Stickman's Weekly Column May 31st, 2015

Paying Their Dues




Disorientated, bruised and bloody, he hauled himself to the start of Walking Street where he would explain to a foreign policeman what had happened. He'd been in a popular gogo bar when things kicked off and he ended up being beaten up by the security staff. So much for it being a happy place. He wanted charges pressed, and the perpetrators arrested. As soon as the foreign policeman heard the name of the bar he knew it was going to be awkward. He tried to subtly explain that making an official complaint against that bar wouldn't achieve anything. What he couldn't come out and say was that like all gogo bars it contributed to the local law enforcement benevolent fund. In disputes with customers the bar and its staff were as close to protected as you can get without wearing a suit of armour.





Everyone knows that bars in the red light areas pay the authorities, but it's a topic you don't hear much about. How does it work? What do the bars get for the money and just how much do they pay?

Many bars flirt with the law and what goes on inside many establishments is hardly legal. Thailand may be famous for its gogo bars but no, naked dancing is not allowed. Rooms on the premises that can be hired for a tryst are also very much a no-no. The employment of foreign nationals without a blue book breaches labour laws. Bars are not supposed to operate beyond 1 AM….and on and on it goes. Much of this is overlooked, however, so long as a monthly contribution is made to the right people.

The amount each bar pays is amongst the most guarded secrets in the industry. Some bar bosses happily volunteer that they employ girls not yet of legal age – and some will tell you that every one of them spent time on the casting couch – but few reveal anything about the donations they make. Spend enough time around bar bosses and eventually the details leak.

And if you're really sneaky, when you meet with bar bosses in their office to talk advertising and they open up Excel and point to the bottom line, put on a grave face, put their hand on the forehead and shake their head, telling you how bad things are and how they cannot possibly afford 6,000 baht a month for an advert, your eyes aren't looking at the bottom line or the face they're pulling, but further up the spreadsheet where it says police or security or in the case of one operator, black money.

I'd love to be a fly on the wall at that first meeting, when the details regarding security are thrashed out. I imagine it's all very indirect – as the Thais tend to be when it comes to such things – even if they are the norm. I can just see the scene as Sergeant Somchai or some other mid-ranking cop out of uniform but still so obviously a cop – the haircut, the shiny black shoes and the arrogant swagger are all a giveaway – would approach the new bar and seek out the most senior Thai member of staff. They'd take them outside away from the premises and the conversation would go something like this. “Big boss he say this year monsoon season have big rain. He say Bangkok have flood big this year. Not good for bar you! But he have large umbrella and he can help you dry not flood. Boss me he say price for big umbrella protect you from big rain xxxxx baht per month.” The opening gambit would be a ridiculous amount some 2, 3 or even 4 times more than others pay. Mugs new to the industry agree and find it can never be lowered.

So how is the money paid? Do they set up a direct debit from their account each month? You might be surprised…

Someone pops by the bar around the arranged time on the arranged date each month and collects an envelope. It might have a nickname on it or it might have a code word.

What happens if the bar chooses not to pay, or does not have the money to pay, or wishes to renegotiate the deal? Can a bar boss simply say, “I have all the business licenses, a registered company, a work permit and I am running a legal business so I don't need to pay”, or “This is extortion, I'm going to your boss!” If only it were that easy!

The bars are in breach of all sorts of laws. A bar which fails to pay would have problems within days. A visit by men in uniform will discover some infraction, and the bar will either be closed or threatened with closure in what is all very much a show of power. If you don't pay, you don't operate!

Many so-called random bar busts can be traced back to a failure to cough up the tea money. Bars know you can't fight the system.

What about Thai-owned bars? Do they pay? I don't have the answer as I've never been close to a Thai bar owner so I just don't know. Some Thai bars have the backing of genuine heavy hitters – it's widely known certain bars are owned and / or operated by senior police or politicians – and therefore off limits.

So how much is paid?

An advert for a Nana Plaza bar listed for sale recently disclosed remarkably open accounts. The cost of security was listed as 45,000 baht per month. Given that the bar doesn't employ a single security guard it's obvious where that money goes.

Word from other Bangkok chrome pole bar bosses over the years indicate that that number is certainly in the ballpark.

So do all bars pay the same? Not at all – and the variations can be wide.

In Bangkok's oldest bar area, one operator pays a bit under 60,000 baht per month while a neighbouring bar of similar size which does better business pays a small fraction of that. Each is foreign-owned and presumably the level of their contributions go back to the original negotiation. The amount paid is not based on the bar's size nor how much money it makes, rather it is determined by the owner or their representative's negotiation skills.

In Bangkok it seems to be that a fee is paid to one crowd and that is it, whereas in Pattaya one bar owner once revealed to me that his bars made various payments to various different branches of the local authorities and they also contributed to Bangkok. I was told that the rule of thumb in Pattaya was that smaller and medium-sized venues paid out the average of one night's take per month in donations. In the past – and I am going back a number of years – a Pattaya gogo bar which turned over in excess of a million baht a month was paying almost 40,000 baht per month total made up of several payments of around 5,000 or 6,000 baht per month.

But paying tea money does not guarantee you carte blanche freedom to do as you please.

Lone Star in Nana Plaza was busted two years ago with a troop of underage dancers, which was hardly unusual in Nana at that time. The notorious owner of The Nana Group, the late “G”, boasted about how much he used to pay and even named those who benefited from his generosity and their rank / position (maybe that's why he's dead!?). As big a contributor as he was, it wasn't enough to stave off the authorities. Lone Star was visited by dozens of cops one night, accompanied by a television crew who had been tipped off in advance about the raid. “G” was said to be paying more than anyone, but he took things too far. There are limits.

G's crew also ran Nana Liquid and like all late night venues, by its very definition it operated illegally. As such, significant contributions were made so it could stay open without hassle. That is the reason drinks are so expensive in late-night bars – even when the venue is a dive.

A large disco / freelancer on Sukhumvit Road which didn't get going until well after midnight, stayed open until just before the sun came up making it popular with those who can't sleep, paid 100,000 baht a night to allow it to operate. It sounds like an awful lot of money but when you look at the business model, it's quite viable. With a 300 baht entry fee, just 333 customers are needed to cover the daily donation. With drinks running 200+ baht, plenty was taken inside for the bar to be a commercial success.

What a bar owner's money allows them to do in one bar area may not be the same as competitors get in another bar area – and for bar bosses making regular and not insignificant contributions this is a bone of contention. A raid in Nana Plaza a couple of years ago found underage girls in some bars. All bars in the plaza were warned that charges would follow if any bars were found to have girls not of legal age or foreign nationals working. The manager, the licence holder and the owner would all be charged with human trafficking. The underage walked a kilometre down the street and ended up being housed in a bar which operates in a crazy way.

Just how much do the cops know about exactly what is going on in the bars? Are they really aware of everything that goes on?

In Nana Plaza, the mamasan in one ground floor bar is the wife of a cop at the local cop shop. Some bars use cops as security. There are often cops lingering around the bar areas out of uniform who are known to those who operate businesses in the area. In other words, the cops know almost everything going on (so if you try things on without paying, you're going to be found out!).

The money paid by bar bosses is like a cable TV subscription – the monthly plan fee covers the standard service but you can pay a supplementary charge for extra services. There was a time bars in one Bangkok expat bar area paid an extra 8,000 baht to open on a public holiday.

Making donations is the norm across all industries in Thailand, right? Actually, no, it isn't – and that is one of the most widely misunderstood things about doing business in Thailand. If you're not doing anything illegal, there is no need to pay.

Paying doesn't just mean the bar can take liberties with little fear of facing consequences, it also means that in the case of any problems or dispute that the authorities will usually side with them. So the next time you get in trouble in a bar, or merely have a dispute in a bar, think carefully about how you handle it. Insisting that the cops are called may not be such a great idea because even if you're in the right, you may be told you're in the wrong!



Where was this photo taken?


Bangkok


Last week's photo was the sub soi off Sukhumvit Road between Soi 12 & Soi 14 which leads down to Players pool bar.


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 Fah out!

Fah is a talented gogo dancer at Sugar Sugar in Soi LK Metro, Pattaya. Small and compact, with a blizzard of tatts on her lithe brown body, she is a bundle of fun who knows everything about scoring lady drinks off customers. She is also feisty and does not take shit from anyone. This particular evening a muscular young jack-the-lad strolled in with his three English mates. Whilst his pals sat with their drinks watching the show, he thought he'd have some fun with the girls. Walking around the dance stand, he reached up and grabbed one girl by the thighs and planted a kiss on her bare backside. Then he did the same to the next girl as she faced away from him. Full of himself, he clearly did not know how to play the game here in Sin City by the Sea. You can get away with this kind of thing in gogo bars provided you tip the girls afterwards: the usual procedure is to slip each lass a rolled-up 100 baht note into her g-string, and all will be well. This keeneow did no such thing. He was different. Young and handsome, the girls surely loved him touching them up. Try this on women anywhere in the west, and you would be charged with sexual assault; but this is Thailand, right? The girls up there in their skimpy outfits are just dying to be pawed over, especially by a handsome, muscular young fella. He caught Fah and snogged her curvy bottom before moving on. She smirked to herself, and let have him have that one for free. But when he came back down the line she was ready for him. She tempted him by throwing out her left leg, which he grabbed and started to kiss from ankle to crotch. Whilst he was doing this she took a higher grip of her chrome pole with both hands, and then swung her right leg towards him – hard. Her high-heeled shoe caught him on the left side of his head with a sharp crack, and he went down like a sack of wheat. Applause all round from most of the watching customers, serving wenches and other girls. As the lad lay on the floor rubbing his head ruefully, one of his mates shouted, “You deserved that, you silly tosser!” Indeed.

It's time to go.

Just to verify your sanity, I too am packing it up and heading home, back to the States after 15 years. I have been in the far north and still find it an attractive place but with 2 kids, their education has to take precedence. A Thai education will get you a job in Thailand whereas with a US education, you can work anywhere in the world. I can relate to many of the things you mention, for example still not being accepted even though I speak very good Thai. But I also think it is also an age thing as other things in life have become more important than what initially kept me excited about living here. I don't think I will regret my decision either but who knows, maybe we will meet up in Bangkok in 3 years, drink a beer and complain about how terrible our home culture is.

Happy in Switzerland.

So you left? Really? Since I left Thailand, I am quite happy back in Switzerland. If we have trouble, it's always from Thailand (the family of my wife). She is annoyed by them as well and does not want to go back. Actually I would love to live in Thailand, but Immigration and the attitude of the Thais (we are Thais and you are not) are unbearable. If it was not for the easy sex, no-one would live there.





Right place, right time.

The timing of age and era I think was critical in you enjoying Thailand as you did, when you did. When I first arrived in 1999, I had a strong suspicion the advent of available and inexpensive internet would change much. Some of us were perfectly capable of visiting a country and feeling our way around and learning and growing. Most others need the assurance of “knowing” what it will be like, where to go, where to stay etc. I figured that this would result in an entirely new type of tourist, but who could have predicted the losers we see now? Granted even the old guys could enjoy 1999 – 2004 Thailand, but that style of P4P and living in bars wasn't for me and I suspect not for you either. But at 40 for me, and what, 30 odd for you, our choices were virtually unlimited. P4P if we wanted, but there was no need if we wanted to date or just pick up the first cute face we saw. The information age reached Thailand and we all know information is power. The women went from a severe disadvantage to what is arguably a strong advantage over us. Now they know there are legions of available men and act accordingly. Astute expats quickly picked up there was a subset of girls that weren't online looking for a western guy and if one was already in Thailand and had their act together they were fair game. That was the girls. In 1999, farang sightings were still fairly rare. We were special. But it seems like every month we had to go further out until by 2010 I'd have to travel to places off the beaten path, far out and beyond the major highways. I'd pick a town, and hope no farang had screwed things up for us. Heck, I was crossing borders just to get that old reception we once had inside Thailand. That's when it was time to go.

Why ban gambling?

Your mention of the police raid on people playing online poker got me reflecting on why Thailand, alone among many of its neighbours, bans gambling. The official line is that so many Thais would lose everything if they were allowed to gamble. That is a terrible condemnation of Thais by Thais, accusing them of lacking self-control while its neighbours are smarter and can be relied upon to be more responsible. Those who really want to gamble and lose everything still find a way to do so through the illegal gambling dens. And who is often said to be behind those illegal dens? People in authority, who certainly would not like to lose the billions of baht generated. And who makes the laws ensuring that legal casinos can't be set up and eat into their profits? Yep! The illegal casino owners.

Where's the footpath?

I was staying near the Soi Buakhao / Soi Diana intersection for 3 days and was quite perturbed by the traffic situation, even in low season. It isn't just the traffic that is the problem but the fact that the area is so built up yet there isn't a footpath in sight. The risk of being hit is pretty high, in fact I very nearly got taken out by a motorcycle taxi. That was a wakeup call and you realise how fraught with risk even just walking to 7 Eleven can be.

The challenges of learning Thai.

I completely agree about your point of Thais seemingly not trying to understand a foreigner when he / she tries to speak Thai. With Thai friends, I tell them that if I didn't insist on being a better Thai speaker, I might give up trying because it is too frustrating when they don't seem to be more helpful and try to understand my poor Thai.



Girl of the week

New, 19, Club Electric Blue
From Isaan, she is described as cute and friendly.



Bangkok gogo bar dancer Bangkok gogo bar dancer



Photos provided by Club Electric Blue.





Tomorrow, Monday June 1st, is a Buddhist day, Visakha Bucha Day. Of the many public holidays on the Thai calendar, it is the Buddhist days when the bars are least likely to open. Word is that Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy will be closed while bars in Patpong will open. Why is it that Patpong is allowed to open on days like this when other areas cannot? Does it relate to today's opening article? I think it more likely that Patpong is now considered something of a mainstream tourist attraction and as such it gets a dispensation.

Spellbound has taken on a bunch of gogo dancers as it seeks to replace those girls who fell out with the new owner and left. I hear the bar is also looking for a cashier and a mamasan.

Demonia in Sukhumvit soi 33 is Bangkok's other fetish bar, perhaps not quite as well-known as Bar Bar in Patpong which is novel because it opened its doors almost 3 years before Bar Bar. If you've never tried fetish and wonder what all the fuss is about, Demonia will celebrate its 12th anniversary this coming Friday and Saturday, June 5th and 6th. Demonia anniversary party nights are never dull. A slave body buffet will be held, which I think means food is eaten off the body of a lovely lady.

There are perhaps a handful of bars in Pattaya where things get wild and what goes on in would never be seen in a Bangkok gogo bar, Nanapong dance contests aside. This week a customer said to the manager of one of these wild Pattaya bars that he thought it was the best bar he'd ever been in. "One of your girls did things to me in the bar that I have never had done by a girl to me in the bedroom!" This reiterates what I have long said – if you want to have a wild time, head to Pattaya.

Oscar in Soi LK Metro has thrown in the towel with Friday night the last night. A couple of years back it was a happening bar – some said one of the better bars in Sin City – but this is a fickle industry and things change fast.

The reason why some bars rip customers off is inexplicable, especially so when it happens to be the most successful brand name in the industry. Bacarra in Soi Cowboy turns over an estimated 15 – 20 million baht per month, and is one of only a handful of gogo bars nationwide with a monthly turnover exceeding 10 million baht per month. Anyway, a good friend was in Bacarra this week and a bar maiden sits with a fellow in his party. A lady drink is offered to a maiden showing them some attention. A "Tequila" comes which is actually sugar water. So he complains that the drink is not what it should be and next she orders vodka. Sugar water is delivered again. Shame on you, Bacarra!

Every Sunday at 4 PM Blue Lagoon hosts a weekly bikini and rock & roll party. There's a free buffet and free entry making it one of the best Sunday deals in Sin City. A dozen gogo girls are barfined from around town, taken to Blue Lagoon where they drink and some even swim with customers in the venue's pool. A farang band plays live rock, a rarity in Pattaya these days – I am told that this is one of only two bars in Pattaya where farang musicians play regularly. Blue Lagoon can be found in The Village, opposite the fire station on 3rd Road.



Blue Lagoon Pattaya

Photo supplied by Blue Lagoon.



How long have some Pattaya gogo bars had a variable barfine rate which depends on whether you wish to take the lady short time or long time? These days, in some bars you have a short-time barfine rate which is the "standard" rate and a long-time barfine rate – which runs a few hundred baht more. What happens in the scenario whereby you take a lady from the bar short-time but the two of you agree that you'd like her to stay long time? Will she be penalised if she does not return to the bar that night? For that matter, will she be penalised if she doesn't return within a specified period of time? There was once an illusion that barfining a lady was not that different to picking up a lady in a bar, but has all but disappeared, especially when you consider that some Pattaya gogo bars now charge up to 3,000 baht barfines (not a misprint, three thousand baht).

Saa, the manager of Spanky's in Nana Plaza for the last 6 years, has been sent down to the Pattaya branch of Spanky's in Soi Diamond. Spanky's in Nana Plaza runs like a Swiss watch and the owner is keen to get the Pattaya branch running as smoothly. If you find yourself in Spanky's in Pattaya, say hello to Saa – that is if she doesn't say hello to you first.

Thai women standing outside bars trying to entice or drag passersby inside don't win a lot of plaudits – but it's a lot better than the Russian bars in Pattaya which now have muscled up Russian guys outside inviting passersby inside. I hate to generalise but when I think of Russians and red light areas I don't get a warm fuzzy feeling.

Most of the umbrellas and jet skis have been cleared from the beach in Pattaya, just as they were in Phuket. Word is that it makes the beach look much better than it did – but I do wonder how long you could spend on the beach in the heat of the hot season without an umbrella!

Are mamasans increasingly putting their own interests before the girl, the customer and even the bar? In some bars there are mamasans who control a pack of girls in the bar – and control is the right word. They control the negotiation of the girl's rate with any customers who wish to barfine one of their girls. They pitch the customer a fee at the higher end of the accepted scale, with 2,500 asked for short-time and between and 4,000 and 5,000 baht for long-time. The mamasan will make out that the fee is fixed by all girls in the bar and absolutely not negotiable. Remember, almost everything is negotiable in Asia! They will insist that the girl's fee MUST be paid in full upfront when the barfine is paid i.e. before the girl leaves the bar. In a lot of cases the mamasan plays on the local culture where those who are older are automatically respected. Add to that the many cases where it was the mamasan who got the girl the job in the first place and many a girl feels a sense of obligation towards them. These girls are bullied by the mamasan and feel they cannot do anything about it. However, being pragmatic, the fee the mamasan negotiates is usually higher than she would usually get – and given that it's paid in advance means the very slight chance that a guy might do a runner won't happen. When the mamasan closes the deal she usually gets a 500 baht commission – and in the case of long-time this might be 1,000 baht. Given that some of these mamasans control a dozen or more girls in a bar and that some girls are barfined more than once a night, this can be quite the earner! Mamasans clipping the ticket is nothing new but is more common in some bars and these mamasans must feel like they have discovered the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.






One of the big changes I notice in New Zealand after being away for so long is the prevalence of tattoos in mainstream society. Hardly anyone as blinks at those who are tatted up, even if their markings are on parts of the body you don't expect to see them or tatts which could reasonably be described as anti-social. Tattoos seem to be especially popular amongst those from their late teens to mid 30s. What is interesting is that this is the age group which predominately takes up teaching positions in Asia. I wonder how they are received by employers in Thailand? At the last school I worked was a fantastic Canadian teacher who happened to have tats on his forearms which had long gone fuzzy – which was probably a good thing for I got the impression they might have been of the sort things that would make students blush and the Thai teachers cringe! So how do foreign teachers with visible tats get on in Thailand these days? Is it a barrier to employment? Are they becoming accepted? Honestly, I have no idea, but given how conservative many senior Thai teachers are (and, remember, most teachers in Thailand are female), I am sure visible tats on foreign faculty would not go down well with many of the old biddies.

I was saddened to hear that the lively street food scene on Sukhumvit soi 38 – perhaps the best known street food in Bangkok amongst expats – will disappear to make way for yet another condo development. While admittedly I went off street food long ago, Sukhumvit 38 was walking distance from home and I must have eaten there a dozen times in the last year. There was always a nice vibe and it made for a quick and inexpensive dinner option. Bangkok is developing rapidly and downtown is becoming more modern and more, well, international. The street food scene on soi 38 was a big part of the sort of thing that drew me to Bangkok in the first place and as places like this disappear Bangkok becomes more and more like many other big Asian metropolises. If you've never been to the food stalls on Sukhumvit soi 38, you've still got time. Take the skytrain to Thonglor and exit #4 drops you right by the start of soi 38. It's worth going out of your way for.



Bangkok fetish








Quote of the week comes from the friend of a reader who has long become numb to the anguished self pity of a Thai girl spurned, "It's the public wrist slashing and plate throwing in the lobby downstairs that breaks most of us down. I take the Israeli approach and simply refuse to negotiate with terrorists, whatever the cost."

Reader's story of the week comes from Hermites, "When the Condom Breaks, the Truth Leaks Out Part 1".

An Aussie couple buy an island in Cambodia for just $15,000 and it changes their life.

A report shows there are 4 streets in Bangkok where taxis are more likely to refuse to accept passengers.

Police uphold moral standards in Pattaya, arresting vendors selling penis and breast-shaped soaps.

A foreign tourist dies bungy jumping in Phuket after the bungy cord breaks!

A British teenager is raped by a biker gang in Kanchanaburi and within a day two Thai men admit to it.

Thai men attempt to murder an Australian who was involved with a woman previously romantically involved with one of them.

Three English Premier League footballers get up to hanky panky with three Thai ladies and record the action.



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: A year or two ago, my wife's parents gave her a house (shack) and a parcel of land (fairly large) as they did with all her brother and sisters, totalling seven. All this is located within a small community. My wife is the youngest and she was expected to take care of the parents as they got older. I'm sure you understand that tradition. Anyway, the house and land was put in my wife's name and she talked me into moving there (Buriram). The house was unliveable and I made about 300K baht in improvements, but after staying there for six months, it became unbearable because it seemed the family's task in life was to make my wife (and me) miserable. I couldn't take the daily arguing and we moved away. I told my wife once some time had passed, maybe we could try again. I got a great job in China so we moved there. We had lived in a rented house near Bangkok and decided to store our household items when we moved to China. After living in China a while, we decided that the expense was unnecessary and the wife flew back to Thailand to move our stuff to Buriram. When my wife got to Buriram with our household goods, she discovered that the parents had taken over the house and built pig pens on the property. All the time the family lied to her about taking the house over (no surprise there). The mother came out and said that they paid an attorney 40K baht to reclaim the house and property. My wife was in shock and we ended up renting another house in a nearby town to store our household goods. All this expense for nothing plus the 300K I had spent on improvements. To top it off, the mother said she would give her the house back if my wife divorced me plus paid a 100K baht as a bonus. My wife passed on that offer and flew back to China. Question: Can the parents get away with that? And can an attorney undo / contest this transfer back to the parents?

Sunbelt Legal responds: Under Thai law, parents have the right to reclaim ownership of any real estate property that they have gifted to their descendant or descendants. This is done by filing a petition with the court and obtaining a court order to undo the transaction at the Land Office.



Question 2: I am English and live in England. I have a Thai wife and have been married for 15 years. My wife has been upset of late as her mother's neighbour has moved the boundaries of her land and encroached upon my mother-in law's land. The land officers have come down to settle the dispute and despite legal documents showing the true boundaries, they have ignored them and confirmed the new boundary. My mother-in-law was asked to sign a document which she refused. Obviously we believe money has changed hands but the question is whether it is worth pursuing this legally.

Sunbelt Legal responds: In normal circumstances, if someone encroaches on to a neighbouring property either with a fence or building, there are several ways to resolve this issue. The person who has had their property encroached can demand that the structure be knocked down. If it is very expensive to do so, the encroaching party may offer to either buy the property from his neighbour or rent it long-term.

It is best to review the original title deed to see if any kind of transaction of this nature was recorded. Additionally, if your mother in law has a full chanote title then the land will have been fully surveyed. Your mother in law could make a police report for trespassing but if there is some kind of agreement between the officer and the encroacher your mother-in-law may find herself charged with filing a false statement.

Another option for your mother-in-law would be to address the issue at the Damrongdhama Office at either the District Office or Provincial Office. This office was set up by the Prime Minister to resolve disputes with government officers and other issues.



Question 3: Is it legal for teachers to hit students when they answer wrong? My 7-year old is getting hit every day and it has reached the point that he is terrified to go to school. What does the law say about this and what advice can you give me?

Sunbelt Legal responds: According to Thai Law, corporal punishment appears to be legal in early childhood centers and in day care for older children under articles 61 and 65 of the Child Protection Act 2003 (see under “Alternative care”) and article 1567 of the Civil and Commercial Code (see under “Home”). However, corporal punishment was prohibited in 2000 under the Regulation on the Punishment of Students 2000. However that was revised in 2005 in a Ministry of Education regulation in 2005 which does not include any corporal punishment as a permitted disciplinary measure.

Article 6 of the regulation states that it is prohibited to punish pupils and students with "violent methods or with harmful, angry or revengeful intention." The Regulation on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children and Juveniles in Educational Establishments 2000 states in article 8: “Punishment of children and youth must not be carried out with torture or harsh treatment to the body or mind, by cruel, humiliating, inhumane means, or in any inappropriate manner.”

As a parent first discuss your concerns with the school management and to bring it to their attention to resolve this issue. If there are bruises or other injuries from the punishment then you can identify the teachers and file a complaint with the police about the injury.



Question 4: My wife owns a small foreign bar in one of Bangkok's suburbs and is not sure of the legality of sports TV. We have subscribed to an online supplier of British TV, therefore circumventing CTH (the Thai TV and cable suppliers) to show the English Football Premier League. Some other bars in the local vicinity have been raided recently for showing the EPL on CTH but not having the correct business subscription. Because CTH have the broadcasting rights for Thailand, does this mean we are breaking the law by showing the EPL to the public and not using their service?

Sunbelt Legal responds: Since domestic cable / TV providers have acquired rights to televise the programs and / or events, showing a sporting event from an offshore provider would be considered as illegal and in violation of their rights. If you wish to broadcast such a program and remain legal then it is best to subscribe to the local cable provider.





Strikers Sports Bar, Bangkok

The coyote lineup at Strikers in Soi Nana, a few months ago.



The girl of the week section is back. Rather than me taking the photos – which would be little tricky – I've extended an invitation to bars to provide photos and a short bio of any girls they would like featured. If you're out and about and you see a lovely lady who you think might benefit from being featured in this column, mention it to her and the bar boss and tell them to get in contact.



Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick