Difficulty getting the visa they want, paying over the odds for taxi rides and dodgy DVDs, police hassling foreigners and having little luck seeking resolution when they experience a problem has some foreigners asking whether the Thais hate us. Hate? It's an awfully strong word. Do the Thais hate us?
The idea that the Thais might hate us seems to stem from situations in which some foreigners find themselves in are not happy with the outcome. Perhaps we need to look a closer look at these situations.
Many younger foreigners, particularly the under 50 crowd, get their knickers in a twist at the difficulty of getting the visa they want – which usually means a visa which will allow them to reside in Thailand for a long time. Thailand requires applicants to show they have adequate funds to support themselves and employment in their homeland i.e. a reason to which, funnily enough, is much the same requirements most Western countries make of Thais applying for a similar visa to visit their country! It used to be much easier but things have tightened up and it is more difficult nowadays. On the local forums some claim that the Thais don't want foreign visitors and even hate foreigners, which is not the reason at all. Quite simply, foreigners have been rorting the visa system for years, residing in the country on visas designed for temporary stays (and often working illegally / without a work permit / without paying taxes), all of which is against the spirit of the visa at best, illegal at worst. Now the Thais are simply ensuring that visas issued are used for the purpose they were designed for. Thailand has a huge tourism industry and the country wants as many foreigners to visit as it can accommodate. That wouldn't be the case if they hated foreigners!
Arrivals at the airport are split – Thai passports to the right and foreign passports to the left. Foreign passport holders face longer queues and slower processing times. Thai passport holders face shorter queues and fly through. Funnily enough, that's exactly how it is when I fly into Auckland. Kiwis and Aussies turn right and fly through while everyone else queues, and may even be asked a question or two before they can proceed. It's little different in much of the world. Just because the Thais make you queue with other foreigners at Immigration doesn't mean they hate you!
When you do reach the front of the queue at Immigration control, you may be met by an unsmiling officer who peers at you with suspicion. It makes a mockery of the Land of Smiles moniker. It's not only you who they glare at. Just as the officer who processes you may not smile, neither do the officers processing Thais. That's just the way it is with Thais in authority and it has nothing to do with anti-foreigner sentiment.
Outside the terminal, you get in to a cab and the even though you queued at the machine, took an automated ticket and did everything right, the driver doesn't want to turn on the meter. When he does turn on the meter, it seems to be rising much faster than it should. He's pulling a fast one on you because you're a foreigner, right?! In much of the world taxi drivers have a reputation for taking advantage of visitors. Bangkok drivers pull this crap with Thais too and this week a video circulated of a Bangkok taxi driver ripping off a Thai he had collected at the airport. This happens whether you're Thai or foreigner and has nothing to do with any hatred of foreigners!
Reports of police harassing foreigners in downtown Bangkok, frisking them, going though their wallet and even examining the call / message history in their mobile phone was a great concern to many foreigners in Bangkok. Most foreigners in Thailand – visitors and expats alike – don't know their rights, and even those who do may be too timid or don't have command of the local language to exercise them and thus refuse to let the cops search them. Did the police do this because they hate foreigners? I don't believe that's the reason at all. I have long maintained these checks were carried out in the hope that they would find drugs on them. If someone was found to be carrying anything they shouldn't like illegal drugs, or prescription drugs without a prescription, the cops could either arrest them (and gain much kudos at the station for catching a criminal) or shake them down for cash. This was not about hatred of foreigners, but is rather symptomatic of greed and corruption.
Bar closing time is officially midnight or 1 AM depending on the type of bar, but many venues have long been given an hour's grace and allowed to open until 1 AM or 2 AM. In some parts of the country, the law is being followed to the letter and bars closed at midnight. Some foreigners claim they are being persecuted by early closing. Such comments are nonsense and say more about foreigners in Thailand than anything else. The truth is that bars you most often associate with foreigners in Thailand – the red-light bars on Sukhumvit and Silom – have received latitude and been allowed to open later than the law allows. Yes, foreigners have actually received special treatment! The vast majority of Thai venues are in darkness at 1 AM. Would they allow bars for foreigners to open later than what is legally allowed if they hated foreigners?
Foreigners cannot own land in their own name in Thailand and there are limits to the number of apartments in a building which can be foreign-owned. I imagine these laws were brought in to ensure that wealthy foreigners don't buy up chunks of property and push prices beyond a level locals can afford. While I am all in favour of an open market, I am also in favour of countries acting in the best interests of their citizens, something many Western nations seem to have forgotten. Not allowing foreigners to purchase property in Thailand has nothing to do with Thais hating foreigners, but simply putting the country's citizens first.
In a restaurant, a table of everyday Thais receive pleasant service from the waitress, while an adjacent table of foreigners receives mediocre service. Does the server hate foreigners? That's unlikely. The explanation is probably more that the server has difficulty communicating with the foreigners and is shy or embarrassed. It's a problem even in some major tourist areas but that is a staffing problem and a training / management problem, not one of locals hating foreigners.
In a Pattaya bar at 2:45 AM a farang customer is set upon by <insert any of bargirl / ladyboy / bar manager or owner / motorcycle taxi rider / unknown, unsavoury local> and sustains a beating that requires medical treatment. Reports of foreign customers beaten up in bar areas late at night appear in the Thai press every week. This is not exclusive to Thailand! No matter where you are in the world, alcohol and late nights don't always mix well. It has nothing to do with the locals hating foreigners.
But what about the fact that so many Western men flood in to Thailand and sleep with local sex workers, paying them more money for a night than many Thai men earn in a week? Surely these men must hate us for defiling their women, right? They don't look at it like that at all. The average Thai views the women who work in the likes of Patpong and Soi Cowboy as the least attractive and least desirable women in the country. They cannot get their head why foreign men find them so attractive and are willing to pay so much. Imagine planeloads of Arab men arriving in your country and paying $1,000 a night to sleep with fat women from your country – and that's about how the Thais see it. Thais totally get the whole paid sex thing and they don't hate foreigners for indulging, it's more a case that they are shocked at what they see as appalling taste in women. Thai men don't hate foreign men for paying local women for sex, although they don't like seeing foreign men mistreating their women.
Thais are greatly concerned about face and are forever comparing themselves with one another. A typical Western visitor to Thailand has more money than an everyday Thai and while the Thai would like the income / accrued wealth of the Westerner – and they might be envious of it – but they don't hate us because of it. For some unscrupulous locals we may be seen as easy prey to be taken advantage of, but it's not hate.
Thais are xenophobic and xenophobia makes for a great breeding ground for hate. At the same time where would Thailand be without Korean pop music, American smartphones and Japanese food?
Thai culture places value on uniforms, authority and people with influence and power. Foreigners fall outside the system and they don't know where to place us. That makes the average Thai a little uncomfortable with us, but they don't hate us.
If you look at Thailand simply as a place to go for a cheap shag and / or you look down on Thailand and the Thais generally, you will probably find yourself getting a similar level of respect in return. You might even find yourself thinking the Thais hate you. Joke with them, learn some of the language and when you get to know them you'll come to realise that they are intrigued by foreigners in general. Thailand is not without its problems and plenty of crazy stuff happens, but that doesn't mean that the Thais hate foreigners.
Where was this photo taken?
Last week's photo was taken in Sukhumvit soi 7, near the Biergarten, looking back towards the main Sukhumvit Road and the western end of the Nana BTS station.
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 – Nothing lasts forever.
There are some who miss the times they foolishly believed would last forever, when the baht was cheap and a mere purple note was all you had to dangle in front of a beautiful young girl to have your way with her. And since they foolishly believed this would last forever, they never saw any reason to improve themselves personally or financially and now they find themselves shit out of luck. They are still so hooked on purchased sex and can only get sex if they purchase it. They scrape together the now needed 3,000 baht for a liaison to get their fix, and whine about it not being worth it. And then they do the same all over again!
Threats to the bar biz.
I fully agree with you that the development potential of the sites of the farang bar areas, especially Soi Cowboy, is the greatest risk to the bar industry. I am sure plans for the development of Soi Cowboy already exist. It would not take much pressure from the authorities who would benefit from any development to make running a bar business in Cowboy very difficult / expensive. Not on your list are 2 threats I would rank in the top 10. The first is the bars themselves and some of the business practices they have adopted. For example, I can recall when a beer in a gogo bar was much cheaper than back home. Over the years the prices moved to be on a par; now I pay more for a small beer in a gogo bar than a pint of Coopers back home. Coupled with all the other price increases, Bangkok is no longer a cheap night out especially when you add in hotels and flights. Bars offer a meeting place but with the internet there is a cheaper alternative and people no longer have to go to bars.
Beating ATM fees from the UK.
I'm not aware of any other country that charges people with overseas cards for using ATM machines. Just more Thai greed, I suppose. I was paying not only the Thai bank fee, but also nearly ₤15 to my UK bank for accessing MY money. Still, I suppose you could argue why they should provide a free service. I say WAS paying though, because now I'm using a company called TransferWise, and for transferring ₤400, some 21,000+ baht, I get charged one fee of just under ₤6. Using internet banking, I send them the money from my UK account and they then pay in to my Thai bank account about three days later. Works well, and the company website has details of their various licenses and approvals so it's perfectly legit. It even mentions Richard Branson.
Beating ATM fees from the US.
I have several credit cards from the USA that do not charge for overseas transactions. I just go in to the bank and get a cash advance in baht. It always comes through at the market rate. Then I go online and pay it off immediately and get away with zero fees.
Hyperbole and bar busts.
Australia's Channel 7 Sunday program tonight covered underage prostitution in Thailand. When they stated that there were "tens of thousands" of underage girls in the foreigner bars I almost choked on my dinner. Anyone who has spent any length of time in Thailand knows that is just factually NOT true, and is also slanderous of Thailand. I can't see the benefit of ridiculous claims of underage girls on television, when possibly a more reasonable approach would be more effective. Let's hope sense prevails. To be honest, I was really surprised I read about this Rainbow 4 issue in your column a couple of weeks ago. After seeing that TV program it makes sense (unfortunately). Let's just hope it doesn't perpetuate years of ignorance in that regard. Also, to be honest, I worry for the foreigner (hero) guy's safety whose face was all over TV. Let's just hope he doesn't try to push things too far.
When the shoe's on the other foot.
Try putting yourself in this situation. Picture yourself back in your home country and you are visiting a place of interest. Along come a couple of tour buses that disgorge what seems like a screaming horde of foreign tourists. You find their behaviour to be quite poor by your standards. They may be spitting right in front of you, pushing past you, talking to each other at the tops of their voices, or generally just doing things in ways that are not considered right. Do you want tourists like this in your home country? Your reaction is probably to think, “Get back on your bus and go home!” Now think about what happens in Thailand. A lot of less than savoury westerners come to Thailand and behave in ways many Thais would not consider polite. Also, foreigners tend to hang out in the foreign areas and may not treat Thais respectfully. When you take in to account the huge difference in prosperity between westerners and poorer Thais, you can understand why they are not happy to see certain types of foreigner here in Thailand. My own personal experiences of living in Thailand are quite different to what Stick has highlighted with links to recent news stories. I have never experienced any hostility or negative reaction to my presence in Thailand. Perhaps this has something to do with how I behave and how I treat people. It can be as simple as just smiling and nodding at a cleaner as she does her job. They appreciate being recognised and treated as a person. I am here on a non-B visa and the only person who gives me a hard time about being in Thailand is the lady in the Immigration Department who processes my visa extension applications. But that is just because it can take a few attempts to get all of the paperwork prepared to her satisfaction. So I would suggest to anyone reading this, take a look at yourself. How do you behave in Thailand? Are you giving the Thais a reason to want you out of the country? Note, I am not suggesting that anything you do would justify the beatings and other abuses that have been reported.
Choosing green card over husband.
By law, to keep a green card you have to be on US soil once a year. But US Immigration takes the stand that a green card is permission to live in the US, and just visiting does not count. They physically take the card away. One friend got married to a Thai woman in the US, but he started working in Thailand. When Immigration started raising a stink, the woman decided that a divorce was better than losing her green card. Another friend working over here finally went to the US Embassy and gave up his wife's green card voluntarily, then got her a 10-year visa. They only go back for visits, so that worked OK. My wife and I jumped through all the hoops and now she has US Citizenship. No worries for us anymore.
Flagged at Immigration.
Had a friend get stopped at Immigration after entering Thailand 18 times in the past year. They accused him of working here in a friendly way, even though he doesn't. The interview took a half hour and they finally let him through.
Bars are on the move in Nana Plaza, sort of. Fairy Bar was renamed R&B Bar and all of the Rainbow 4 girls had been transferred there in a ploy to get around Rainbow 4 being ordered closed. That lasted just a few days. Fairy Bar has reverted to being Fairy Bar – and the ladyboys are back. Rainbow 4, which was ordered closed, has been renamed R&B Bar and has reopened with all of the Rainbow 4 girls back there. The Rainbow 4 name has disappeared for the time being.
Following the bust at Rainbow 4 last month which showed that one of the biggest Thai bar owners – someone who was previously thought to be untouchable – could be taken down, there is paranoia amongst bar owners concerned at being caught with underage staff on the premises. But why, I hear you ask, when all they have to do is refrain from hiring them. If only it was that simple. Many of the girls are hired by mamasans, and the mamasans often do their own thing, to the extent that they almost operate like private contractors within a bar. Detractors of the industry may term bar owners pimps, but that accusation would be more accurately leveled at mamasans, some of whom ignore explicit instructions from the bar owner to refrain from hiring ladies not of legal age. Mamasans know that some customers, especially the hardcore guys – like fresh girls, and fresh invariably means young. More mamasans are working customers and recommending girls they control for a cut of what the girl makes. Ever had a mamasan negotiate a girl's fee with you? Ever had a mamasan show you a piece of paper or a card with rates (often short-time 2,500 baht / long-time 4,000 – 5,000 baht)? These rates tend to be at the top end of what a girl expects to make and is often beyond what she might be capable of negotiating herself. The mamasan negotiates a fee over and above what the girl would get and takes a cut of the fee – typically 500 baht of the short-time fee and 1,000 baht of the long-time fee. The girls are loathe to admit it to customers but this is exactly what's going on. So to increase their own income, what some mamasans do is hire the type of ladies they know men like – which, in many cases, means young girls. The mamasans ignore instructions about hiring ladies not of legal age, and take on ladies they know full well are not yet legal. In some cases mamasans are alleged to have falsified girls' ID card details, all so they can get maximum commissions. And if the bar is raided by police, it is the owner and manager (the person whose name is on the bar licence) who is in the gun, not the mamasan.
The twin blowjob bars, Lolita's and Kasalong, on the sub-soi opposite The Kiwi on Sukhumvit Soi 8 which could reasonably be termed Soi BJ, were visited by the police on Wednesday and each venue told to close for 3 days. They reopened yesterday. The other two blowjob bars in the general area – Lollipop1 and Som's Haven, which are located a little further down the road – operated as per normal and there were no reports of them being visited by the men in brown. No-one is quite sure why Lolita's and Kasalong were closed and one wouldn't imagine they were busted for staff not of legal age – unless there is a law against women of advanced years polishing the bishop for baht.
The soft opening of the new Dollhouse in Pattaya is scheduled for December 6th. Making that deadline would be a great effort, essentially building a new bar in just 31 days. The grand opening will take place on December 19th and will be celebrated in the manner the owners know best – with a Nanapong dance contest extravaganza. Girls from the new Pattaya Dollhouse will dance off against girls from the Soi Cowboy Dollhouse and the two Club Electric Blue bars. A pig will be sacrificed. I'd expect this to be the last Nanapong event for a while as typically they're not held over high season.
The owner of AfterSkool in Soi Cowboy, a small gogo bar with a long tradition of providing the same services you find at Lolita's to punters right there in the bar, is selling up. Owner John confirms that the venue was put up for sale a month ago but denied a deal had been finalised. He claims there are 5 interested buyers and that he is currently in negotiations. One wonders if a certain Arab is one of the interested parties.
The proposed Big Boobie Bar had some punters positively salivating at the prospect of a gogo bar full of chesty girls, a concept I don't believe the industry has ever seen before in Bangkok. Alas, nothing has come of it. Word was that this was the plans for Billboard but there has been no name or concept change to date and rumour has it the American couple new to the industry and behind the concept may no longer be involved.
Next door to Billboard in the bar once known as Bubbles, little is going on. Bubbles was to split the bar in two, half to be used as the office for Nana Partners, and the other half to be a smaller gogo bar. There has been no progress.
Reports from the neon jungle this week were consistent – Cowboy was doing well, Nana was dead during the week but picked up at the weekend and Patpong was downright miserable. One friend even said it felt like high season in the middle of the week on Soi Cowboy. It may have been quiet in Nana Plaza but the star performer is Spanky's, one of the most consistently busy bars in the industry.
Perhaps a small part of the reason for the resurgence at Cowboy is that Tilac bar is on the upswing. There's a new troop and many are described as lookers. Get there early because by the time the happy hour is over, many of the most attractive have been barfined.
Dollhouse in Soi Cowboy also has several new girls including some who only work high season who have returned for the busy period.
The frontage at Dundee in Soi Cowboy has had a small upgrade, a facade on a budget.
Another single shophouse bar on Soi Cowboy, Five Star has also upgraded their frontage / façade with some new lighting. It's good to see some bars getting a facial before high season proper begins.
Nana, a long-serving mamasan at Long Gun, says things are slow in Long Gun despite the bar having plenty of cuties. Perhaps they should also consider evolving the format which hasn't changed since the '90s.
The urinal trough in Cactus Bar, Soi Cowboy, with funnies mounted on the wall.
If you prefer something a little different to the modern gogo bars that have fancy neon and play the latest hits, you could try Sexy Night in Nana, or check out Cactus in Soi Cowboy. The decor in Cactus winds the clock back two decades and the music a couple more. Millennials won't know a single song from the music playlist which is played on an old computer running a very old version of Windows. In the hong nam, there is no sign of the individual urinals that have replaced the old-style shared trough in many bars and above the trough amusing anecdotes are posted to read while taking a leak – and to make sure you keep your eyes up and don't look down at the punter next to you. Complimentary nuts are still served in the bar and if you ask they may even bring you a cold towel. How long has it been since that was the norm in almost every bar? Cactus is what it is, lacks pretension and has a following. Do check it out.
Still in Soi Cowboy, how can we mention the neon jungle without mentioning The Arab? Bangkok's least popular bar boss rotates the coyote outfits daily with a range of styles from belly dancer to Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders and everything in between. Girls pay 20 baht to rent the outfit of the day each night. There are so many different styles that it would be unreasonable to expect each girl to have to pay for one of every style themselves.
It's Thanksgiving this week and the usual spots will be doing their thing. Bourbon Street will have their usual buffet extravaganza, at 1,250 baht per head and will no doubt be packed to the rafters as half of Bangkok flocks there. For a less harried experience, visit Sunrise Tacos Silom branch for Thanksgiving dinner for 650 baht – details below.
Next Sunday, November 29th, from 6:00 – 8:30 PM, Checkinn99 will screen The Last Executioner – the award-winning, locally-made and produced film followed by a Q&A session with Thai-born producer / director Tom Waller exploring the issues of getting a script to the screen. Based on the true life of the last man in Thailand to hold the job of carrying out executions by rifle in Thailand, it is a brutal biography of a good man in an ugly world. The film is largely set in the infamous Bang Kwang Prison with the nightclub scenes filmed in Checkinn99. The ticket price of 250 baht includes your first welcome house drink and there is free popcorn! More details at Checkinn99.com.
If you've got around 172.5 million baht spare – or around $5 million – you can buy the chain of 4 Dukes restaurants in Chiang Mai. An ad online this week describes a chain of restaurants that could only be Dukes.
And speaking of venues in Chiang Mai for sale, the bar set up by Glen Bullard in Chiang Mai, The Game, is also up for sale. It has been closed for the past 2 weeks and is priced at 4 million baht. My understanding is that the ownership of The Game in Bangkok – the sports bar at street level below the Nana BTS station – is under different ownership and is not for sale.
A popular Pattaya bar boss was sitting in his bar when a Canadian popped by. The Canuck had barfined a fine-looking young lady from Misty's who happened to have great English. After a bit of chit chat they left the bar boss and off they went in to the night. The next evening, the Canadian comes in to the bar again and says what a fantastic night he had the previous night, what a great girl she was and how he was going to go back and barfine her again. He leaves the bar and the following night he comes in and sits down with the bar boss in the same spot. The girls gets up and goes to the ladies room and the bar boss says what a great looking girl she is and inquires where he met her. The Canuck says, "You dumbass, you met her 2 nights ago, that's Xxxx from Misty's, remember?" The bar boss doesn't want to break it to the guy but has to tell him that it's not the same girl. Ah shit, says the Canadian, no wonder she can't speak a word of English today!
Who said tattoos were becoming more acceptable in Thailand? If your girlfriend wants a job as a sexy waitress at any of the Hooters branches in Bangkok, tramp stamps are strictly a no go!
If you're visiting Bangkok, don't be concerned about the widely reported police hassles of foreigners in and around the Asoke area that was such a big talking point this time last year. There have been no reports of police hassles in some time. Police are not stopping and searching foreigners without reason in the Asoke area, nor anywhere else in Bangkok – at least not as far as I have heard. Pamphlets handed out to punters in Soi Cowboy last weekend state that police can only search foreigners at a local police station.
The pamphlet handed out to punters in Soi Cowboy by police last weekend.
Quote of the week comes from a reader, "Is there a more dangerous place in east Asia than the balcony of a hotel in Thailand?"
Incompetence on a grand scale after the Bangkok half marathon course is found to be 7 km too long!
The Bangkok Post ran a great video of a passenger who confronts a taxi driver who tried to rip him off.
A Frenchman's descent from a hotel balcony in Chiang Mai is not deemed suspicious.
Thais reflect on how Bangkok is becoming less liveable.
A Thai waitressing in the US misses out on a tip because she is a Thai.
Singapore's Straits Times reports that Bangkok's Suwannaphum Airport is bursting at the seams.
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: While searching for a condo in Bangkok I sometimes see the phrase, "All of expenses fee and taxes at Land Department share 50/50." This sounds more like a factor when buying property as I never came across something similar before. What exactly does it mean for rental properties?
Sunbelt Legal responds: Usually this phrase, "All of expenses fee and taxes at Land Department share 50/50” refers to the sale of real property and the buyer and seller would be equally responsible for the costs in transferring the property at the Land Department. The costs would include the registration fee, seller's income tax, duty stamp or specific business tax.
However, in rental cases it probably refers to the lease registration fees due at the Land Department that is over in three years in length. Such as a 30-year lease. Normally leases less than three years are not registered with the Land Department. Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors recommends that people go over lease contracts carefully to determine any legal issues that may come up.
Question 2: Can I start a high-tech business in Thailand that deals with perhaps military-type electronics and sensitive technologies and what would this entail? Do I need a special license[s] or certifications?
Sunbelt Legal responds: It is difficult to ascertain if you would need a special license or not given the description. Thai law is rather complex and so it would need specifics to determine licensing. Please feel free to make an appointment with Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors to meet with one of our legal advisors to discuss your business plan and the requirements of Thai law.
Question 3: 2 years ago my wife's car was rented in Phuket and then sold cheaply by the renter (to pay gambling debts) to a dealer in Nikon Sri Thammarat via Phang Nga to be sold with fake papers there. The owner of the dealership is influential and an ex-policeman. At the time, my wife had 2 years of payments left, and I asked her who had co-signed the loan. She told me only her ex co-worker who is a housekeeper with no assets to lose. We talked and I advised her not to make any more payments, take the credit score hit, and save for a new car in my name 2 or 3 years later. The car thief was tried and did about 8 months of a 3-year sentence, and all in all we received about 90,000 baht. Fast forward to now, her parents bring a stack of letters to us, and a surveyor(?) / appraiser(?) has come to value her parents' modest home in Ao Por, Phuket. Apparently, my mother-in-law co-signed too and my wife did not understand the consequences of this. She is the first person in her family to take out a consumer loan, and ignorant of finance and credit. The mother-in-law has the chanote of the family home in her name, and the property will be auctioned on November 28 to pay off the now 500,000+ (usurious interest and penalties on 2 years of payments) for the car to the finance company. I do not have the cash to make this go away, and if this happens, then my mother and father-in-law, brother-in-law, his wife, sister-in-law, her husband, and 5 children under age 6 will come to stay with us in our 2-bedroom home. Is there any service here like debt restructuring or consolidation whereupon I could make monthly payments of 10,000 – 20,000 baht until the debt is cleared, and avoid the sale of the house? In the USA a debt relief service would just pay it off and then you have to pay them back over a period with interest.
Sunbelt Legal responds: From your description, your in-laws might have already passed the debt restructuring stage. Usually the debtor has to approach the lenders / creditors to negotiate on the repayment scheme (which is also known as Debt Restructuring). But if the debtor refuses to repay or negotiate, the Lenders / Creditors would proceed with their formal claim through court for whatever amount owed by the borrower and if they are unable to recoup the entire amount then they would then continue their claim with the borrower's guarantor.
In this case, it would seem that a court ruling has been made as well as the prosecutor ordered to confiscate any assets in the borrower's name where these assets would be auctioned out.
Auctioning of assets does not always mean the end of the debt, as the Lender / Creditor may further pursue with legal action in order to obtain the full debt. But in the case if the auctioned amount is greater than the amount owed, then the remaining balance will be given to the owner of the asset auctioned.
What's next for this column?
The look of this site and the format of this column have hardly changed in 15 years. I've always felt that the layout and the content mix work well and have never really felt the need to change it……until now. Actually, I don't think it needs to change but I feel a bit restless and a change might motivate me to try a bit harder. I don't want to mess with things but….I can't shake the feeling that it's time for a change. If you have any ideas for changes which may improve the column, don't be shy to let me know. I'll consider all suggestions.