Thailand's sex tourism industry is polarizing and everyone from do-gooders and religious zealots with the most puritanical attitudes to sex tourists who travel the world looking for the cheapest bonk has an opinion. These opinions are just that – opinions – often with no basis in fact, yet they are repeated to the point that many actually believe these myths to be facts.
Myth #1 Thai bargirls are there against their will, are forced in to it / sex slaves / indentured and / or sold by their family.
Western sex tourists have long been aghast at the idea that working ladies may be there against their will and it is one reason why they tend to stick to the expat bar areas.
In the expat bar areas, girls are there of their own volition and can come and go as they please. They are free to leave the bar and spend the night with a customer. Contrast this with many Thai-style bars where everything happens on the premises. It may also be where the girls live. That creates doubt about whether she is free to come and go.
I don't think I can recall ever meeting a lady in an expat bar area who was there against her will, enslaved or sold to the bar by her family. Maybe it happened once upon a time, but I have never seen it with my own eyes.
While it is a myth in terms of the bar areas for Western men, in the Thai bar areas, however, there may be some truth in it. Media reports suggest that this sort of thing was not uncommon in the past (note the use of the word suggest: many reporting on this issue have an agenda). Yes, there have been reports of families in the poorest regions of Thailand, often the rural north, selling their daughter to bar recruitment agents but how widespread it is, I just do not know.
Some nightlife establishments for local men – from small village brothels to massage parlours the size of a small shopping centre with neon signs as bright as any in Soi Cowboy – may recruit women from neighbouring countries, particularly Laos and Myanmar. Whether these ladies are there of their own accord is not known.
The Smooci live escort booking site is home to 100s of Bangkok escorts who work via an app, able to work when and where they want with total freedom. They are fully in control of what they do, how much they charge, and which bookings they accept.
Myth #2 There are 2 million prostitutes in Thailand.
In May, 2006, I wrote in a column in which I estimated the number of Thai prostitutes who worked in bars which primarily attracted Western men at 29,265. My feeling is that there would be fewer ladies working in the sector of the industry which serves foreign men today. At a rough guess, I'd take several thousand off that number.
The number of prostitutes in Thailand is high and no doubt runs in to 6 figures, but 2 million? No chance! 2 million is roughly 6% of the total female population of Thailand. 2 million would be 17% of all females aged 18 – 40 (assuming most prostitutes are aged 18 – 40) – and there is no way that's the case.
The Thailand has 2 million prostitutes comment is often used by NGOs, religious groups and opponents of the industry to support their argument that prostitution is widespread in Thailand. It's not that widespread. Someone came up with this number a long time ago and it has been repeated ad nauseum by those with an anti-prostitution stance. Is it any wonder today that so many have become cynical about NGOs in the region working with underprivileged women when some are caught perpetrating these myths with outright lies.
Myth #3 The girls like what they do.
Comments that bargirls enjoy what they do is barstool banter and naughty boy forum talk. Outside of the naughty bars, no-one suggests the girls like it.
Little gets sex tourists more upset than being faced with the reality that the girls hate what they're doing, and some come to hate themselves and turn to alcohol and / or drugs to deal with it.
The unusual thing about the myth that the girls like what they do – or at the very least that they don't mind it – is that the girls themselves are at least partly responsible for this myth. They tell guys that they like their job – they can hardly tell a potential customer that they hate what they do, can they? That's the last thing a guy with a conscience wants to hear!
Any Westerner who speaks Thai well or gets close to the girls soon learns that in apart from rare cases, the girls hate it.
The girls like the money they make, but that's all they like.
Myth #4 Freelancers are dirty and you're more likely to catch something from them than from a lady working in a bar.
From a bar owner's perspective, things are more difficult than ever. Costs are rising, customer numbers are falling and it's more difficult than ever to recruit and then retain girls. The girls know they are in demand and bar bosses know that if they make it even a little difficult for their staff they will leave and walk straight in to a job in another bar. As such, they have to go very easy on the girls and there is no chance to insist that girls are tested for STDs, either before being hired or during their period of employment. (* I'll offer free advertising to any bar which can show me that it conducts regular and robust STD testing of its girls. Trust me, there will be no more ads in next week's column than this week!)
Devil's Den in Pattaya is the only establishment I know of which insists that its girls are regularly tested for STDs and HIV – and the results of the tests are available for inspection in the bar and on the Devil's Den website.
The bottom line is that many bar bosses don't actually care if girls are STD-free or not. What does it have to do with them when, after all, their business is all about selling liquor. What happens away from the bar is not their business nor their concern.
There are some bars which force the girls to provide a health certificate periodically – but the bar seems unconcerned with where the girls get that certificate from. In Pattaya, there are clinics which will sign off any old certificate for 100 baht – so such certificates can be meaningless and in this day and age, any young punk with a computer could produce a fake medical certificate easily.
The notion that freelancers are dirty and have a higher incidence of sexually transmitted disease than girls who work in bars is a myth spread by the odd bar owner to scare potential customers away from freelancing girls who generally charge less and for whom there is no barfine to be paid.
Myth #5 The girls like sleeping overnight in a customer's hotel room.
Thais working in the bar industry often live with friends, colleagues or family. For unmarried Thais, especially those from rural areas, communal living is the norm. It's what they're used to and how they are most comfortable. Half a dozen ladies may share a small room, a couple sharing the bed and the rest sleeping (quite happily) on the floor.
A customer staying in a nice hotel might reasonably believe that the lady he is with would prefer to stay in a swanky hotel room with a bathroom larger than her entire apartment, cool air-conditioning and a soft bed. That is seldom the case.
The reason bargirls may stay the night in a customer's hotel room is simply because she can charge a higher fee if she stays all night. 5-star hotel or Khao San Road flophouse, she is concerned about the cash in the morning, not the state of the room.
This myth would seem to be perpetrated by guys who appear to be trying to show they treat a lady well. What they don't get is not only that most girls would rather stay in their own room with their friends (or boyfriend or husband), but that many girls are terrified of spending the night with a stranger, especially a foreigner who is bigger and stronger than she is, who might be a drinker and who could, if he so chose, do whatever he wanted to her.
Myth #6 The difference between sex you pay for and sex you don't pay for is that sex you pay for is cheaper.
Some argue that sex with a prostitute is a sure thing and sex with a lady you date is not, and as such sex you don't pay for can be costlier, both time-wise and in dollar terms. That may be the case in Farangland where it might take a few dates to hit a home run but most guys find they get to take her home much sooner in Thailand!
A few drinks in a bar for you and lady drink or two for her typically runs several hundred baht or more. Barfines average around 700 baht these days. A room in a short-time hotel is about 500 baht and most girls expect at least 2,000 baht. You're looking at around 4,000 baht for a short-time with a Bangkok gogo girl. (Yes, it could be much cheaper but this would be about average.)
Compare that with a regular date in Bangkok. My old favourite for first dates was The Londoner. Dinner for two and drinks was around 2,000 baht. You could do it for much less if you chose to. Starbucks seems to be the favourite and coffee followed by a movie is often followed by a romp.
The amount of money some guys report spending on a night out in a bar before taking a bargirl to the nearest short-time hotel far exceeds what I have ever spent on a first date. In Farangland you might get some action by the third date; in Bangkok she's talking marriage by date #3! Sex with bargirls in Thailand costs much more than sex with regular girls (and I bet sex with non-bar girls is much better too!)
Myth #7 Sex tourists are old, fat, bald dudes who can't get laid in their homeland.
The old fat and bald stereotype has never held water. While not sex tourists per se, what we know as the expat bar industry today was born out of the Vietnam era when young, fit American soldiers were in Bangkok on R+R. A new sector of the Thai commercial sex industry was born. These guys were anything but old, fat and bald!
Following the Vietnam War, sex tourists followed and no doubt some weren't shining physical specimens, but photos from the bar industry in the early days show many looked slim and healthy.
These days the bar industry attracts the full gamut of men from young, fit and handsome guys to older, less healthy guys who may not be so easy on the eye. Yes, the average age of sex tourists might be north of 50, but what surprises many mainstream visitors who check out Bangkok's expat bar areas is that there are plenty of young, handsome guys in the bars – and they are participating!
The old, fat and bald myth usually comes from Western females – and Western is the critical word here because a Thai female would never say this. Some Western women talk ill of sex tourists and use the only two weapons they have in the battle of the sexes – guilt and the withholding of sex. These women want to try and make men participating in the industry to feel guilty about what they are doing because they don't want the guys to be getting easy sex as that greatly limits their own options.
Sex tourism has become a lifestyle choice for a wide cross-section of men, some of who simply find they prefer meeting women and attending to their manly needs that way.
Myth #8 It is the girls' responsibility to protect themselves, not the customer's.
Some men claim that as the ladies are working girls, it is the girls' responsibility to protect themselves from STDs and pregnancy and not the guy's. The guy cannot be held responsible because he paid her, some silly men claim.
I guess this argument is made as some sort of justification for having unprotected sex – and trying to turn things around and make out that if the girl allows it to happen then whatever happens is on her and he has zero responsibility.
This argument is moronic and in the case of pregnancy, any judge would laugh at him.
Irrespective of whether she is a professional or not, the man will ultimately be held responsible should she become pregnant. The man is every bit as responsible as the woman.
Myth #9 Escorts are a higher class.
Think of "escort" and you probably think of a higher class of woman who is not just – perhaps even not necessarily – a sex partner, but someone you can take to business functions and someone who you can present to others. If your work life is important to you, don't make that mistake in Bangkok!
There has been an explosion of escort services in Thailand in recent years. Most come and go in very much the same vein as bars come and go – no surprise given that some of the escort service owners had previously tried and failed with a bar.
Most Bangkok escort services are not escort services in the traditional sense. Rather, most Bangkok escorts are simply sex workers you can book online. Rather than going to a gogo or other bar, you can simply get online, make a booking and an hour or two later you will get a knock on the door. Many of the ladies working as escorts in Bangkok previously worked in other sectors of the industry. Many once (or even still) were on the freelance circuit, and some were gogo dancers.
A couple of years back the owner of a new Bangkok escort website contacted me and wanted to advertise. He didn't have photos of any of the girls and knowing I was a keen photographer, he asked if I would be interested in photographing the girls who would feature on the site. Sure, why not. He hired a room at the Nana Hotel and brought along 20 or so ladies who it turned out all freelanced at the Biergarten. The escort service was simply marketing Biergarten girls online with a price tag 3 or 4 times what they would normally make. The girls were up for it as it meant more business for them and he simply had to maintain the website and liaise with the girls and customers. This is how many Bangkok escort services operate. It is not really what you would call an escort service at all. Needless to say, that agency failed.
* There are some professional escort services. If you are looking for an escort in Bangkok who is well-presented, speaks decent English, can hold a conversation, won't embarrass you but can also rock your world back at the hotel, BangkokEscort is widely regarded as Bangkok's premier escort agency.
Myth #10 The economy would fail if the farang bar areas closed.
When things don't go the way that some sex tourists feel they should, such as drinks prices increasing, bars closing early and attitudes and service levels in the industry deteriorating, some say they may choose not to visit Thailand which would cause the industry to go in to decline and which in turn would see the tourism fail because visitor numbers plummeted. This would have a dire effect on the economy, they reckon.
The sector of the bar industry for foreigners is a very small part of the tourism industry and a tiny part of the greater economy. Granted, Pattaya might face challenges if its nightlife industry was to fail, but even in Sin City the tourism industry is greatly diversified from 10 years ago.
Sex tourism makes up a very small part of Thailand's economy and a big chunk of it does not even show up in GDP numbers. If the entire sex tourism industry was to close down, it would barely register a blip economically. Real estate would be turned over and new businesses would be created – and they'd probably pull in more money than the bars do. In terms of the Thai economy as a whole, sex tourism is infinitesimal.
Where was this photo taken?
Last week's photo was similar to a shot I ran several weeks ago and was the same place from a slightly different perspective – Charoen Krung and Maitri Chit, in between the Hualumpong Railway Station and Chinatown.
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 – Blind pride.
There are very few nations that do not have a few skeletons in the cupboards. But most countries now admit it, prosecute and bring people to justice. What I dislike about the Thais is that in 2015, surrounded by technology, the internet, instant news and clear evidence, the first response is to deny everything. The second response is to blame somebody else. The third response is to come up with some action followed by the inevitable fourth response which is to go silent and hope it just goes away. Please let everybody forget because we are such nice, smiling, loveable people. Oh and just bung a few million baht over here to help things get fixed. I could go on but you have heard and experienced it a zillion times already.
And they still remain happy.
Today's column was just great. It's so nice to see somebody actually take a look at things from the girls' perspective for a change. They (sometimes rightly) get bad press from expats and tourists but your comments about them sharing their food with anyone and looking after those less fortunate than themselves are just so true. For many years, I lived amongst these ladies of the night. I saw many instances of kindness shown by these girls to people, both Thai and foreign. They are often dealt a pretty shitty hand in life, yet still manage (on the whole) to remain happy. I would suggest to the many that malign them that they take note of something a Zimbabwean friend of mine once said. When I asked him what life was like for him, he simply said "Walk in my shoes for just one single day and then maybe you will understand!" My point is that we ARE fortunate to have been born, raised and educated in the west and should be grateful for it. Thailand can be a playground (and it's the Thais that have made this so in their relentless pursuit of money) but we can always escape it if we choose to. A lot of the girls, however, can't!
Beach Road maidens not representative of Pattaya.
Not sure if it was conscious but you seem to have dug up photos of the oldest, ugliest hags in Pattaya. I was wondering if you were trying to convey what a generally used-up, ugly place Patts has become (and has been for a long time). I could only spot 1 or 2 attractive girls in all your photos and several were downright frightening! I lived in Pattaya for about 7 years and while there are plenty of dogs there are just as many true hotties, most everywhere except Beach Road. Your photos sure don't give that impression. I've long since had my fill of Pattaya's craziness but there are still many who find it an adult Disneyland full of beautiful women and lots of excitement…so why do you want to kill the dream?
Why they hand their hard-earned over.
About the girls having boyfriends and handing over the bulk of their earnings to those scum bags…..why? Just a guess, but women need to talk and express their feelings, preferably in their native language. Most foreigners speak god awful Thai – if they speak it at all – so a Thai guy fits the bill. Even if the guy just grunts, she knows he understood what she said and feels better after expressing herself. It's just not the same talking to a foreign guy with few language skills, IMHO.
A turning point?
I have spent a total of about a year and a half in Bangkok, always on holiday and mostly in the Sukhumvit area. Last Saturday in Soi Cowboy I saw more Oriental male customers than Europeans for the first time; on Sunday the same could be said of Nana Plaza, but it was less marked. If my observations are accurate, this could be a turning point.
What happens when you don't pay tax.
What is the most striking difference I have noticed working in the centre of London as opposed to living on Sukhumvit? The almost total lack of the sounds of sirens of emergency vehicles. I think I have heard and observed two fire engines, a handful of police cars and a couple of dozen ambulances belonging to private hospitals in Bangkok. I assume there is no public ambulance service in Bangkok, but I would like more information about what happens in emergencies. When I tried to broach the subject with my closest Thai friend, all she managed was, "It is because we do not pay taxes."
The AIDS myth.
All the AIDS research is fxxxed up science. NO ONE has ever seen or photographed the virus. You'll get artist's concepts, you'll get blurry photo-micrographs (NO TWO ALIKE) but they are just cartoons. Here's another HIV "fact": A few years back an acquaintance "tested positive for HIV". He retested back in Adelaide where he found that in Thailand he'd actually tested positive for TB (there's been a HUGE uptick in TB). Turns out that the Western Blot test that'd been done on him will show a positive for a number of diseases. I wonder how many guys were tossed on to the AZT bonfire during the initial part of the scare of this classic ProblemReactionSolution campaign. About 15 years ago in Voodoo I had an AIDS conference delegate, a medical professional from Canada, share the old joke with me that they'd find a cure for THAT one when they could teach lab rats how to shoot smack and bum fxxx. Had a nun in Toronto's St Mike's tropical disease clinic warn me off a prophylactic gamma globulin shot for Hep B (about 25 years ago). She said that blood derivative products from the Eastern Bloc were most Hep A contaminated and very likely HIV tainted. When I told her I was going to Thailand she cracked that I'd be running a bigger risk with blood products from Romania than having unprotected sex ANYWHERE. Like condoms and H1N1 shots, AIDS is a HUGE fxxxing business. Read John Lauritson and Peter Deusberg on this racket. There's loads of docos on this thing. I'll still use a condom most of the time…..to avoid pregnancy. John le Carre's Constant Gardner was a heavily "leaned on" account of what happens to whistle blowers who fxxx with Big Pharma's drug trials and scare campaigns.
Casey wears brown.
I cannot believe some people did not know who Casey How was. I was going to write last week and say how obvious it was. You were right, though – on my only visit to his establishment I left very quickly after I had ascended the stairs due to what I perceived to be young girls there. Most also seemed to be out of it as well. I heard Casey favours a brown suit.
Girl of the week
Marry, 21 years old, escort
exclusive to PureBangkokEscorts.com
It's almost 2 years since Lone Star on the top floor of Nana Plaza was raided by police. Underage girls were found and the venue was subsequently closed. A lot of money changed hands and the owner, G, was told the bar could not be reopened. Some time later the bar was gutted and it then laid dormant for many months. Since this time last year a banner has been draped across railings on the top floor stating that Jail Birdz would be coming soon. After many delays and what may be the longest construction period ever for a bar in Nana Plaza, Jail Birdz finally opened this past Friday in what is another small bit of good news for Nana Plaza which may just be making a bit of a comeback.
Will it be xth time lucky for Big Andy, the popular boss of Club Electric Blue who is getting hitched again. Andy is throwing what he says will be the biggest party any bar of his has ever seen this coming Saturday, July 11th at Club Electric Blue in Patpong soi 2. With the hottest girls from Club Electric Blue in Pattaya coming up the road, it promises to be a wild night. I wish I could be there for it.
Club Electric Blue Manager Jim has developed a following in Patpong but feels it's time for a new challenge and will move on at the end of July and leave the industry altogether. Jim will be replaced by Yorky as the new meeter and greeter at Club Electric Blue in Patpong.
In the early hours of Tuesday, one of the dancers from Goldfinger hunted down a girl who had been in Goldfinger earlier over some perceived slight. Near Thigh bar where the victim works, the Goldfinger girl smacked her in the face. The police were called and the perpetrator spent some time in the lock-up at Bangrak Station. She was released to pay the victim's hospital bills and was fined for fighting. She didn't have enough money so further appointments at the station have been scheduled to resolve the issue. * It should be noted that if you get involved in a fight and are considered to be in the wrong, you may be asked (read: expected to resolve the situation there and then) to pay for others' medical attention and to cover any damage that may have been caused.
It sounds like the Bangrak Police were kept busy on Tuesday night when the upstairs bar between Goldfinger and Pussy Collection saw several police descending on it after a dispute with Asian customers. The outcome of that is not known.
Down in Pattaya, Soi LK Metro's first gogo bar, Champagne, has gobbled up Malibu next door which for a while had developed a following amongst locals. Both bars are branded Champagne, one is Champagne A Gogo and next door is Champagne VIP Lounge.
Along Beach Road the cat call is Go wit you but on Pattaya's notorious soi 6 it's often Go up sa-tair. There was a major crackdown on soi 6 a while back with word that it would not be the same for 6 months. Rubbish, crackdowns seldom last more than a few weeks and even a week is usually longer than usual. Things long ago returned to normal on soi 6 and it's back to what the soi does best, a place where anything goes.
But how just good trade is currently in Pattaya is up for debate. A couple of bar bosses tell me it's fabulous whereas friends in town tell me it's dead. The most conspicuous groups of visitors are the hordes of Asian visitors who are shepherded along Walking Street.
Still in Pattaya, popular gogo / show bar Windmill has notices inside the bar calling for investors or new shareholders. A minimum of 7.5 million baht is required. While I wouldn't invest in the bar industry these days, Windmill is said to be doing ok.
Bangkok's newest Irish bar will launch next week when The Drunken Leprechaun opens its doors on Thursday, July 16th. It will be located on the ground floor of the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel, less than 100 metres in to Sukhumvit soi 15 on the right-hand side.
It's hard to keep on top of happy hours and drinks specials and promotions in Bangkok as they change often. Genuinely good deals come and go. But one great deal that has been in place for some time continues. Every Tuesday from 6 PM until close, it's buy one drink, get one free at The Office in Sukhumvit soi 33. This special includes Tiger draught where a 1/2 pint is just 85 baht ÷ 2 = 42.50 baht each or a full pint is 160 baht ÷ 2 = a bargain 80 baht each.
Things can change fast in the bar industry. When I left Bangkok, Spellbound on Nana Plaza's ground floor was owned by two guys who had each been highly successful with their previous bars (Angelwitch and Pretty Lady, respectively), and the manager of Spellbound had more experience in the plaza than any other bar manager. But in Spellbound it just wasn't happening. A majority stake in the bar was sold to an outsider with, as far as I know, no naughty nightlife industry experience at all. It sounded like a recipe for disaster but it has been the complete opposite. The new owner killed what were some of the most unenthusiastic and dull shows ever seen in a gogo bar and has been on a recruitment drive to increase dancer numbers. The punters have responded and the bar is humming. Is experience in the industry that important, or is passion, ambition and a willingness to invest more likely to succeed?
Are all the ladyboy bars in Nana Plaza really that big a deal to punters who (claim to) have zero interest in transsexuals? On a similar matter, are the bars in Nana Plaza that are dominated by Japanese, namely Rainbow 1 and Rainbow 4, really a cause for complaint? These are the two things Nana Plaza regulars seem most concerned about. I would have thought that would mean the ladies who are interested in white guys would congregate in a smaller number of bars – and would that not be a good thing?
I was surprised so many readers had no idea who the Casey How I referred to a couple of weeks ago is, especially as some folks talk as if they are experts on the bar scene, claim to be in the bars every night, are good mates with bar owners and bar managers and know everything about everything that is going on. It took a good number of emails for me to eventually realise that most people had no idea who I was referring to.
If you're keen to improve your Thai but don't fancy going to lessons, SelfStudyThai.com is a great resource, a totally free site that is very much a labour of love of the author and is worth checking out.
I was looking at a couple of Thailand forums this week (both nightlife and non-nightlife forums), not so much reading the posts themselves but looking at the patterns of the posts from a webmaster perspective. Between around midnight and 6 AM Thailand time there is a major drop in the frequency of posts as well as the number of people online. It's much the same with this site. That's obviously the time that folks in Thailand sleep, which suggests to me that Thailand forums these days are dominated by people within Thailand – or at least within the same time zone, give or take, that Thailand is in. Can anything be read in to this? What I can say as a webmaster is that it wasn't always like this.
From time to time I am asked if there is an equivalent of this column for the Philippines. There is! HarryTheHorse (I just love that name) is a monthly column released on the first of every month that has been chronicling the comings and goings in Angeles City for about the same length of time as I have been writing about life in Bangkok. Harry recently handed the reigns over to a new correspondent who plans to spruce the site while retaining the style and traditions which made Harry so popular.
There are many things I don't miss about Thailand and one of them is the annual visit to the Immigration office. What used to really irk me were the signs that started appearing perhaps 5 or 6 years ago about how you had to wear appropriate clothing and how you had to be polite to the officers. Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely agree that one should dress decently when dealing with government departments in a country where appearance counts for everything, but what got me was the way that some of these officers spoke to customers was anything but polite.
Quote of the week comes from Mokwit, "What would I give now [in 2015] for the phone number of just one girl like all those girls whose phone numbers I never bothered taking [in 1995]."
Reader story of the week comes from Mr. Anonymous, "Turning 40".
Across social media, Thais curse a Pattaya bargirl photographed felating an Asian man in 808 bar, Pattaya while the Thai language Daily News carried images of the Asian man being blown in a Pattaya bar.
A Brit gets 50 years in the big house for dealing drugs in Thailand.
A Brit gets a hiding on Walking Street from a Thai hoodlum, a not irregular occurrence according to some.
The justice & legal systems as well as the police are all shown in a shocking light after an Irishman visits his Bangkok lawyer.
Bangkok streetside sex toy shops operate as per normal and have survived the government's crackdown on corruption.
Panthip Plaza is to undergo a transformation from poor man's computer shopping centre to a technology hub.
The Bangkok Post takes a look at some of the classic old hotels of Bangkok.
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 question is theoretical and not related to any situation I find myself in. I have heard that the Thai police can only arrest you if they actually catch you in the process of committing a crime or in the immediate aftermath of a crime i.e. running down the street with a stolen TV. Is this true?
Sunbelt Legal responds: While it is true that the Royal Thai Police can arrest you if they catch you in the process of committing a crime, it is also true that they can arrest you if they suspect you of having committed a crime either due to evidence or a witness.
Question 2: I would like your help in reversing the biggest mistake of my life – marrying my Thai wife. I want to divorce her because she is crazy. She is a controlling bitch and the romance and love has gone from our 4-year union. I want out and I want out now. Are there grounds for me to divorce her because she is mental? If there are, what is required? She is crazy. I will give you an example. Recently my wife started going to bed wearing eyeglasses. Not contact lenses, but eyeglasses. She explained that this was because in her dreams she sees me with another woman, but she cannot make out who that woman is because her eyesight is not good, so she is now sleeping with eyeglasses so she identify the woman she sees me with in her dreams is. My wife is mad! Please help me find a way to divorce her. I don't want to flee her as she would follow and I don't want to go back to America. I'd be very grateful for your assistance.
Sunbelt Legal responds: Well let's hope for your sake, her eyeglasses don't ever get powerful enough that she starts seeing you in her dreams with another woman. -)
However, on a serious note, some Thai women can be very paranoid that their man is cheating as she has seen it happen with her friends.
If both parties agree to the divorce then they can meet at the District Office and register their divorce. It is recommended to register the divorce at the same office as the marriage for ease of record-keeping but it is not mandatory.
However, if one party refuses to register the divorce, in this case your wife, then you would need to obtain a court order to complete the divorce process. Thailand is not a “no fault” divorce process so you must file for divorce based on one of the 10 accepted grounds for divorce.
If none of the 10 grounds are met then there would be no grounds for the Courts to order the divorce registration. Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors can help you with the divorce if you feel you have grounds, including any negotiations that may need to be made. And we will be sure and not tell her where to get a new pair of glasses!
knew there were limits about what could be posted about them online.
Seldom does a week pass by without something erupting on Thai social media and causing an almighty fuss. This week it was photos going viral showing a Thai woman felating an Asian man in 808 Disco, on Pattaya's Walking Street. How could someone do this?, everyday Thais asked. Thailand's reputation would take a hit, they said. What would the world think of Thai women? They focused on what happened, as if it was some sort of an aberration. What happened in 808 Bar happens all over the country every day. There are blowjob bars up and down Sukhumvit Road where customers can choose to get serviced in the main bar area, in full view of all. Many of the massage houses on the likes of Sukhumvit sois 7/1, 11, 15, 19, 22, 23, 33 etc, have thin walls and threadbare curtains betweens booths where the sounds coming from the other side leave nothing to the imagination. It's not what happened in 808 that was such an issue, in my opinion, but the posting online of photos of people engaged in a sexual act. And whaddya know, it was apparently a Western woman who posted the photos! For some time there have been cries from naughty boys about how the bar areas will become less desirable places to hang out as the bars attract a more mainstream crowd, including more young white women. It seems those who were concerned about white women invading the naughty bar areas may have had a point.
Your Bangkok commentator,