Stickman's Weekly Column March 19th, 2017

One More Investigation

 

It was early in the first year of the new millennium when I ventured in to Fantasia in Nana Plaza one night for the specific purpose of finding out if a young American’s girlfriend who happened to dance in that bar was on the straight and narrow.  That was the first time I charged a fee for a bargirl investigation.  I would very quickly discover that Miss Fantasia was available to anyone who showed an interest her, in contravention of her agreement with the American.  Despite receiving the news that she was still going with customers, he married her anyway.  Several years later he and I would meet up for a chat in the coffee shop in the Nana Hotel where he told me how bad the decision to stay with her had been, how it had been an emotional roller coaster and how he had ultimately taken a massive financial hit.

I used to do a lot of bargirl investigations and there was a time I loved it.  At this site’s peak I was carrying out an average 6 or 7 investigations per month.  It was a nice little earner but more than that, it gave me a reason to visit bars and bar areas I otherwise might not stop by.  That meant that when it came time to put together the week’s column I had covered lots of ground and had plenty to write about.

But I would come to dislike doing bargirl investigations.  Fun to carry out, but horrible to be giving people bad news for the most part.  So when the number of investigations dropped off, there was a corresponding drop in stress and the bad news stories in my life.

I still receive few bargirl investigation enquiries these days – but for the most part I can’t help.  You can’t check on a girl in Bangkok or Pattaya when you’re living in Auckland.  I was in Thailand recently and a private investigator friend referred a case to me.  I had some free time so I thought, why not?

My pal specialises in relationship cases but refuses jobs that require work in the bars.  Up until I left Thailand, he would refer all enquiries for cases in the bars to me, and I referred enquiries I got that required work outside of the bar industry to him.

The enquiry was from an Aussie.  Bonus, Aussies are the best customers.  Easy to deal with, no sugar-coating what’s going on and they almost never try to negotiate the (already very low) price.  We got on the phone and had a chat about his situation.

He’d been in Thailand late last year and had met a lady in a Soi Cowboy gogo bar.  They’d enjoyed each other’s company and stayed in touch after he returned to Australia.  He was due to return to Bangkok in April but he missed her like crazy and couldn’t wait that long, so he made a quick trip to Bangkok to see her in February.  His feelings for her grew and they planned to spend more time together in April when he would return for a 3-week stay.

He was not comfortable knowing that she was going with customers, but was realistic enough to know that she needed money to live.  He asked her if he could pay her an amount of money to tie her over for the 6 weeks he would be away so she would not have to go with customers.  She said 20,000 baht would cover her expenses for that time.  She would continue to work in the bar where she would still earn her monthly salary, lady drink commissions and tips – but she would not go with customers.  He was happy with that.

They were in constant contact, talking every day on the phone and texting day and night.  As keen as he was on her, he was not new to Thailand and the ways of the Thai ladies.  He’d been a regular visitor to Phuket for several years and had seen many Aussies fall for Thai bargirls, only to later be disappointed. He thought it prudent to check that she was keeping her end of the bargain.

I explained to him from the outset that while I had never kept stats, most investigations ended badly.  In more than 80% of cases she was up to no good.  In another 10% of cases you never found her – she no longer worked in the bar and had disappeared and the result was listed as undetermined.  In less than 10% of cases the lady being looked in to checked out ok.

I reiterated that seldom did investigations end well.  I told him that it was very likely that she was still going with customers, not because she was a bad person, but simply because she probably felt like she could get away with it.  I suggested that perhaps it was best to look at her as a holiday girlfriend and not someone to get serious about.  But he was very keen on her and he wanted to know.  He insisted that we proceed with an investigation.

He had done everything right.  He had provided her with enough money to cover her expenses and live comfortably, but not so much as to spoil her.  He was in regular contact with her.  He had indicated that his next trip would be a chance to see how they felt about each other with a view to looking towards and perhaps even planning for a future together.  He was mid 40s, she mid 30s so there was no crazy age gap. Photos of them together showed a handsome couple.  They really did look like a good match.

I had her nickname and a few photos of her.  I would go to the bar, find her, engage her and see where it all went.

I got to Long Gun early.  I had to – it was a Friday, the night randy expats treat themselves after a hard week in the office.  Long Gun is timeless.  It has undergone renovations but the layout remains exactly how I remember it when I first visited in the ’90s.  Much of the music was from the ’90s, as were the shows – and maybe even some of the girls danced in the bar way back then too.  There’s a pretty decent argument that Long Gun was the bar on Soi Cowboy for the best part of a decade.  But that’s the past.  I arrived to a full lineup of girls and just two customers.

I spotted her straight away.  I smiled and gestured that she join me.

This was as simple an investigation as they come – to verify if she was barfineable.  The hardest part in bar investigations can be finding the girl, especially in large bars with poor lighting.  The Rainbow bars are a nightmare in that respect but then I never did many jobs there – those girls prefer short-time so there’s less chance of something developing with a customer.  Bargirls come and go and it’s not a good idea to ask for a girl by name.  And with the vast majority coming from the Isaan region, in dim light many have a similar look.  Without any tattoos or distinguishing features, the “slim, dark skin, long dark hair, sweet smile” description accurately describes about three-quarters of gogo dancers.  In locating her I had achieved the hardest task of the night.

A lady drink was offered immediately.  Her English was good but I preferred to chat in Thai.  It makes the girls more comfortable and at ease.

I used to always say that I was Michael from Australia, but given the client was an Aussie I used my backup ID of Tom, a Brit living just outside London – which just like Michael in Sydney is actually the name and location of a good mate.

I made out I had previously lived in Bangkok, hence I was comfortable speaking Thai.  Speaking Thai seemed to put her ease and she opened up.

She would tell me about her life, about the daughter she had with a foreign guy who left her and broke her heart, and the age-old story of a child being raised upcountry by parents as she worked in Bangkok to support the family.  She claimed 7 months in the bar but her English was way too good for that.  7 years would be closer to the truth.

It was the usual chitchat about nothing in particular.  The last thing you do is rush her.  Make her comfortable and before long she will give you all the answers you’re looking for without so much as a single question asked.

The Aussie had struck me as a good sort with old-fashioned values – hard-working, fair and the sort who would always try to do what was right.  Thais seem to flourish in Australia which I think comes down to a combination of things from the good weather, the fact that the country is English-speaking, Thailand is a relatively short flight away and in Sydney there is a large Thai community.  I really hoped she was doing the right thing but as soon as she told me where she lived I knew it wasn’t to be.  She told me that she lived above the bar.  There was no way she was only dancing in the bar and not going with customers if she lived upstairs.

The upstairs living spaces in Soi Cowboy bars are grim.  Cramped, little or no natural light and zero privacy.  She would seize every opportunity to get away from the bar.

As the conversation progressed, there was one question I had to put to her – did she have someone special?  Perhaps a Thai man upcountry?  Perhaps someone in Bangkok?  Or maybe even a foreign guy supporting her from abroad?  She feigned surprise at the latter to which I countered that I knew how it was and how many girls had a guy (or guys) on the go.  She used the classic line, “I am an old lady, no-one wants an old lady.”

She would ask me why I was drinking water to which I explained I prefer red wine – but the wine served in the bars is not great so I had stuck to water.  That gave me the chance I wanted to bring the conversation around to Australia.  I explained that I prefer Australian wines and I spoke a bit about Australia and how it was a great place for a holiday, in the hope of somehow getting her to say something about the Aussie guy supporting her, the guy who was paying me to check on her.  I kept the conversation on Australia, trying to get her to say something or hint at a man there who was in love with her.  Not a peep.

Eventually she would ask me if I could pay her barfine.  Short-time and long-time prices were quoted, 2,500 baht / 4,000 baht.  I made the excuse that I had been out drinking the night before and I wanted an early night.  She feigned disappointment but she needn’t have.  It was early on a Friday night, the busiest night of the week.  She wouldn’t be sleeping above the bar that night.

I had what I needed.  She was still going with customers.  For her it was very much business as usual.  I would go back to the Aussie with the bad news.

I left the bar and returned to the hotel and wrote up the report.   The Aussie wanted the facts and I wasn’t going to sugar-coat them.  He was going to be disappointed.

He was a talker and I knew he’d want to talk about it.  To be frank, if there is one thing I really don’t like with investigations it is playing counselor.  Talking with customers can be exhausting emotionally so I did not turn my phone on until the middle of the afternoon the following day.  It had been on not 3 minutes when it rang, showing a +61 i.e. Australian phone number.

He wasn’t clutching at straws like some guys do, as if I had somehow chatted with the wrong girl or perhaps there was some mistake in what was said and the message had been misinterpreted.

He would reveal to me that he had had a Thai girlfriend in Australia who had died a year earlier.  From all accounts they were serious and it had hit him hard.  He’d been lonely until he met Miss Long Gun and now his hopes of a long-term relationship had been dashed again.  But he was not ready to give up.

He asked me what I thought he should do.  That’s not a question I can answer.  He had to do what was right for him.  We talked about the best way for him to confront her, but I warned him that trying to reason with a Thai is often useless.

Presenting the results of an investigation to a Thai lady would not go down well and she would turn it around and put the blame on him.  In her way of thinking, if he had not tried to find out what was going on everything would be ok.  Twisted logic.

It was obvious he was not ready to give up on her.  I told him that there had been cases over the years where guys had confronted ladies with the knowledge that she had been up to no good and said that he was willing to forgive her if she promised never to do it again.  How those relationships worked out I do not know – you don’t stay in contact with people for ever.  Maybe the odd relationship may have worked out but I’d be willing to bet that most did not.

Exactly what our Aussie friend will do I do not know, but a lonely man looking for love in the wrong places doesn’t give up easily.  I can’t shake the feeling that just like that very first paid investigation I did all those years ago that some time in the future our Aussie friend will contact me again.  And maybe we will sit down at a coffee shop in Bangkok and he will tell me how he didn’t take my advice and how things didn’t work out great…

 

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Where Was This Photo Taken?

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Last week’s photo was taken of the new Thai embassy in Singapore.  A few clever Stickman readers got it right.  This week we’re back in Bangkok.

 

FROM STICK’S INBOX (These are emails from readers and what is written here was not written by Stick.)

 

Living the dream in Pattaya.

I really enjoyed your interview with Bryan Flowers.  While running a website and bars / brothels that cater to sex tourists and mongers wouldn’t be everyone’s choice of work, the sex industry is a multi-billion dollar industry with opportunity for sharp, ambitious people.  I was very impressed with his business acumen and he shares many of the same qualities as successful entrepreneurs in more legitimate businesses.  I think the main takeaways were:
–  He realized early on you don’t need a uni degree to be successful.
–  He exhibited patience and perseverance, as it wasn’t immediately successful.
–  He worked his ass off and set realistic, though challenging goals.  Thomas Edison said success is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.
–  He set up a good organisation of people with different skill sets.  He doesn’t micromanage but he does hold people accountable.
–  He understands the importance of social media in today’s world.
– He reinvests profits back in to the business rather than squandering it on expensive toys, living in the fast lane.
If I were to ever meet him I would say, Well done, Mr. Flowers!

Living the nightmare in Pattaya?

The interview with Bryan Flowers read to me like “Living the Nightmare in Pattaya” and it’s just another example of a young guy in Thailand (with hopes and dreams) just getting beat up by the external forces he put himself in to.  Who in their right mind would want to deal on a daily or regular basis with: stealing cashiers, tattooed bargirls, scheming police, devious landowners, jealous bar owner competitors, forum members that either hate or love him, Immigration, Labor Department, Revenue Department etc.  It’s great that you give a snapshot in to the life of a bar owner when they are at peak (and in this case, that is a long shot), but why don’t you do a follow-up story after the crash and burn as so often (nearly always) happens?  Seriously, why not do a “Bill in Udon Thani”, instead of a “Bill in Phuket” and tell the tales of an ageing guy who got pushed out by a younger partner and now is bored with life or something similar.  It’s great that you give hope to your audience, but you’ve gotta give them the whole picture, IMO.

Hard work.

I bet in Bryan Flowers’ line of work he’d have to deal with all sorts of characters and riff raff.  Not exactly my cup of tea.  Sounds complex.  However, that aside, I take off my hat to him given the fact that he’s made a success of himself not just in Thailand but specifically in Pattaya.  I think the key points are: hard work and integrity.  In Thailand, Thais and farangs both seem to lose those characteristics which eventually leads to laziness and a lack of motivation.  I heard from a young age, “There’s no substitute for hard work”.  There isn’t!  It’s not just the outcome of the work that’s rewarding and beneficial, but it’s the fact that you learn self-discipline and learn how to focus.  You become goal-orientated.  The guy wakes up at 5:30 AM and goes to the gym.  I’ve worked outside of Pattaya and one morning drove through central Pattaya at 6 AM.  The place is a ghost town at that time and everyone is sleeping.  It’s like-no one gets out of bed in Pattaya before 10 AM!  Then he says he doesn’t drink.  Probably a good idea.  Booze is a recipe for disaster in Thailand.  His story reiterates why I haven’t moved to Thailand after 9 years.  It’s simply that I can’t find a job or something to do which would enable me to work hard and have some form of integrity.  Teaching English doesn’t cut it. And I’m honest with myself – at 38 years old I’m way too young to retire.  Some guys like to live in an illusion.

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More broke foreigners.

It seems that broke foreigners are working their way west of Bangkok.  My wife’s family lives in Ban Pong.  I was just shown a post of a broke foreigner begging for money at the 7 Eleven right by our house, an American guy in his mid-30s.  He first stopped at the temple just east of us, and worked his way west towards Ban Pong.  There are not many foreigners living in the area and nobody has seen him before.  We are 70 klicks from Bangkok and hardly a major tourist spot.

The bargirl / customer mismatch.

Regarding the reader’s submission, Paying For It, I was reminded that Thailand is visited by many men who, ‘want as much sex as possible while paying as little as possible’, with women who ‘want as much money as possible, while giving as little sex as possible’.  Isn’t Karma about getting what you deserve?

London, New York, Bangkok.

I seem to recall you mentioning the prices for the new condo development on the corner of Sukhumvit Road and Soi 6.  I think you quoted around 25 million THB as the price, which I thought was outrageously high.  A new sign has gone up advertising the starting price of a condo in that development, Q House, at 30 million THB – and the top-tier units go for 150 mill THB – they must be whole floor penthouses, I suspect.  I was shocked at these prices, but there must be people in Bangkok with that sort of money.  Another sign said the occupants of the building will have private access to the Nana BTS Station.  I thought people with 150 mill THB – over $4 million USD – lived in places like New York City or London.  I must be out of touch.

The changing face of Thailand.

I was recently in Hat Yai.  A few years ago the town centre was adorned with huge posters of sexy females advertising massage.  Now there is not a single such billboard to be seen.

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Girl Of The Week

Donut, gogo dancer, Dollhouse, Soi Cowboy
20 years old, Donut likes listening to music and dancing.

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Cats have nine lives and it looks like Checkinn99 is up to its eighth as it plans to move again.  After 60 years in the same venue it is going for the record books in planning to move to a 4th location in 10 months.  Ironically, the old venue between Sukhumvit sois 5 & 7 is still exactly as it was when Checkinn99 were given 4 weeks’ notice to terminate its lease.  Checkinn99 moved briefly to the Admirals pub below the Oakwood residence in Suk 24 which provided a safe haven allowing Checkinn99 to keep trading, however merging the formats of a restaurant and nightclub become a challenge and 8 weeks later Checkinn99 moved to the upstairs dance studio of Zaks Wine pub in Soi 11.  Checkinn99 successfully retained a majority of its following of long-term customers and the Soi 11 venue proved to be popular and could have worked extremely well for both Zaks and Checkinn99 sharing a very similar customer profile. The current lease for the overall Zaks building expires in November and one solution would have been for the formats to merge which could have resulted in a seriously competitive entertainment venue.  However, that did not happen.  Along balancing the variables of rental imbalance and future rental hikes, restrictions on offering Checkinn99’s much-loved food menu along with noise from live entertainment upstairs interfering with the downstairs restaurant meant it needed a dedicated venue of its own.  An amicable exit plan was agreed which means Checkinn99 will close for its last show above Zaks on Tuesday of next week, March 28th.  After 17 years of non-stop performances members of the house band will take a break in the Philippines with some members being reunited with their families for the first time since starting with Checkinn99 in the year 2000.  Checkinn99 has secured a long-term lease in a new location in Soi 33 but we must wait a few more days until the ink is dry on the agreement (I will be giving more detail in next week’s column on that).  Plans are underway to renovate what the owner describes as an ideal location which will be able to recreate the charm and ambience of the original soi 5 / 7 location.  It will have much more to offer in the form of a theatre restaurant, mezzanine steakhouse and multi format entertainment venue. Renovations will take 8 – 10 weeks with the new facility and the overall refit will be completed in stages.  (Unofficially, I understand Checkinn99 is still open to those interested in being part of longer-term plans).

Plans for Checkinn99’s last weekend at Zaks are exciting – closing down parties are often the best nights.  Three nights of parties are planned – Friday 24th, Saturday 25th, Sunday 26th with the last night farewell on Tuesday 28th.  Good luck Checkinn99 and full marks for being highly adaptable – hopefully your next venue will be for the long run.

Flann O’Brien’s, the Irish bar on Silom Road in the building that for so long was home to O’Reilly’s, will close before the end of the month.  It’s only a few short years since it was renovated and renamed so why is it coming to an end?  Lease renewal issues?  Crazy high rents making profitability an issue?

And the news regarding bar and restaurant closures in Bangkok this week doesn’t end there.  V8 Diner, the American-themed diner out the front of Insanity / next to the start of Sukhumvit soi 12, came to an abrupt end this week.  On Wednesday night it was open and on Thursday morning it was closed.  I am amazed that it lasted as long as it did, so bad was the food which I never heard a positive word about. The saying good riddance to bad rubbish has never seemed more appropriate for a Bangkok business closure. V8 Diner’s sister venue at the back of the building, Insanity, will continue to operate until late May / early June when it will move to a new location on soi 11.

Nick Kinsella who owned Olive Oyl Bar in Sukhumvit Soi 22 passed away last week, aged just 54.  Word on the street is that drink was very likely a contributing factor.  The life expectancy of bar managers / owners who socialise with customers is not long.

Brian the Brit has sold Crossbar.  With the slogan the best British pub on Sukhumvit outside, the long-running bar which in recent times was part of the Stumble Inn Group struggled in recent years.  The new owners are 5 retired oil & gas industry guys and the main guy is a Scotsman.

Don’t miss the big English Premier League game tonight at 11:30 PM when Manchester City host Liverpool. The big boss of Stumble Inn on Soi Nana is a City fan, but has eloped and left a Scouser in charge!  What could possibly go wrong?  During all Premiership matches, Tiger and Chang pints are only 100 baht at Stumble Inn.  You can win a free 3-litre beer tower if you correctly predict the final score.  (My guess is 2 : 1 to Liverpool)  Free pub snacks are thrown in for good measure.

The old duck who has a become a fixture in Nana Plaza is tolerated.  She sleeps in the plaza and like so many Thais, noise does little to arrest her slumber.  Those who run the plaza tried to get rid of her a while ago but there was such an uproar from many girls that the idea of kicking her out was put to rest.

 

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The old duck who lives in Nana Plaza.

 

But the old duck doesn’t have the plaza to herself until well after 3 AM when the last of the gogo bars in Nana Plaza close for the night.  Some venues turn the lights out at 2:00 AM while others trade through until 3:00 AM.  That’s as late as any gogo bars remain open in Bangers; if you wish to party later you’ll have to hit the late-night discos.

If you have a thing for ladyboys or wish to give one a try, Nana Plaza is the place to go and is firmly established as the bar area for ladyboys.  Nana Plaza has a heap of ladyboy bars, each with its own particular flavour.  True Obsession has the most attractive ladyboys and is particularly popular with the Japanese.  Temptations vies with Casanova for the most masculine ladyboy lineup.  And for those who like ladyboys who have had the chop, Straps is the place to go – every ladyboy in Straps is post-op. Other ladyboy-only bars include DC10 and Cascade and then there are a few bars like Suckers and London Calling which have a mix of real ladies and not so real.  Obviously, if ladyboys aren’t your thing you may wish to give all of these bars a miss.

Down the road in Soi Cowboy, Tilac mightn’t have the lineup that it did of years gone by, but the vibe is good and gets better as the night goes on.  Happy hour in Tilac is quiet and kind of dull with a small number of dancers.  Between 9:30 and 10:00 PM the bar really transforms and the party begins.  Don’t be tempted by the happy hour and disappear early – it’s much more fun later on.  Probably the same can be said for a lot of bars but in Tilac the difference is huge.

Mark Friday, March 31st, in your diary as a night to hit Patpong soi 2.  Patpong’s house of fetish, Bar Bar, will celebrate its 11th anniversary with shows, free Champagne and something they’re calling indulgence. And right downstairs from Bar Bar is long-time Patpong favourite The Strip where the owners are promising the biggest party ever including a free beer for everyone.  It might be worth going out of your way for.

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Moose Head is available at Margarita Storm.

 

Ice hockey?  Sure.  Maple syrup?  Definitely!  Beer?  I’m not so sure.  There are some things Canada is known for but is beer one of them?  That has not stopped Margarita Storm from adding to their increasingly international selection of beers with Moose Head now on the menu.  Canadians looking for a taste of home can find Margarita Storm at the mouth of Sukhumvit soi 13.

There’s a small market on Rachadapisek Road in the shadows of Terminal 21 / directly opposite Soi Cowboy.  Behind the market are a few old buildings with small rooms for rent.  They are very basic as you can imagine but the price is low and the location as central as you can get.  A 50-year old Swiss fellow entered Thailand 30 years ago.  He never left and he never extended his visa i.e. he overstayed his permission to stay in Thailand by a whopping 30 years.  He managed to avoid the authorities for the entire time, despite living in a small room behind that small market, slap in the heart of downtown Bangkok. Today he is 80 years of age and not in the best of health.  Very much against his will, he recently returned to Switzerland to tidy up some affairs before returning to Thailand where he planned to see out his days. He didn’t know anything about the new overstay law and was unaware that anyone who has overstayed by more than 90 days is barred from re-entering Thailand for a period.  When he departed Thailand he was fined for the long overstay but was unaware that he had been banned from re-entering the country.  It was not until he flew back in to the country that he was told at Immigration that he could not enter and would have to return to his country of birth.  Clearly overstaying his visa for so long was wrong and no-one can say that the ban was not justified, but at the same time it does seem a little sad that he will not see out his days in Thailand as he had expected.

One of the big names of the bar industry in Bangkok last decade was Boss Hogg who is one of a number of characters who left Thailand – the Hogg prefers the USA.  The last of Boss Hogg’s Bangkok businesses to be sold was the American-style bar and grill, Bully’s, between Sukhumvit sois 2 and 4, which he let go a couple of years ago.  Today Bully’s is run by a very nice Finnish couple.  They have made some subtle changes but the flavour of the venue remains the same.  I stopped by this week and enjoyed a very nice salmon Caesar salad.  Unlike most Bangkok eateries which offer salmon as an option on Caesar salad and just throw a couple of small strips of smoked salmon on top of the salad, at Bully’s you get a freshly baked darn of salmon on top.  Recommended!

 

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The salmon Caesar salad at Bully’s features a darn of salmon.

 

Quote of the week comes from a friend, “If Thailand abolished the position of security guard, the unemployment rate would skyrocket.”

Reader’s story of the week comes from Kloth, “Too Many Lies“.

Passenger complaints prompt Suwannaphum Airport to beef up protection of passenger luggage.

A naked female was wandering around the Khao San Road area this week.

An Irish teacher gets drunk and makes up a story about being robbed on a minivan ride from Pattaya to Bangkok.

Tragedy on Sukhumvit soi 10 after a popular hotel courtesy tuktuk kills a pedestrian.

The German beggar with a large, swollen leg who was a fixture on the streets of Thailand is now begging in Malaysia.

Sexy Thai porn star Nong Nat is to divorce her ageing wealthy American husband, Harold.

SunbeltLegal

Ask Sunbelt Legal

Sunbelt Legal Advisors is here to answer any legal questions you have related to Thailand. Drop me an email and I will forward your questions to Sunbelt Legal and run their response in the next column.

 

Question 1:  I am a 58-year-old retiree.  My wife is only a few years younger than me.  Since getting married 5 years ago we have bought a house and land in Thailand.  My wife has a good job in IT and we both contribute [more or less equally] to our living costs.  The land and house are in the name of my wife which I don’t have a problem with.  My question is this:  In the event of my wife dying before me what would be my situation?  Would I be the sole owner of said property?  I know foreigners cannot own land in Thailand so would I have to set up a company just to stay in the house?

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors responds:  As you state, under Thai law foreigners cannot own land, so there are three possible ways to handle this situation:

  1. Your wife can make a will where she would state what she would like to happen with the land and house after her death.
  1. You can obtain a usufruct for your lifetime or 30 years.  With a Usufruct, land and house generally is not sold and if it is you would still be able to stay as long as the Usufruct allows.
  1. If the property were purchased during the marriage, you have marital rights, but you can’t sell it.  Your wife should appoint an executor who will be responsible for the sale should she pass away.  One of her family members can be appointed with your written approval.

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors has extensive experience in drafting usufructs and wills and would be happy to meet with you for a free initial consultation to discuss what is best for you.

 

Question 2:  My wife recently bought a 10-rai plot of agricultural land jointly 50 : 50 with a friend and neighbour.  Both names are on the chanote.  In the event of the death of one of them, does the survivor automatically acquire the deceased’s share (as happens with joint bank accounts) or is the deceased’s share of the land distributed in accord with a will or the Thai laws of intestacy?

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors responds:  Under Thai law, if the land is government agricultural land then it cannot be transferred except to direct relatives such as children, father, brother, sister, mother or spouse.  If the land has a chanote title then if the owner dies without a will, it would first go to the spouse, then children, then parents according to Thai inheritance laws.  If there is a will then it would go to whomever is listed as the beneficiary in the will.

If you as the foreign spouse would inherit it, as you cannot own the land, you would have one year in which to sell your portion.

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors advises on wills and property transfers.

 

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A fun afternoon out on the Saen Saeb Canal with Lecherous Lee.

 

I hung out in Bangkok the past few weeks.  One of the reasons I don’t mention when I am in Thailand until I have left is that my time there is limited.  More on this recent trip in the next couple of columns including some thoughts on the bar industry and on Bangkok in general.

 

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

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