Stickman's Weekly Column October 9th, 2016

Who Do You Think You Are?


 

The warm weather, low cost of living and ready availability of comely women are not the only reasons some head for South-East Asia.  The region attracts misfits from developed countries who can start again.  It can be a fresh start, a chance to bury your background and reinvent yourself.  With more than a few expats in Thailand things just don’t add up and I often find myself thinking, who do you think you are?

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The biggest story of the year in Bangkok expat society broke a couple of weeks ago when three foreigners – initially thought to be two Americans and a Brit, but later shown to be all Americans – were arrested in a building in the Onut area after tip-offs that counterfeit passports were being produced.  Police officers executing a search warrant probably expected to find material used for making dodgy documents.  Instead, they discovered the dismembered body of a Caucasian in a freezer.

It took a few days before the true identities of those arrested were established and their names released, along with the name of another American known to hang out with one of them.  At that point I did what I often do in high profile cases in Thailand involving foreigners, I searched for their respective names in my email inbox.

Over the years I’ve had hundreds of thousands of emails from tens of thousands of people – and when the names of foreigners appear in the mainstream press it’s interesting to see if they have ever been in contact with me.  As a confidant for many expats in Thailand over a long period of time, many have revealed stuff about their colourful life in Thailand, telling me things I doubt they would even tell their priest.

With two of the four names I hit pay dirt.

Of the three arrested Americans, Jim Eger had sent me numerous lengthy emails several years ago.  They didn’t strike me as suspicious at the time, but rereading them now with the benefit of hindsight and what has been reported about the case, they piqued my curiosity.

And then there was the guy who was said to have been hastily cremated whose name I recognised immediately.  He’d sent a lot of emails to me over the years and shared much about his complicated private life.

Jim Eger revealed rather more about himself to a stranger in those emails than one normally would, notwithstanding that I guess the column and “Stick” have functioned as a sympathetic ear to Bangkok’s many lost and wandering souls.  Rereading our initial email exchange, it strikes me that he was trying to create a favourable impression of himself as something of an old Asia hand.  He was not shy to name-drop a well-known, long-term, respected foreign restaurateur who some rumours say is former CIA – and someone who Jim would obviously knew I was familiar with.  I got the impression that he was attempting to cultivate some sort of relationship.

Another part of the email that didn’t ring any alarms bells at the time – but does today – was talk of his involvement with renewable energy.  As every savvy Bangkok expat knows, renewable energy is the #1 industry the boiler room boys – past and present – love to say they’re involved with.  Green, renewable and anything good for the environment, it immediately makes people think positive things, puts them at ease and helps to get them to lower their guard.  Someone working with something good for the environment could not be up to no good, right?  That’s not to say that Jim had connections to Bangkok’s notorious financial scammers – on the contrary, there is absolutely nothing to suggest he was.  Like I say, in Bangkok expat society, when anyone talks about “renewable” or “green” energy, be careful!

Some things just didn’t sound right in his emails and his willingness to tell me rather too much about himself makes me wonder what he may have been up to.  The emails were very well written, clearly the words of someone well-educated who had his shit together, not another lost expat or hapless newbie sharing the same old bargirl done me wrong story.  At the same time the words read a little like they were rehearsed.

As further details emerged in the mainstream press about the body in the freezer case, a couple of friends who had seen these clowns around town made contact.

Eger was often observed hitting on the coyotes in Tilac but despite claiming 3 decades in the region and 25+ years since first visiting Thailand, those in the know thought he seemed overwhelmed when things got wild in the bars, hardly the sort of reaction you’d expect from someone who talked like he was a man about town.  For a while he was shacked up with a dancer from Shark on Soi Cowboy who he absolutely doted on, and dropped serious cash on at times.

I tried to separate facts from opinion, verify those so-called facts with emails I had received from Eger, marry that up with reports from those I know who had seen him around, filter out the bullshit, analyse it all and come up with my own conclusions.  It was all rather murky and the analysis being made in the mainstream press didn’t really add up.  Passport forgers these guys were not.

Eger’s email introducing himself was very much written to give the impression of an old Asia hand.  Maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t.  From first visiting the region in 1978, he made his visit to Patpong when it was at its best, in 1984.  He offered various thoughts about not just Bangkok, but Jakarta, a city I wrote about at that time, shortly after my one and only visit.  He loveed Jakarta and shared a photo of himself with an Indonesian lovely.

 

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5’4” Eger with a tiny Indonesian freelancer.

 

What really had me scratching my head was his line about reading Stickman since its inception.  Let’s be frank, in the early days this site was but the words of someone new to the region, someone who didn’t know shit.  For a guy whose first visit had been 20 years earlier, what would be gained from my early ramblings?  It wasn’t like the site was full of beautiful photos at that time – those didn’t come until many years later.  With the benefit of time, that line about reading this site since its inception doesn’t add up and makes me think he was trying to get me to warm to him.

An oil man of many decades in Asia, you’d expect him to have done well for himself, so this paragraph in an email from 2009 had me scratching my head.

Meanwhile, here in Thailand, in addition to working on my new energy company I have been looking at some businesses possibilities in Bangkok, including gogo bars.  The economics of a well run bar are certainly compelling.  I would be interested in talking with you about this at some point.

Was he serious about entering the bar biz, or was this perhaps a ruse to reel me in and meet me?  Genuine old Asia hands know the perils of the bar industry and besides, I would expect an oil man of many decades to have made his money already.  Why risk it all in the bar biz?!

Eger was a fan of the nightlife and a regular at Tilac in its heyday.  Years later he would be spotted in Crazy House.  Most recent reports have it that the crew had gone rather down-market, soi 22 said to be the area they frequented.

Eger did sound like a decent enough sort in his emails and was clearly no moron, but how much of what Eger had told me about himself was kosher?  No matter how well-written and engaging his emails were, when you see a guy plastered over news reports being frogmarched away from a building by armed police where a dismembered foreigner was found in a freezer you can’t help but question everything.

The next name from the news story of the year that rung a bell was Robert Grundy.  The mainstream media reported that Robert Grundy’s body had been taken to a temple by one of the three Americans arrested and hurriedly cremated after Robert had lost his battle with cancer.

Grundy had emailed me frequently and divulged much about himself, from his life as a professor in the USA to retiring to Bangkok and living in Sukhumvit soi 22, from his marriage (which must have gone south at some point) to how he ended up living with a gogo dancer from Rawhide (yeah, the bar name is peculiarly spelled as one word) who worked each evening and returned home to him at the end of the night having performed all of the duties such work requires.  In fairness to the late Robert, there was nothing in his emails that struck me as unusual, nothing that stood out and he simply seemed to be a regular reader who enjoyed sharing parts of his life with me.

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Just some of the emails Grundy sent me.

I’ve long been weary of my fellow expat in Bangkok and you don’t need a psychology major to see that many Bangkok expats are not what they seem.

Many fib about their life before Bangkok.  Common tall tales revolve around what they did in the West job-wise and by definition how much money they earned / how much they have today.  I know in a lot of countries people are judged to some extent by the amount of money they have but to me as a New Zealander, this isn’t easy to get my head around.  We grew up with the idea that if you had money, you played it down and for those who did have it, flaunting it was the last thing you did.  OK, so things have changed a little, but those of my generation and certainly those older don’t look fondly at those who flaunt their wealth.

Next on the list of dodgy expat porky pies is education.  Some are so bold they may claim to be a doctor; others simply inflate their level of education – they might have a bachelor’s but they’ll tell you they have a Master’s.

Some think there is a certain street cred to be gained by putting the word out that they are / were a spy or were in the military, usually in some elite / clandestine or Special Forces unit.  Invariably it’s the Navy Seals for the Americans, the SAS for the Brits.

Funnily enough, there is one reasonably well-known bar industry figure who really was in the Special Air Service.  He never talks about it and is at pains to change the subject if it comes up.  Anyone who claims to be part of the military elite or the spying fraternity almost certainly is not.  All blubber and bluster, most making these ridiculous claims wouldn’t get through a week of basic training.

One-upmanship has long been part of the Bangkok expat landscape.

And then there are those who claim connections to some criminal organisation.  It’s a riot when they tell you how they are part of the farang mafia and they start making threats, claiming to be friends with someone with a ridiculous name like Herbert the Horrible, who they say was a Chicago or LA or New York gang-land figure.  Sometimes, it’s hard not to laugh!

Sooner or later the lies are found out.  Anyone who claims to be a doctor, for example, will have published papers and a Google search with no results is all the proof you need that they are not what they say.  Google is the bane of the expat con man.

My feeling is that most who reinvent themselves do so not to con or cheat.  Most likely they’re just lonely, and with poor social skills they just don’t know how to make friends.  I guess they see those with money and who have tasted success as having a wide circle of friends and try to create a false persona about themselves in the hope they too will have friends, and respect.

Getting back to the three arrested Americans and the body in the freezer case, just what were they up to?

There have various theories but most don’t add up.

Con men?  Petty criminals trying to punch above their weight?  Asian old hands gone feral?  Nothing really adds up.

And then the other English language daily let slip what some of us were thinking.  Are they wannabe spooks or could it be that one or two of them really are from the agency?

Eger’s emails to me during the red shirt occupation in Bangkok struck me that he really wanted to know what was going on (as if I really knew).

 

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During the red shirt occupation of downtown Bangkok, 2010.

 

A friend who got to know the wicked 3 was invited to Madrid, the legendary Patpong bar / eatery which was a known hangout for 3-letter agency types in times go past.  There, another of the wicked 3, Aaron, tried to pull the topic around to military matters, making himself out as a vet.  At the same time, Eger was present and joined them in conversation, Eger pointing out various people in the bar, claiming that they were heavies or connected, the veracity of which could not be checked.

Were these guys spooks?  Were they wannabe spooks?  Were they small-time criminals?  Were one or two of them in the wrong place at the wrong time?  Or do we have it all wrong?

Just who knows what James Eger and his two cohorts really were up to?  And where does Robert Grundy fit in to it all?  I very much doubt the printing presses were running hot at Freezer Towers and producing counterfeit travel documents for profit makes no sense.  That game is dominated by the Iranians and the Pakistanis.  Being found with dodgy travel papers and a dismembered corpse suggests they were more than your typical Bangkok expats.

With fake passports and guns, these guys went to great lengths to reinvent themselves.  I can’t shake the feeling that at the very least there is a connection with a 3-letter agency.  Were one, perhaps two of them really clandestine agents?  It’s plausible, even if I would expect agency types to be far more proficient than this lot.

In the case of Eger, was Bangkok supposed to be a sweet exit for an old asset that ended up going pear-shaped?

Bangkok’s expat underbelly is full of dodgy expats who have reinvented themselves.  For every foreigner in Bangkok who has reinvented himself, fortunately I have only ever heard of one who had the headless corpse of a fellow farang stored in their freezer.

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Where was this photo taken?

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Last week’s photo was taken in Soi Pattayaland 2 in Pattaya and was one of the toughest photos ever posted.  Amazingly, a few people got it right!  I’ve gone the other way with this week’s photo which I think is probably one of the easiest ever published.

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 – Stickman analogous to Don Meuang.

Regarding the new format of the site, it somehow brought to mind the comparison of Bangkok’s two airports.  The first time I flew in to Don Meuang, it felt 3rd world, like something frozen in time from decades past.  Dark, low ceilings, aged past its prime and yet comfortable.  After a few trips it was easily navigable and refreshing after the sterile monoliths at Seoul or Tokyo.  I still enjoy flying out of Don Meuang domestically, due mostly to the excitement and charm of those first memories.  (Who puts a golf course between two runways?!)  Now we have a modern, more technically advanced (though sometimes glitchy) aerodrome that stripped of the signage would look like most any other big city airfields on the planet.  Hopefully the new website will retain the character and flavour of the old, like Don Meuang, while modernizing with newer technology and features, like we hope Suvarnabhumi someday will!

Head south.

A few years ago the missus and I did the South Thailand thing, as reported to you at the time.  You said we were crazy for going but a great time was had chatting up friendly people and enjoying southern Thailand food for a few days.  My only regret was missing Narathiwat.  I was treated like a celebrity as they hadn’t seen a farang in quite some time.  Some wanted me to stay, teach English and take three more wives.  Four wives?  FORGETABOUTIT!  I would suggest anyone looking for a new and exciting Thai experience to visit the south.

Girl numbers in the industry.

I visit Bangkok and Pattaya 3 times a year and most bars I frequent have no shortage of girls whatsoever.  Whilst Bangkok might well be a different kettle of fish, in Pattaya I never actually thought there was a reduction in the number of available girls.  Simply that in the last 10 years or so there was a huge increase in the number of gogo bars all fighting to recruit from the same pool of available or potential dancers.

It’s time to learn Chinese.

Everyone knows Chinese tourists are invading Thailand but seeing it in action is pretty amazing.  I just spent a few days scuba diving in Phuket.  My mini-van from the airport was 80% Chinese.  I was one of the few westerners at my hotel (there were some people from India, too).  I was talking to a dive instructor and the previous day 30 of 32 divers were Chinese.  He mentioned the Russians are slowly trickling back, but it’s the Chinese who are filling up Phuket these days.  This week was a Chinese holiday so there were probably way more than normal, though.

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Thumbs up for Chula Hospital.

I’m an old guy with varied and advanced health problems.  I recently left Bumrungrad after 20 years as a patient when a tiny tube of antibiotic cream was added to my bill and the price seemed exorbitant.  I checked the product at neighbourhood pharmacies and the cost was 100 baht (50 baht for a generic), while Bummer-rungrad charged 269!  When I began meetings at other private hospitals, I was told (at Samitivej) that Bumrungrad set the standard now when it came to costs.  There are still many private hospitals that are cheaper, where care is reported to be excellent, but the trend is clear.  However, I have jumped the fence and now take my problems to Chulalongkorn, the hulking cluster of buildings opposite Lumpini Park, praised recently (and rightly) by you for its ER.  Like all “local” (state-operated) places, it’s not for the faint-hearted; I spend 3 to 7 hours when I go there, most of it sitting in big rooms full of others waiting for our number or name to be called and paper records brought up from somewhere.  When you go “local,” you leave some modern convenience behind i.e. computerized records.  It’s also more than a bit of a maze and although most of the docs and older nurses speak English, you really must have a Thai speaker with you and they ask you to.  While much of the care (usually including the docs) is free, you must further be prepared to pay for everything (meds, tests, rooms, some surgery, etc.) upfront if you don’t have acceptable insurance coverage.  The main thing is: don’t sweat the quality of care; the only thing separating the docs at Chula and Bumrungrad may be language facility.

Prescription medicine and hospitals.

I recently had a sinus infection similar to your friend and went to the “best” hospital here in Phuket.  I was given a prescription for the antibiotic Cipro for 5 days (10 pills) which I filled there and was told to come back in one week.  The cost was 900 baht for the medicine alone, which I thought was quite high.  I thought that 5 days might not be enough time to clear it up 100% and the conspiracy theorist in me also thought the doctor may have under-prescribed the medicine so that when I went back he could claim I was only at let’s say 95% so that I would then have to do 5 more days and then return the following week (garnering more physician fees on top of more medicine costs).  So I went to my local pharmacy and bought another 10 pills for 100 baht!  This was so I would have enough for the entire week (not just 5 days) before the follow-up.  I am all for making a profit, but a 9x markup over a competitor’s price is just taking the piss.  I would advise your Thailand-based readers to go to the “best” hospital near them to get diagnosed and prescribed, but to then go somewhere else to fill it or get treatment!

Vietnam less American-friendly.

In August I purchased a ticket to Vietnam from Thailand for this coming January only to find out this morning that Vietnam has cancelled one-month 30 USD visas for Americans and now we must buy a one-year visa for 4.5 times the price, 135 USD!  A Vietnam tourism official was interviewed and said the reason for the change is because the US government asked Vietnam to increase visa stays for Americans.  That did not mean do away with the one-month visa which most Americans use, forcing us to pay 135 USD for a one-year visa!  I have cancelled my Vietnam trip.  I cannot get a refund for the air fare but I would rather spend the money in Thailand than in Vietnam.  It makes me not feel sorry for the war!

 

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Girl of the Week

Tiffany, escort from PureBangkokEscorts

A former massage girl turned escort,
you can get your aches kneaded and needs seen to!

 

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Sukhumvit soi 11, this past Tuesday night was street vendor-free.

 

Whenever I comment on how I believe it’s a good thing that street vendors in some of the more congested streets in downtown Bangkok are being forced to relocate elsewhere I receive emails saying that I heartless and livelihoods are being lost.  At the end of the day, things had got so far out of control in parts of downtown Bangkok with sex toys, adult movies and fake pharmaceuticals openly on display for sale that something had to give.  And this week it did with the Tessakit (the brown-shirted city hall officers, often mistaken for police) out in force on Sukhumvit Road between Nana and Asoke on Tuesday evening, acting on orders outlawing vendors from setting up and trading in that area.  All roadside vendors have been removed from between the Nana and Asoke intersections and the north / odd-numbered sois on Sukhumvit.  Will this be the end of street vendors on the busiest part of Sukhumvit?  One suspects it will be.

Still on the busiest part of Sukhumvit, just when it finally got going and is consistently busy most nights, Hemingway’s – the beautifully decked out bar and restaurant in the old colonial house on Sukhumvit soi 14 – announced earlier this week that it would close at the end of the month with the historic house to be demolished to make way for yet another high-rise to go up.  What a shame for a venue that promised so much and which was finally fulfilling its potential.

Sukhumvit soi 33 just won’t be the same with confirmation that The Office bar will revert to the landlord.  The landlord owns Bless Residence, the hotel at the end of the soi, took back Mojo’s with what was described as an impossibly high demand for rent and key money.  As was mentioned in last week’s column, The Office had been up for sale for quite some time.  The building opposite The Office that once housed Mojo’s will be developed into another hotel, and The Office will be converted in to a central kitchen to cater for the two hotels.  There will be three days of farewell bashes starting Friday, November 11, and ending on Sunday, November 13.  The Office had a following amongst those who have been around Bangkok a long time, going back to when The Office was one of the best bars on all of Sukhumvit, one of very few venues which appealed to those looking for a decent pub-style meal, those looking for companionship and those keen to watch the rugby, or other live sport.  It’s worth noting that Saturday, October 15, is owner Bob’s birthday.  Do drop by to wish him well on what will be his last birthday celebration at The Office.

Enter is the name of the new bar under construction on the top floor of Nana Plaza, next to Billboard.  Obviously Thais are behind it – who else would come up with a name for a bar like that?

Contrary to what I wrote last week, the renovation of Jail Birdz on the top floor of Nana is not complete.  Sigh, that’s the sort of factual error that appears in this column when I am not there on the ground to verify things myself.

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Another bar in Nana Plaza which has undergone a much-needed renovation is the ever popular Spanky’s.  The middle floor Nana Plaza bar is sporting new sofas which have helped to freshen it up.  May I suggest the sound system be added to the list of things to be looked at.  At the very least it could do with a tune-up.

Construction of the official Nana Plaza office is progressing slowly after a long period of nothing.  But don’t go thinking it will be a place that bar customers can drop by unannounced and provide feedback.  It won’t!  That would be like opening the door to a bunch of crazies.  And in fairness to the operators of the plaza, bargoers are not their customers, rather the bars which lease space from them are.

Over in Patpong, Club Electric Blue has a happy hour all night on Sundays with house drinks 2 for 1 all night long.

As we approach that in-between time when the worst of the low season has passed but it’s not yet the high season, the verdict about this low season is in – and it’s not pretty.  It has been a miserable low season for most bars, and certainly worse than the low season of recent years.  Some bars have done very well – Crazy House, Billboard and Bacarra, but most venue owners who are open to talking about trade tell me that this year’s low season was down on previous years, all of which confirms what we already know – while Thailand is welcoming more international visitors than ever before, the mix has changed and naughty boys i.e. the red-light bar crowd make up a smaller percentage than ever.

On the back of the poor low season come reports of skirmishes and cat fights amongst the girls, a sure sign that they’re making less money and feeling the pinch.  That’s not to say any girls will go hungry – they won’t – rather that they simply won’t have the same amount of discretionary spending money or funds to send home as they may have had in the past.

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I have an update on Muay, the lady who danced in The Strip who was attacked by a fellow dancer with a knife, sliced up and left disfigured.  Since suffering burns in an unrelated incident from a burning hot wok, Muay has been unable to work.  A very kind-hearted reader has liaised with the managers of The Strip and this week sent a significant sum of money to help Muay, money which will be drip-fed to her over the coming months so that it isn’t all spent at once.  There are some extremely kind and generous readers out there.

There was a time when Thais and expats alike would take shopping trips to Singapore or Hong Kong to buy electronic goods which used to be much cheaper in each of those places than Bangkok.  I did that myself once, flying down to the Lion City to buy a camera that was about $500 cheaper in Singapore than in Bangkok, the difference in price essentially covering the airfare and hotel.  That is turning the clock back many years.  Singapore is no longer the bargain it once was for electronic goods and in the case of photography gear, prices are much of a muchness between Bangkok and Singapore.  And don’t forget that if you, as a tourist, make any major purchases in Thailand like camera gear, you qualify for a VAT refund.  With that discount, camera gear in Thailand is almost as cheap as in the States – and in some cases may even be cheaper.  It should also be noted that hotel prices in Singapore have reached levels that may cause you to consider whether you really want to go there – especially when there are much more affordable options in the region like Kuala Lumpur or Saigon.

I truly believe that the average Stickman reader is somewhat smarter and a more savvy breed of traveller and expat than most – so you probably don’t need to hear the following: Wearing large gold chains around your neck in Pattaya is inviting trouble!  There have been a lot of reports in the Pattaya press recently of foreign visitors draped in gold having their jewellery swiped and the perp zipping away on a motorbike.  Leave the gold chain (and the pretension) at home.

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What can the girls do to tempt Americans back in big numbers?

 

It’s not that long ago that Americans made up the biggest group of visitors in the bar areas and were probably also the largest group of Western expats.  American IP addresses used to make up over a third of all traffic to this website and if you counted Americans in Thailand, at one time perhaps as many as 45% of all readers of this site were American.   Things have changed and these days the American contingent in Thailand is noticeably smaller.  Americans no longer dominate bar customer numbers and you’re just as likely to come across an Aussie in a bar and are probably more likely to encounter a Brit than you are an American.  Some American friends tell me that things have not been easy for many in their homeland in recent years but I wonder if that is the reason why there has been such a marked drop in the number of Americans you see in the bars and how Americans comprise such a small percentage of new expats than in the past.  I know the world is changing but what has happened to all you Americans?!  It would be interesting to hear from the horse’s mouth, so to speak and particularly from those of you who used to visit Thailand but now don’t.

Spare a thought for our British friends whose currency took a pounding this week.  For a long time the Brits were getting 60+ baht for every pound Sterling before it fell and levelled out at around 50.  Now, it’s around 43 baht to the pound and at some banks it could be as low as 42.  British pensioners in Thailand have to be feeling it.  Will this have an effect on the number of Brits visiting Thailand?  Maybe, maybe not.  My feeling is that it might have more of an effect on the mix of Brits visiting Thailand.  The pound is down against all major currencies so Brits who were planning a trip to Australia or New Zealand might say, bugger it, those destinations are too expensive now, we’ll go somewhere cheap like Thailand instead.

I notice one area where readers are in almost complete agreement is their thoughts on braces on Thai women, something which is becoming increasingly common on girls working in bars.  No-one likes them!  But you know what?  Telling the ladies that Western guys don’t go for it won’t change things one bit; in fact I wouldn’t be surprised if such comments were the catalyst for some who did not have braces to get out and get some!

Another reminder that the best email address to reach me at is [email protected]

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Quote of the week is a Line message from the mate of a reader, “This is the first time I’ve been in the Soi 7 Biergarten and not been relentlessly pursued by my wife to come home immediately. I must be getting old and unattractive.”

Ladyboys rip a gold chain off the neck of a Chinaman in Pattaya who says he will never visit Pattaya again.

The same happens to a Russian whose wife’s gold chain is ripped from around her neck and in chasing the perp they crash their motorbike, hitting an innocent victim!

On Walking Street, tour guides are arrested for promoting sex shows.

40 years on, the traumatic events of October 6, 1976, are recounted and reflected on.

Apologies and compensation for two hilltribe girls wrongly accused of stealing a tourist’s wristwatch.

More foreigners in Soi Nana are being stopped by police and asked to show ID.

The Bangkok Post reports that my old friend Nick Nostitz is leaving Bangkok and heading back to Germany after 23 years in Thailand.

A Ferarri is washed away by flood waters in Thailand!

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Sunbelt Asia

Question 1: This week Stick commented on our rights (or lack thereof) when arrested in Thailand. Could you please clarify for me just what rights I have if I happen to be arrested in Thailand. I doubt it will ever happen, but I’d still like to know. Do we have the right to a lawyer? Do we have the right to contact our embassy? Do we have the right to remain silent? Is it advantageous to do so? Do we have the right to a translator? I was told that we can be held for 84 days without charge. Surely that cannot possibly be correct! Any information you can provide about what our rights are and any other relevant information such as what we should or should not do and any general advice would be much appreciated.

Sunbelt Legal responds:  Prisoners can be held for up to ninety-six (96) days without being charged.  This 96-day rule is only applied for major crimes, and most prisoners can legally be held for up to forty-eight (48) days without being formally charged.  A prisoner can be held in prison for 2 days by the police + 48 days by the court before even being charged.

Thailand did adopt the First United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, held at Geneva in 1955, and it was approved by the Economic and Social Council by its resolutions 663 C (XXIV) of 31 July 1957 and 2076 (LXII) of 13 May 1977

The rights under this resolution are;

  1. Prisoners shall be allowed under necessary supervision to communicate with their family and reputable friends at regular intervals, both by correspondence and by receiving visits.
  2. (1) Prisoners who are foreign nationals shall be allowed reasonable facilities to communicate with the diplomatic and consular representatives of the State to which they belong.

(2) Prisoners who are nationals of States without diplomatic or consular representation in the country and refugees or stateless persons shall be allowed similar facilities to communicate with the diplomatic representative of the State which takes charge of their interests or any national or international authority whose task it is to protect such persons.

An arrestee must enjoy the following rights from the moment he is arrested by the authorities:

  • He must receive explanation on why he is being arrested;
  • He must be shown a copy of the warrant, if available;
  • He has the right to remain silent;
  • He must be told that if he makes any statement, the statement may be used against as evidence against him;
  • He has the right to an independent and competent counsel, to meet him in private and to secure his attendance during proceedings;
  • He has the right to call a relative, friend or other party;
  • He has the right to talk to a relative, friend or lawyer privately;
  • He has the right to receive adequate medical treatment, if needed.

ladyboysbangkok

pattaya-jet-ski

I’m still getting up to speed with the new version of the site.

Thanks for all of your emails and thoughts on the new design of the site.  Your feedback has resulted in a number of issues being addressed, but there’s still work to do.  Migrating the old version of the site over to the new format has been a large job and is still not 100% finished.  Please do not be shy to point out anything you feel could be improved or needs looking at.  With regards to the readers’ submissions section of the site, I will continue to publish readers’ stories as long as they come in, but please note that there has been a bit of a delay recently in publishing readers’ stories with a few in the queue not yet uploaded as we concentrate on addressing other issues first.  Yes, I know the new design looks a little different and may take a bit of getting used to it but I am warming to it, and I hope you are too.

 

Your Bangkok commentator,
Stick