often those who cannot hold down a job, those with poor discipline along with some really hardcore ladies with addictions or even mental issues. Some are hardcore, some are girls with problems and some are just plain trouble. Sure, the bar industry still catches some sweet ladies, but many today are scary.



Underground coyote dancers

Prices Increasing

Drinks prices are on the up. It'll set you back 200 baht for a standard drink in The Arab's bars, 180 baht in Bacarra and some top shelf drinks will cost you 175 baht in Nana Plaza.

With many bars struggling due to high rents and fewer customers, the bar business model is broken. Bar owners could lower prices in the hope of stimulating greater demand but I don't know a single bar boss who thinks that will work. Everything points towards increasing prices. Drink and barfine prices have to go up – and not just a few baht, but a significant increase.

In 2001 prices broke the 100 baht barrier and jumped from 90 baht to 110 baht. It was explained that the jump to 110 was because 100 baht drinks meant change would be given as 100 baht notes which was not convenient went it came to tipping. How much further will prices have to go up?



Bangkok escort

Bonnie, a lovely escort exclusive to BangkokEscort.com.

Escort Services Increasing In Number And Booming

One sector of the industry booming is escort services. Each and every month new agencies come online and these days more than half of all advertising inquiries come from escort sites.

Escorting is a decent option for girls who want to make big money but who aren't comfortable dancing in a bikini.

Some bars have already branched out in to escorting and a number are in the process of setting up their own escort websites, which may or may not be branded with the name of the bar.



fetish bar Bangkok

For the gentleman who craves something a little different, try Bar Bar in Patpong soi 2.

Fetish Houses Thriving

Niche bars are booming. Who would think a venue which charges 900 baht for the first drink would thrive, yet that is exactly what is happening at Bar Bar and Demonia, Bangkok's two fetish houses.

Don't be surprised to see more fetish venues open up. The demand is there although it's is VERY difficult to recruit as most girls just don't get it.



Darkside

Ladyboy Bars Booming

Ladyboy bars are also very popular and very profitable.

Those complaining about all of the ladyboy bars in Nana Plaza don't realise that Rainbow 4 aside, it is the ladyboy bars that are the most profitable bars in the plaza. Bar groups with girly bars and ladyboy bars all report that it is their ladyboy bars that do the best. Some bar bosses also say that ladyboys are easier to manage.

If I had one piece of advice for a would-be bar owner, it would be to open a ladyboy bar! That's where the money is. Look at it as a business and not as your own private bar and the theme of the bar just doesn't matter.



Soi Cowboy at night

The Industry Will Survive

Well-to-do Thais have never been comfortable with the foreign sector of the bar industry and its stain on the country's reputation. There is a growing discontent amongst the new middle class who are tarred with the bargirl brush for no other reasons than they are Thai, female and attractive. But with all this said, the authorities don't appear to have any appetite for cracking down on the industry. It's almost as if anything to do with tourism, be it positive or otherwise, is being left alone. Counterfeit goods for sale at markets popular with tourists nationwide and the Full Moon Party where drugs are widely available are two examples where the authorities turn a blind eye as they know these are great lures for foreign visitors. Instead the authorities seem to be taking a pragmatic view with visitor safety the priority.

The naughty nightlife industry is changing and the influence of technology on the industry is greater than ever. The industry will certainly survive, and may even thrive. It does seem to be moving in a new direction.





Where was this photo taken?

Bangkok


Last week's photo was taken of Central Chidlom and if you had said Cen-tun Chidlom – the way many Thais pronounce Central – I would have said that was right too!


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 – Where to find the best service.

That's probably the hardest-hitting critique of the hugely over-rated Thai "hospitality" industry that I have ever seen. A BJ bar customer gets more civility and politesse than your average foodie, so I've heard 😉

If you want to be taken seriously…

It is so important for a city that wants to be internationally recognised to meet an international standard of service. Not perfect, mind you, just an experience that gives patrons good value for their hard-earned. That includes taxis, too. That is the thing that sets Singapore apart from other South-East Asian cities. Taxi service is above board. Public transport is darn good, too. Everyone seems proud of the security, safety and efficiency of that City / State. They even speak to you about it. You pay for it but the value is most certainly there.

Tips improve service.

I have experienced all the things you mention in Bangkok restaurants and it upsets me just like it does you. Last week I was in New York and what a nice change in service experience it was. In the US service staff get paid a very low basic salary and customers are expected to tip 10 – 15% on the bill. Before I went there I found this concept a little strange that I'm expected to tip people even if they just open a bottle of beer in a bar for you but in the end I was happy to tip because the service ranged from good to excellent. Maybe if the Thai service staff was in a similar situation where they were more dependent on tips it would help them to be committed on doing a good job and offering better service but I don't have too much hope for that.

Fed up with service, use the phone.

I live in Bangkok and have had many of the same experiences you have had. Consequently, I've basically stopped going out to eat in Bangkok, unless it's a reliable place like Bourbon Street or Sunrise Tacos. Instead, I now order meals from food delivery services, such as ChefsXP, Food Panda, or Food By Phone. While these delivery services are not perfect, I find dealing with them far preferable to going out to a restaurant and being subjected to the rudeness and indifference of the wait staff, and then enduring the added insult of having to pay a 10% "service charge" for it! The food delivery services typically charge the 7% VAT but not the service charge, plus a delivery charge ranging from 80 to 120 baht (depending on where you live), which is usually cheaper than the transportation cost of going to and from the restaurant. I can even time the order so it arrives at my door soon after I come home from work.

Service in the Philippines.

Talking of service, I think it is better in the Philippines in eateries and 4 and 5 star hotels. But I remember being in Cebu and asking the waiter for the chit (in Philippines bills are called chit) and he asked if I wanted a shit!

Sex travellers and the law.

With regards to the reader that emailed about the Swedes wanting to pass laws making the purchase of sexual services while travelling the world an illegal act, a number of countries already have such laws (usually related to issues regarding sex trade, whether over- or underage). Now the funnier one is a combination of situations I find myself in. I live in a country which has the laws Sweden has proposed, but my citizenship is from a country that doesn't have the laws. The country whose name is on my passport even accepts prostitution and has it open and visibly present. This presents two interesting cases. The less funny one, and potential boring one: what happens if I were to use Soi Cowboy for more than a place to purchase beer? Whose laws do I obey? A lot funnier: if I were to go to the country that bears its name on my passport and purchase a sweaty night, could the country I reside in impose their laws on citizens of another country while they are in their own country? I'd love to see a lawyer's take on that chestnut.



Bali no better?

I get the same poor customer service in Bali, even places that charge ++. I'm surprised that you mentioned some poor service places by name and avoided outing others. I'd prefer seeing all the names. I always get satisfaction after poor food / service by leaving a review on TripAdvisor.

Motorbike dealer service.

The engine management light came on in my Yamaha Filano so I thought I was out of oil. At the first garage I asked if they could fix it. No problem! He changed the oil engine and gears. The light was still on. He charged the battery. The light was still on. He messed about with the electrics. The light was still on. Go to Yamaha was his last effort after taking 800 baht, not much in real terms. I had to push the bike over 2 miles to go to Yamaha. They say WTF are you doing with a 3v battery in this bike, it needs 6v! This was the new battery the guy had put in. I said a garage in Huay Kwang did that. They say twat! New battery goes in and they change some electrics and the bike is as good as new. They charge me 700 baht. I go back to the Huay Kwang garage. He plays I don't know you! I show him receipt and oh you I know now. I tell him about the battery and his fxxx-up. He doesn't believe me so I say phone Yamaha Huay Kwang. He does and they tell him he's a twat. I'm just a farang to him, a nobody and no respect is needed. He denies any wrongdoing. His last effort is to try and sell me a new 6v battery like the one Yamaha put in and I had paid for. No refund, no apology, nothing but a big fxxx you, farang! I think they find it hard to accept responsibility. They are never wrong and never give back money. I will never buy another thing in Thailand outside of the essentials. It seems anyone can do any job here without any qualifications which is one of the reasons things are so cheap. Everything I have bought here has either broken or failed and there has been no warranty and no interest in fixing or after service customer care unless I pay through the nose for it. I'm of the belief most goods are seconds or fakes. If only they offered better service they would win all round.

Postcard from the Philippines.

I stayed in the up market Makati in Manila in a boutique hotel and within walking distance of some major shopping malls. Armed security both outside and within is immense. At night you have to take a cab everywhere, called by the hotel, with number plate and cab ID recorded for you. The nightlife in Makati is dreadful. Small clubs on Burgos Street with only 4 – 8 ladies, complete rubbish. LA Cafe was equally dire, with a host of overweight and old freelancers. I have yet to see just what the EDSA Complex offers, but I wouldn't expect much. Angeles is largely quiet. The major problem is that there just isn't enough to do in the daytime, especially between 10 AM – 3 PM. I have no plans to return to Angeles. I am hoping that the south will offer a more interesting visual experience, but there is still a big 3rd world and old-fashioned feel to many things. I haven't felt unsafe in Angeles, but always try to be street-wise. There are many very decent, friendly and helpful people here. It is a complete free for all for smokers. As a non-smoker it feels as if you are in minority and the smokers light up anywhere and everywhere with complete abandon. Sometimes it has been so bad even in hotel open air coffee shops that I have to seek solace beside the swimming pool for breakfast or inside the air-conditioned, non-smoking hotel lounge. In the UK, smokers just go out of the pub or restaurant and smoke outside. I know that would provoke a huge reaction from the smokers lobby here!





Girl of the week

Nicole, escort exclusive with BangkokEscort.com
Nicole isn't new to the game, but is experience such a bad thing?



Bangkok escort



Bangkok escort



Bangkok escort





Things at Soi Cowboy still haven't returned to normal. The odd night has featured an eyeful but for the time being miniskirts and / or skimpy shorts are the order of the day. If you want to see a full view, head up the road to Nana.

Doing the rounds of Soi Cowboy this week it was obvious that some venues which were early adopters of coyote dancers now have more coyote dancers than gogo dancers.

Bacarra aside, Soi Cowboy seemed quiet this week On the subject of Bacarra, I'd hate to be on the top level if fire broke out. All it would take is for someone to fall over in that tiny spiral stairwell and the bar would become your grave. And don't think it won't happen – just a few months ago fire did break out in the top level of Bacarra! Fortunately it was during the day time and no-one was there.

A fire prevention demonstration took place at Nana Plaza this past Friday, and it was quite the show. Firemen demonstrated how to use fire hoses, fire extinguishers, showing the appropriate distance to stand from the fire while using these apparatus and providing lots of other potentially life-saving tips. Nana Plaza is the one bar area which seems to take safety seriously so it's kind of ironic that those who own Nana Plaza also own Bacarra!

Showtime at Angelwitch in Nana Plaza long ago became a big bore with the same old shows performed by the same bored girls. Now Angelwitch has competition with Spellbound – which is owned by the founder of Angelwitch, and managed by the former manager of Angelwitch – going head to head with Angelwitch with sexy shows performed at exactly the same time. Spellbound features 16 new shows, first performed this past Friday night and very well-received. All new sexy shows can be seen at Spellbound every night from 10 PM through until 1 AM.

PlaySkool on Nana Plaza's ground floor will host Captain Hornbag's Disco Bash next Sunday, October 26th. Doors open at 7:30 PM and if you dress to impress you could win a prize for the coolest costume. There will be free white line shots and special shows. Singha, Chang and Leo will all be just 100 baht, all night long. DJs A and Beer will spin 70s, 80s, retro and old school hits so we can relive the glory days and be reminded of how the world went to shit after the Village People broke up. The PlaySkool girls will be dressed up all funky, oldies music will be playing all night long and with the most upbeat farang bar manager in the bar biz it should be quite a night!

Playskool, Nana Plaza

The girls at PlaySkool, ground floor, Nana Plaza can't wait for Captain Hornbag's Disco Bash on Sunday, October 26th.


At Stumble Inn in Soi Nana, live music is performed from Wednesday through to Sunday just like a couple of other beer bars. But unlike other Soi 4 bars they do not hike prices when the band comes on. Stumble Inn's all-you-can-eat buffet every Friday from 6 – 9 PM is proving to be a hit and it's just 199 baht. And next Sunday, Stumble Inn will show live the match between Manchester United and Chelsea, with free pies at half time. Best of all, if you correctly predict the final score, you win a tower of Chang beer. My prediction? 2 : 2.

Marc, the manager of Jool's who had quite a following, has left. The popular English pub and restaurant on Soi Nana is looking for a new manager so if you fancy getting in to the industry, enquire within (and sorry, no, I don't have contact details so you'll have to venture along in person).

Temptations in Nana Plaza will host a party in the lead-up to the Ladyboy Volleyball Tournament to be held in Pattaya early next month. For ladyboy lovers, head to Temptations this coming Friday, October 24th, for their fundraising party and help them beat last year's contribution of 250,000 baht. The party starts at 8 PM with prize draws throughout the night. 100% of the profits will go to their chosen charity, Camillian Home, which helps children living with disabilities. It's a fantastic cause so to all you ladyboy lovers, do make the effort and help make a difference in these kids' lives.

Paradise Disco is open in the Raja Hotel car park. Formerly After Dark and before that Crossed Pistons, here's hoping it lasts longer than the last two incarnations did in that spot.

Last weekend's Nanapong dance contest was another great success. Big Andy prayed to the rain gods and they answered his call and it has barely rained in Bangkok since. And Big Andy said that he thought Apple had commandeered his bar to launch the IPhone 6 in Thailand because at 6:45 PM punters were waiting outside for the bar to open, an indication of just how anticipated the night was. The eventual winner was the lovely Nan, a long-time employee of Club Electric Blue who really gave it her all. I don't think I have ever seen anyone so deserving of first prize. She may have a fair few years in the industry, but what a lovely girl she is. The next Nanapong dance contest will be held at Dollhouse in Soi Cowboy on Sunday, November 30th. Darel is renovating the Dollhouse especially for this event and says that night the chrome poles are going to be even shinier than his dome!



Nanapong

Nan, winner of last weekend's Nanapong dance contest.





Private Dancer A Gogo In Pattaya will celebrate its second anniversary next Saturday, October 25th. Pop by and celebrate with popular bar manager, Ricky.

If you have a number of Thailand entry stamps in your passport, do consider applying for a tourist visa before you fly in to the country next rather than relying on being issued a visa waiver stamp at the airport – even if your last visit to the kingdom was many months ago. Reports have been popping up online from regular visitors who have been stopped at Immigration at the airport due to a history of travel to Thailand. It should be noted that these reports are not from visa runners per se, but simply from people with a history of travel to Thailand. In each case the person is taken away to a small office, described by some as a cubicle, where they are told that their travel history to Thailand is suspicious. Some are accused of being visa runners – when they may not even know what the term means! They are then told that due to their suspicious history of visiting Thailand regularly they may not be allowed to enter the country. After negotiation they are allowed to pass Immigration and enter the country proper. Reports have appeared on various forums and websites including ThaiVisa and Pattaya Addicts. Dave The Rave has also been told by fans of his who have experienced this. I don't wish to sound alarmist in suggesting you apply for a visa which may be totally unnecessary, but the best way to avoid being stopped and questioned at the airport is to apply for a tourist visa at a Thai embassy or consulate abroad before you travel to Thailand.

It's one thing taking a lady of the night back to your hotel room, but for those resident in Thailand it's altogether another thing taking a lady back to your apartment / condo. Your reputation in the building will become mud and you are opening yourself up to all sorts of possible issues. More than a few ladies of the night use illegal drugs and some may have drugs on their person – so just being with them if they are stopped at a police checkpoint could see you caught up in a nasty situation. Thievery is also a problem – not that common admittedly – but it does happen. And some of these girls suffer from mental illnesses so if there is any sort of disagreement things might escalate and it might become difficult to resolve. You ratchet the danger level up if you met her in a freelancer bar or on the street. No doubt some will say they have taken many girls back to their place over the years and never had an issue, but is it worth the risk? Some scoff at the idea of using a short-time room but for naughty boys, short-time hotels provide a layer of safety. I shake my head in wonderment when I hear guys saying they won't pay 300 baht for a short-time hotel and instead take the girl back to their place.



The feature article on Mama Noi, the mamasan at Checkinn99 who originally started work there on her 20th birthday in 1960 when the bar was called the Copacabana, was one of the most popular ever columns. Now 74 years old, Mama Noi is slowing down and preparing for retirement. In advance of that, Checkinn99 is hosting a Tribute Night for her this coming Tuesday, October 21st, from 8 PM. During the Vietnam War, Mama Noi rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest names of the day, entertainment greats including Bob Hope. I expect this night will be busy and seats can be reserved online at Checkinn99bkk. With her legendary looks and progressive style, Mama Noi became sought after by the who's who of international and local celebrities, particularly during the Vietnam war period. Mama Noi has lived her life to the full and been loved by many, breaking as many hearts as she has made lifelong friends. A slide show of old Bangkok photos and clips will be shown. Dress will be black tie, evening dress or whatever you feel comfortable in. Please note that ticket prices are optional for those who wish to make a donation to Mama Noi's retirement fund. Gold and silver tickets will be sold as a way to contribute to Mama Noi's retirement fund. A limited number of platinum tickets will be available for those wishing to make an extra special donation. Old friends and long-term customers will be present to celebrate.

Still at Checkinn99, a swing dance fun event will be held on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th. From 8 PM the classic old venue will host two evenings of '40s and '50s hits dance and songs in tribute to the Andrews Sisters & Glen Miller. It is the 70th anniversary of the Glen Miller Band and what better way to celebrate than with the combined bands of Music of the Heart and B2F on tour from the Netherlands. All in all, a 13-piece swing band. It will be a night of nostalgia, fun and entertainment. Rum and Coke will be plentiful to help get you in the mood and there will be a complimentary welcome drink for those coming dressed for the period. Tickets are 500 baht and can be booked online at Checkinn99bkk.



Sukhumvit Road is now largely free of street vendors, at least the busy section between Nana and Asoke. Vendors cannot sell on the sidewalks although some are perching against shophouses and selling their merchandise from there. Those vendors who set up on the edge of the pavement right next to the road can no longer operate from that spot. It is now so much easier to walk stroll along the most interesting section of the city's most colourful road.


Milan Suit

About a dozen shophouse frontages between Sukhumvit soi 14 and the Asoke intersection look like this.

Long-time readers know graffiti is a pet hate of mine, and I hate to say that it's getting worse. The shutters that are pulled down late at night over the shophouse entrances around Sukhumvit soi 14 have been hit hard and he area has a gangland look. I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that the future of the block from soi 14 to Rachada is very much up in the air.

I've never been to Turkey but the Turkish ice-cream showmen have become an attraction in their own right on Pattaya's Walking Street the past few years. Sukhumvit soi 4 is late to the party with a Turkish ice-cream man now doing his thing in Dubai restaurant. It shows how much Soi Nana is changing when one reader described him as the best recent addition to Soi Nana!

Users of escort sites aren't shy in saying how much they dislike the practice of escort agencies using Photoshop to enhance photos of the ladies. They feel such photos are not a fair representation of how the lady looks in real life. As someone who enjoys street photography, the style of photography practiced by photojournalists, I am loathe to heavily edit photos, save for basic stuff like colour correction and sharpening. I have to admit that reader feedback to the girl of the week photos has previously, with a few exceptions, been lukewarm. I have often responded saying that the ladies look better in person. Recently I have changed the way I process the girl of the week photos, as much an exercise in editing photos for me as anything. And the result? An increase in emails telling me how great the girl looks! So maybe now you understand why escort services use Photoshop to enhance images of the ladies! Pretty much every photo published in newspapers and magazines is Photoshopped these days so it's not like the escort sites are doing something sneaky that no-one else is doing!



Temptations fundraiser



Private Dancer A Gogo



Mama Noi



CheckInn99






Quote of the week, "You know you're in Bangkok when you never look back at a pretty girl; you look forward to the next one."

Reader's story of the week is "How I Discovered Your Site".

Three Thais are caught in Cambodia with the largest stash of counterfeit dollar bills found in South-East Asia in a decade.

The British envoy meets Thailand police over the investigation in to the deaths of the English backpackers on Ko Tao.

A Thai bank refuses to reimburse a man for funds stolen from his account by a friend.

Thailand's elite police department has been urged to act against foreign scammers who prey on Thai women.

A corrupt official registered fake marriages between Thais and foreigners to allow the foreigners to remain in Thailand.

The Thai Prime Minister has given the green light to British police to assist in the UK backpacker murder investigation.





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: My 30-year old condo building has not had an Annual General Meeting or posted any accounts in the 7 years I have been here. The "owner" claimed to have 300 – 400 of the 600 units (but no proof was produced) and could outvote the 100 or so of legitimate owners. Most units are empty and undeveloped and undoubtedly have unpaid condo fees. Services are practically non-existent. Some co-owners have won lawsuits against him and the "company" that supposedly ran the ~300 units has gone bankrupt. We (40 co-owners) checked with the Land Office and found no units with his name on them. Casinos in the common areas have been raided by the Police. The staff are clueless, yet they often rent out rooms that do not seem to have owners. We have called him to City Hall where they ruled in his favor. Numerous local law firms were ineffective, although costly. Not an uncommon issue, this is a central condo in Pattaya with lots of potential otherwise. Is there no way to enforce the condominium laws requiring posting of books and running legitimate general meetings?

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisers responds: Every condominium will have a set of bylaws that are used to regulate this kind of situation. You need to check your condo's bylaws to review what the regulations are for calling meetings, the voting rights of each owner, the responsibilities of the manager and juristic management. Depending on how these bylaws are laid out, you may have the right to call a meeting or to organise tenants to call a meeting. However, for the Land Office to recognise the results of that meeting it must be legal and follow the bylaws of the condominium. Please be aware of the following points under the Condominium Act:
Section 42/1 The Board shall arrange to have the Ordinary General Meeting convened once a year within one hundred and twenty days from the date ending the accounting year of the condominium corporate to undertake the following businesses:

(1) Considering for approval the balance sheet,
(2) Considering the annual report,
(3) Appointing an auditor,
(4) Considering other matters.

Section 42/2 In the case of necessity, the following persons shall have the right to summon an Extraordinary General Meeting whenever required:

(1) The Manager,
(2) The Committee by its resolution exceeding a half of the Board Meeting,
(3) Joint owners of not less than twenty percent (20%) of the total votes of the joint owners signing to make a letter requesting the Meeting to be convened for submission to the Board. In this case, the Board shall arrange to have the Meeting convened within fifteen days from the date of receiving such request. Should the Board fail to have the Meeting convened within such prescribed time, the joint owners of the aforementioned number shall have the right to arrange to have such Extraordinary General Meeting convened by themselves by appointing a person from them to be their representative in issuing letters of summoning to attend the Meeting.







Club Electric Blue


Hot on the heels of the rejuvenated Nanapong dance contests, it's great to see more bars hosting parties, events, introducing happy hours and generally giving punters a reason to venture out. I am always delighted to promote any special events in the bar industry so do let me know if your venue has something special planned. If at all possible, try and let me know before the Sunday I publish the column. I like to have the column largely ready to go come the weekend and prefer not to have to edit it on Sunday, if it can be helped. This morning I woke up to a bunch of emails from bar managers with news of events, posters and what not, all of which had to be edited for inclusion. I then had to start juggling things around and the order of news and views got thrown around like clothes in a washing machine. With all of this in mind, I hope this week's column was not disjointed.



Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick


Firehouse