Stickman's Weekly Column July 23rd, 2017

Infiltrating The Thai Sisterhood Intelligence Network

IMPORTANT MESSAGE:  If you wish you to provide feedback on any Stickman weekly column articles, please do so by email.  Some people have tried to send messages to Stick via Facebook but messages sent by Facebook do not reach me i.e. the person who writes this column.  The StickmanBangkok Facebook page is not operated by.  I don’t use nor care for Facebook.  If you wish to reach me, you must send email.  I have written this in many columns but it seems the message has still not got through to some people.

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Information is power.  It’s as true about life as it is about relationships, particularly so when it comes to cross-cultural relationships.  Thai women are well aware of this and have set up extensive, closed networks to share experiences and trade information about dating Western men.  This week I posed as a Thai female and took a sneaky peak inside the Thai sisterhood intelligence network.

Many Facebook groups have been set up to help Thai women dating Western men.  These groups are private and only Thai females can join.  Some groups boast member numbers running in to the high 5 figures.  The sisterhood is organised and the groups are a tight ship with none of the arguing and bickering so common on the farang expat / sexpat forums.

Of all the Facebook groups I checked out, the one that intrigues me most has a lengthy Thai name that translates loosely as The Sharing Of Information About And Experiences With Farang Guys.  The forum attracts a lot of posts, from questions about relationships and dating to posts featuring individual men. The questions range from whether should a Thai lady should expect a farang to pay for everything, to if she can expect a relationship with a guy she slept with on the first night.

The questions and responses provide an insight in to these ladies’ mindset, but where it gets really interesting is the many posts featuring photos of Western guys.  These may be guys they have met and are dating, or guys they are merely chatting to and have yet to meet in person.  Photos from the guy’s online dating profile or Facebook page are posted with a question or a statement about him.  It could be anything from whether anyone knows him or has dated him to a statement of fact, such as he is married or he is HIV+.

The intent of the groups is positive – to share information to help local women, especially those new to dating Western men – to make sure they know what to expect and that they are not taken advantage of. That’s all very good and well but I am fairly sure many of the guys whose photos are posted would not be comfortable with some of what is being said about them.

Here is a collection of screen captures from one of these groups, along with loose translations of what is being said.  (Everything in these groups is in Thai.)

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A photo from a guy’s online profile is posted and the poster asks: Who has spoken with this guy before?  She is fishing to see if anyone knows him or if perhaps he is dating other Thai women or is involved with someone or married.  This is the most popular type of post.

It’s more than a decade since ThaiLoveLinks.com – since rebranded as ThaiCupid.com – revolutionised dating in Thailand.  The word is out amongst Thai women about Western men living in their country : many of these guys are living the playboy lifestyle.  So many of the ladies wish to avoid being a plaything hence you get a lot of posts checking out a guy before they even meet him.  While the original post is innocuous enough, some of the replies are amusing.  It’s amazing how much is known about some guys – and how many women on these forums some guys have met.

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Much like the previous screen capture, this poster says: I’d like to check and see if any one has ever chatted with this guy or been his girlfriend.  I genuinely want to know as I am scared of being deceived.

That is a very real concern of many sincere Thai women – they are looking for a boyfriend but they have heard all the stories about Western guys screwing around – and they really don’t want to end up being used and discarded.

It’s sad that these women feel they need to check out a guy before they have even met him.  It isn’t healthy.  You don’t want to get ahead of yourself….but many Thai women do and dream of what their life will be like if they marry a farang.

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There are a lot of posts like this one with the message loosely translating as: If you see or plan to meet this guy, I’d like to warn you that he (actually, she uses the word “it“) is married!

Thai women are particularly scared about getting involved with a man who is already involved with a Thai woman.  The girlfriend or wife of a man who discovers that her man is seeing someone else is more likely to focus her anger on the other woman than the man – and their actions can be extreme.  Many Thai females are genuinely scared about what might happen to them if they (even unwittingly) get involved with a man who already has a special someone.

Some guys are said to be married.  Some are said to be in a relationship.  Some posts feature a lot of detail about guys, such as the area where he lives, where he works, whether his wife is Thai / a foreigner etc.

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Thai women who have entered the zoo that is online dating know that many guys cannot control themselves and this sort of talk is common.  What on earth are these loser farangs thinking saying this sort of nonsense?  Very few Thai women go for this sort of talk with a stranger and many find it offensive.

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Who wants this fat pig?, our poster from above continues.  We’d only been speaking for two days and he started the most vulgar conversation with me.  If he was young and handsome it would not be so bad but he is old and fat!  This guy is crazy.  And on her rant goes…

Some of the comments can get quite personal and despite what older guys may think, there is a very clear trend  – older and less physically attractive guys are not in high demand.  These ladies want to date a guy of a similar age.  And so they should.  It should come as no surprise but still some expats, particularly long-termers, are in denial about this.

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This guy attracted quite the tirade.  He makes out that he is very wealthy and makes all sorts of false promises to women that he will show them the world.  He makes out that he is a business owner, sophisticated and, well, you get the picture.  So this lady meets him, they end up at his place and they have sex.  Afterwards he takes out his phone and shows her that he has secretly recorded them having sex and then he shows – she uses the term shows off – clips that he has secretly recorded of him having sex with many different Thai women.

Note August 4th, 12 days after this column was originally published:  The man who was featured in this contacted me to explain that what this lady was saying was complete lies.  While the man’s face had been blurred to conceal his identity, I have since made the decision to removed the photos completely.  It really is food for thought that a lot of what these ladies say is complete bullshit.

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This one was funny insomuch that the lady commented that this guy likes to perform on webcam.  She got his name she Googled him and apparently there are reports elsewhere online written by other Thai women about him performing on webcam.  No wonder some guys use false names.  Once things are out there and indexed in Google, it can be very hard to get them taken down.

What was also amusing – but was lost on the lady – was that the guy claims to be 53.  He looks more like mid 60s to me.

Some of these men are pigs, treating decent Thai ladies like whores.  That’s so wrong.

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This was another webcam wanker who wanted to see the lady he was talking to strip off on her cam and relieve himself.

A lot of these girls are looking for a boyfriend, and a genuine relationship.  They are not looking for sex!  If you want sex, go to a bar on Sukhumvit where that is on offer – or take the time to find a lady who is genuinely looking for sex.  Don’t lie to a good lady to try and get sex.  That is NOT COOL.

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This one’s a hoot!  This lady from the northeast chatted with a guy online who claimed to be from some country or other, but was in fact from Turkey.  Many Thai women doing the online dating thing report VERY bad experiences with Turkish men, everything from vulgar chat to behaviour that can only be described as that of a sex pest.  Some Thai women write that they have no interest in Turkish men in their profile.  That has not been lost on Turkish men, some of whom claim they are from somewhere else – and how is a Thai lady to know?

Anyway, this poor lady chatted with this guy online and didn’t think anything of it, until someone contacted her later, sending her messages in a foreign language.  She copied and pasted these messages in to Google Translate which revealed they were in Turkish.  It took a while for her to realise that the person sending her messages was the wife of the man she had been talking to.  The Turkish man’s wife discovered that her husband had been secretly chatting with Thai women online and set about putting that right.  Turkish wife bombarded Isaan girl with Turkish profanity, calling her a whore and made references to ping-pong balls!

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One thing that shines through in these forums is how naive and unsophisticated many of these Thai ladies are.  One lady who was travelling to Italy asked if it was legal for her to take condoms with her from Thailand to Italy.  Others ask questions about whether certain acts can cause you to get pregnant – these are often posts from women well in to their 20s.

Thai women don’t have it all their own way, of course, and it’s not like Western men dating Thai women don’t have their own resources but there’s nothing quite like these closed Facebook groups where men’s dating history and personal details can be made bare.  I can just imagine how the Thai women posting to these forums would feel if they featured in similar groups for Western men.

Some ladies dig deep online in to a guy’s background – and some of these girls are good at finding stuff – really good.  They search the likes of Facebook and LinkedIn, and mine data from all sorts of unusual places online, using advanced search techniques and sometimes even using local company databases not connected to the Internet to come up with bits and pieces to form a remarkable picture of the guy.

There are all sorts of privacy implications and the law in Thailand is particularly harsh when it comes to defamation.  Remember, in Thailand comments said about another merely need to be damaging to one’s reputation to be considered defamatory.  It need not matter if what is said is true or otherwise – if someone’s reputation is damaged and the comments are not deemed in the public’s interest then legal action could be pursued.

These groups make for a fascinating insight in to the mindset of Thai women dating Western men.  Some farang scumbags are being outed and it’s hard to argue against the benefit of that.  On the other hand, there is a real danger that misinformation could be spread – unintentionally or otherwise – and any man’s reputation could be unfairly sullied.  Finally, I imagine that many of the Thai women posting photos and comments about Western men would be mortified if their own photo and similar comments were posted about them.

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Where Was This Photo Taken?

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Last week’s photo was taken at the foot of the pedestrian bridge on Rachadapisek Rd. opposite Benjakit Park.  This week’s snap should be less challenging.

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Stick’s Inbox  (The best emails from the past week.)

Confidence.

The June 25 weekly focused on why western men like Thai women.  Stated in simple terms, the answer was because they’re easy.  I think that’s more right than wrong but there’s something else, too.  I’ve always been relatively popular in Thailand and other Asian countries.  But I can’t attract Asian women in Farangland.  Why?  Because there’s a missing element.  Confidence.  The beautiful Asian women I seek don’t want me when I’m at home.  In Thailand, like many places in Asia, I represent more money, more opportunity and a better lifestyle.  That might last for 30 minutes or 30 years, but it’s an improvement for them as long as it lasts.  It’s not the same at home because in general they already have a better lifestyle.  Over the years I’ve come to the realization I have little attraction back home but my confidence soars when I’m away because I know I have a good chance with the ladies.  They’re easy, but only when I’m there.  And I’m confident they’ll put out, but only when I’m there.  When the situation is reversed they’re not easy and I don’t have that confidence.  The ying and the yang work in my favor when I’m in Thailand; when I’m at home the ying is there but the yang is not.

Old Thai wives tales.

I’ve no idea why you give column inches to two people who have such bizarre and backward ideas about getting sick in the rain.  One saying that you can get sick through your feet, absurd, surely he was winding you up.  Though if you had a cut on your feet you could certainly pick up a nasty infection from dirty street water.  The other saying he nearly died from flu because he got wet during a cycle ride.  It sounds like he probably had the flu, but he most certainly didn’t get it from the rain. To catch the flu or a cold requires a virus that can only be caught off another person. For sure, getting cold and wet can exacerbate a flu condition that is already present, and it can weaken the immune system, but it is not possible to catch a virus from a raindrop.  Some Thai people will get sick more often during either wet or cold weather because they tend to stay huddled together indoors, and a virus is more easily passed from person to person.  In fact the Thais’ belief about getting sick in the rain is widespread, and is passed down through the generations in the way of ‘an old wives tale’, as it was in most western countries, and where there are still many people who believe that they will get sick if they go outside during wet and cold weather.  As someone who cycles regularly in Thailand, I definitely do not take shelter if it rains.  If I did, I would probably never get home.  I have lost count of the number of times that I have been well and truly drenched in a way that only a tropical downpour will make you.  I have never experienced a cold or flu resulting from this exposure to the elements.  I also regularly run in the rain.  It’s really the best time to do so as it is cool and pleasant, and with the entire park to yourself as all the Thais have stayed indoors.

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Is 1,500 baht enough?

I have been of the opinion since the beginning of time that the girls are overpaid.  Virtually no-one who agrees with me will do so publicly.  Apparently, we are all brave boys when discussing prices and compensation for other goods and services, but contesting prices for working girls is not something we do.  My contempt for this cowardice is bottomless and seamless.  I have encountered some wonderful ladies who performed wonderful service with a smile.  They got paid extra.  They did not deserve extra, but I usually paid extra.  The rest of the trash got the minimum.  Some did not earn the minimum. Some were just criminals involved in criminal enterprise and in a fair world would have received nothing.  When barfines went to 600 baht I never took a girl out again.  I went for fun and to see the shows, but I completely stopped paying for overpriced fools.  Picking up ladies off of the street should have shown a qualitative difference.  I never noticed a difference and I paid considerably less money. Dana.

Breakfast with the latte louts.

For many years I have started my day at Benjamit Coffee when visiting Pattaya.  A quiet place when it first opens and coffee that is well worth the cost.  Now a new group starts their day there as well.  I refer to this group as “Latte Louts”.  This group of older Australians entertain everyone with tales of their nightly exploits that would put professional porn actors to shame.  Today they spent their time complaining about Thai women, costs of paid companionship, etc.  Just like sitting in a beer bar with Lager Louts.  Benjamit was the one refuge that was always family friendly.  Now I guess certain times of the day it should be avoided.

Another Pattaya institution gone.

Boat Bakery has closed.  Across 2nd Road from the Pattayaland sois, it had been open for at least 20 years.  Motorbike taxis guys told me the owners ran out of money which is hard to believe as the place was always busy.  I suspect that they had a long-term lease that was up for renewal.  It seems like everything in town is being redeveloped, causing prices to go up.  Pattaya really is changing.  Right now I’m staying at a guesthouse near Soi Diana, and 20+ high school girls (French, I think) checked in last night.  No idea what 20 high school girls could possibly be doing in Pattaya, but you’d never have seen that 10 – 15 years ago.  Lastly, I’m noticing how UGLY the girls in the beer bars are getting. Based on my recent survey I’d say about 2 out of 50 of the girls in the Soi Diana area would be worth a lady drink.  They are aging, and younger girls seem not to be in the beer bars.

Going off Nana.

I love Nana Plaza and have visited many times.  Happily spent a lot of fun money there and enjoyed it. Girls ordered one drink at a time.  Most ordered Coke.  Barfines 600 baht and 2,000 baht got you a beauty who made you feel good and stayed around the room a little while afterwards.  Now barfines are sometimes 1,000 to 1,500 baht, girls try to trick you into ordering 2 drinks, more girls drink shots, girls are not as young or pretty, and girls want 2,500 to 3,000 baht and it is a quick screw and gone. Basically, a pain in the ass rather than pleasure.  So if I go to Nana now I give no tip, buy zero girl drinks, and pay no barfine.  Then I get on my phone and get a girl for 1,500 baht to meet me at my room or pick up a girl at Thermae or on the street.  Not proud of this as I would rather take a Nana working girl home but not anymore.  Soon I probably will stop having a beer at Nana.  The Nana bar owners have lost a customer who brought other customers to their businesses.  Now I tell my friends from the States to stay away from Nana and Cowboy.  The Iranian ruined Soi Cowboy for me and I never go there as long as the Iranian has bars at Cowboy.  I will not let anyone I know spend one dollar there.  Nana Plaza can choose to bring back a decent time without two drink rip-offs, good-looking girls that are not drunks, and fair barfine pricing or go bankrupt.  Up to you, Nana Plaza.

Girl Of The Week

Miss Long Legs, dancer, Erotica, Nana Plaza
*  photos kindly provided by the Nana Plaza marketing department.

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The high-profile bust on Soi Nana of African prostitutes and drug dealers featured in last week’s column doesn’t appear to have had much effect with both regular readers and friends commenting that there are still a lot of African hookers and dodgy looking African men who appear to be drug dealers hanging around Soi Nana.  The word is that there are no fewer Africans on Soi Nana and Sukhumvit Road between the Nana intersection and soi 13 this week than there were last week.

Talking about drugs in the bar areas, you do know that a lot of bargirls are regular drug users, right?  My best guess – and admittedly it is only that, a guess – is that between a quarter and a third of girls working in the bars are regular drug users and possibly 50% or more of those who work on the street are doing drugs regularly.  This is one area that many readers disagree with me – I suspect some don’t like the idea that the lady they’re with is a druggie.  Drug testing is carried out in bars from time to time, but more often than not bar owners are tipped off about it by their police contacts beforehand.  The bar will let the girls know that the authorities will be in to conduct drug tests on the premises and any girls who have used drugs any time recently are told not to come in to work.  Usually between 1/4 and 1/3 of the girls do not to go in to work that night.  And those bars with a lot of younger girls tend to have a higher percentage of drug users.  Ya ba is apparently their drug of choice.  I am surprised so many guys don’t believe me – once you know the telltale signs it’s obvious that many girls are using meth.

Hanrahan’s on Soi Nana reopened on Thursday after Nicky regained control of the bar.  The crowds flocked back and Hanrahan’s was pumping.  There are extended happy hour prices for a week.  Everyone has a different version of what happened with most fingers pointing at the previous manager, Liam.  The new manager is a guy called Nick who used to manage Hooters and the Drunken Leprechaun.

Still in sleazy Soi Nana, Angels 4 opened this week in the space that was formerly the 7 Eleven at the entrance to the Raja Complex.  Owner of the Hillary Group, Khun Maew, was there posing with photos of the girls.

This coming Thursday, the Nana Plaza Beer Garden – the name given to all of the beer bars in the centre of the ground floor of Nana Plaza which is only known to the owners of said beer bars – will have a birthday bash with happy hour prices all night long.

Butterflies in Nana Plaza remains closed with no word on when – or even if – the bar will reopen.  A few years ago Lone Star – which was in the very same space where Butterflies is now – an underage girl was found on the premises and the bar was ordered closed and told not to reopen.  That could happen with Butterflies too.  While the future of the bar is uncertain, what is clear is that Oliver, the Belgian who managed the bar without a work permit, is fxxxed.  Oliver was arrested and is facing a scary list of charges including human trafficking.  He is currently out on bail.  Word is that the owners did not put up the money for their employee’s bail as is customary when foreign staff without a work permit are arrested.  Oliver also had to surrender his passport so with that go any thoughts of crossing the border and fleeing justice.  The Indian who was a part owner of Butterflies is currently outside of Thailand and has been advised not to return any time soon, if at all.  Harsh words have been said by some of the other foreigners employed in bars on Soi Nana who are disgusted at how little assistance Oliver has received.  People are scared and it has rammed home the point (that deep down I am sure they all know) that if the shit hits the fan foreign staff are very much on their own.

The for rent sign wasn’t up that long before workmen started tearing out the old fixtures at the location in Sukhumvit soi 12 that has housed a bunch of failed bars – Monaco, White Lioness and The Den.  They’re working on it almost every day but no-one seems to know what it will be.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Sukhumvit soi 12 is not a great location for a bar and I for one wouldn’t want a business located in that particular spot, even if it was rent-free.

I think many of the naughty bars are at a fork in the road and they have to decide which way they want the bar to go.  Do they chase the tourist market or the expat / sex tourist crowd.  As more mainstream visitors include at least one of Nana Plaza, Soi Cowboy or Patpong on their Bangkok itinerary, bars that cater to the tourist crowd can do well.  This group is less discerning, will stomach higher prices and as they’re there for a look and not to play, there don’t need to be any barfines.  A bar owner could fill a bar with coyote dancers and have a flat-rate drinks price of 200 baht – and most tourists would probably be ok with that.  But that won’t work with the traditional bar crowd who are out often and don’t have big money to spend, and are also looking for company.  I’ve said it before and I will say it again – Nana and Cowboy are slowly moving – very slowly, admittedly – towards a model that is more akin to what you find in Las Vegas or Amsterdam.  The hardcore faithful will say this move will kill the bars but as far as I am aware, Vegas and Amsterdam are both doing perfectly well.

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Down in Pattaya, long-running Walking Street gogo bar Airport has been ordered closed for 60 days after the bar was caught showing.  That’s what Pattaya has become – they now close bars if girls are showing, something which would have been unthinkable not so long ago.

Over in Phnom Penh, word is that the much awaited branch of Hooters – the official American Hooters and not a hostess bar of the same name – is looking less and less likely to be completed.  I always wondered about the commercial viability of Hooters in Phnom Penh.  Given the way that so many expats and visitors in Bangkok complain about the prices of Hooters in Bangkok, it was hard to see it being a hit in a city where $1 beers are still common.  Expats in Phnom Penh are very price sensitive, what they call balloon chasers in Pattaya and happy hour expats in Bangkok.

Crazy Medicine is a short film which will be showing tonight at 8 PM at the Live Lounge, Sukhumvit soi 13, above the Sportsman bar.  All invited.  Crazy Medicine is a story by Matt Carrell, directed by Hollywood veteran Richie Moore and produced by popular expat fiction writer, James Newman.

My best mate is currently in Thailand.  This is the guy I first travelled to Thailand with some 20 years ago. It’s been fun hearing his thoughts while he is there.  He booked an apartment in the Onut area through Air BnB and within hours of arriving saw the sign below in the common areas.  As someone staying there through an AirBnB booking, that is a worry.  As Sunbelt Legal mentioned in the legal section recently, condo buildings require a hotel licence if rooms are to be rented out short-term.  It would be a major hassle if someone innocently booked Air BnB in Thailand and was caught out, or worse still, got in trouble over it.  I wonder if they really would get the police involved if they knew people were staying in the building having booked through AirBnB?

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Thailand has a history of knee-jerk reactions to issues with a crackdown announced soon after some or other issue gets the public’s knickers in a twist.  Thais love crackdowns because it usually means that what had become the norm is now not allowed and that gives the authorities the opportunity to demand payment or favour to look the other way.  While it may seem that the Thais are always cracking down on something to do with foreigners, be it visa rules, bar opening times or whatnot, most crackdowns have nothing to do with foreigners.  I do wonder though if we could be able to see a new crackdown following the media circus with this smarmy young Yank, My Mate Nate.  If you hadn’t heard of him, Nate is a Mormon living in Thailand who relishes making videos which appeal to young Thais, yet some humiliate them at the same time.  More than 60,000 Thais have signed a petition for Nate to be deported from Thailand.  Don’t be surprised if there is a swift, emotional and not entirely rational reaction to what Nate has been doing.  It could be anything from foreigners working online to foreigners posting videos to YouTube to foreigners working without (or even with) a work permit.  We’ve seen these knee-jerk reactions before – think the American paedophile John Mark Karr who was arrested in Bangkok and found to be working in a prestigious Bangkok boy’s high school.  A crackdown on foreign teachers in Thailand followed and the policy changes that were introduced then continue to this day.  Will there be fallout from the My Mate Nate debacle which could make staying in Thailand that little bit more challenging for foreigners?

There has been much in the news in recent weeks about Immigration refusing entry to a small number of foreigners with a suspicious travel history who it suspected of working in Thailand without the proper visa and work permit.  There are TV shows which show Immigration officers in countries like New Zealand, Australia and Canada at work.  When an officer suspects someone is visiting for reasons other than what they say, the officer usually checks their baggage and personal belongings to include looking at their mobile phone, going through recent message history etc.  This usually provides evidence to support what Immigration suspected – or may support the passenger’s claims.  I have never once heard of Immigration in Thailand searching arriving passengers to verify their travel plans.  Very, very occasionally you hear about Customs checking people’s baggage for goods on which duty should be paid but never have I heard of Immigration searching anyone.  Have you ever been searched by Immigration arriving in Thailand or had you belongings checked / examined to see if your story checks out?

As the number of foreigners denied entry in to Thailand mounts up, it can be revealed that anyone who is denied entry is sent to a secure area which leaked photos show looks like a Khao San Road dormitory, albeit with air-conditioning.  Any passenger sent there is charged 700 baht per day they spend there before they are sent home.  I guess there’s a fee so to motivate you to get out of there quicker i.e. the longer you stay, the more you pay.

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Quote of the week comes from a friend, “Expect the most crazy things every week in Thailand and you will not be disappointed.”

Young American YouTuber My Mate Nate has gone from hero to villain in Thailand.

An American businessman was found hanged in a condo in Pattaya.

An English TV star is seriously ill in a Thai hospital after being stranded in the jungle for 3 days.

The queues to get on the skytrain are so bad at some stations that the wait for a train can be an hour.

The Straits Times is one of many newspapers which this week reported how those arriving in Thailand might be required to show 20,000 baht in cash before being cleared for entry.  The Sun, The Independent, The Daily Mail and others ran similar stories.

Classy columnist Andrew Biggs looks at the phenomenon of Thai women keen to meet Western men and the lengths to which they will go.

SunbeltLegal

Ask Sunbelt Legal

Sunbelt Asia’s legal department is here to answer your questions relating to legal issues and the law in Thailand. Send any questions you may have to me and I will pass them on to Sunbelt Legal and run their response in a future column.

Question 1:  I am curious about the legality of security guards, in particular those that are used by the BTS system.  All of them carry batons and handcuffs and maybe other items concealed in one of the many cases attached to their belts.  Is a private security guard allowed to use the baton on a member of the public and is he permitted to handcuff and detain what he may consider to be an offender?  Does any authority he may have extend beyond the premises of those that employ his services?  Surely they are nothing more than civilian members of the public with exactly the same powers as anyone else, i.e. they do not have carte blanche to exert their authority on you or I?

Sunbelt Legal responds:  In case of any possible danger to society and the people nearby, a BTS / MRT / any other member of public security has the right to disarm and / or handcuff a person breaking the law and to then pass them on to the police for prosecution.  This is only in the case where a person is not following the rules and regulations of the public places and transport systems by behaving abnormally, smoking or drinking alcohol where it’s prohibited.

Question 2:  Can I own a company in Thailand and NOT have a work permit?  I want to go to a retirement visa, but own my own company and give up the work permit so I can hire another foreigner to run it for me.

Sunbelt Legal responds:  Yes, it is possible to be a shareholder of a company and not have a work permit and retain your retirement visa.  However, you will not be a signing director – that is you cannot sign any legal documentation to do with the company as that is done by the director with the work permit.  You don’t have to have a work permit if you are a Director but do not do any work in Thailand.  This includes signing documents which would require being out of the country.

It is important to note that a director does not have to be a shareholder.

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors can assist you in setting up your business so that it is fully legal and you can retain your retirement visa.

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Nana Plaza, the way it used to be.

The opening piece of last week’s column was removed a few days after the column went live.  If you didn’t see it before it was removed, last week’s opener was an innocuous Q&A with investigative journalist Andrew Drummond who left Thailand a couple of years ago.  One person was not happy about the article and used their not inconsiderable influence with the majority owner of this site to get the article removed. That column would now be last week’s news and would be all but forgotten about, but now the whole kerfuffle of removing it shines a bright spotlight on who wanted it removed and why.  Said article now appears on an at least one other website as well as in forums and on social media – the combined effect of which will be that it gets more eyes than it would have if this column was the only place it was published.  The reasons why someone was so anxious to have it taken down will be discussed ad nauseam. Trying to bury things online tends to have the opposite effect.

Your Bangkok commentator,

Stick

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