Vol. VII No. 34 - Tuesday
August 19 - August 25, 2008

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by Saichon Paewsoongnern

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Buyer beware - particularly in Thai property deals


Buyer beware - particularly in Thai property deals

Dear Editor,
In March 2007 we were staying on Koh Sukorn, a small island in the Andaman sea off the south west coast of Thailand (Trang province).
We met a Thai woman and her Canadian husband, married 7 years, who had bought several properties on the island. They showed us a small derelict resort with 5 bungalows and a restaurant. The resort was called “The small sea”
Mike was very keen on the idea of teaching English on the island and we being English Language teachers made plans to open a small school. After a few weeks we agreed that Gop would buy “The small sea” and then issue us a 30 year lease. (In Thailand a non Thai cannot buy land)
Soon after the money was transferred to Gop there were problems with registering the lease. Then Gop and her husband had to go on a trip to Canada so before they left they issued us a 3 year lease and a letter promising to make out a thirty year lease on their return. When Gop returned to Thailand, with her new boyfriend, she said her and Mike were getting a divorce. In the ensuing weeks Gop and her new boyfriend drank and smoked dope every day.
Their attitude to us became abusive when we talked about the lease. They made demands for large amounts of money. We refused. Then our bungalow was broken into and the intruder took picture of his penis with my camera and left the camera in the bungalow. At this time we went ahead and built the school, equipped it and started teaching English.
The break-in was reported to the police in Trang who said if we ever needed their help we should contact them. A little while later Gop and Lee (the new English boyfriend) threatened us with a gun. We contacted the police again and they talked to Gop who then transferred the property to our Thai Lawyer (Tom) and then the police demanded a payment of 500,000 baht. When Tom tried to register our agreement at the Land office, they refused. The land office then asked for a bribe of 36,000 baht. Gop at this point fled Thailand. We are now told we are about to be taken to court and could face heavy fines and deportation. Our lawyer, Tom, is to face criminal and civil cases and could lose his license. Gop although being out of the country for more then 6 months is also to face criminal charges.
Karen Wenman
Chiang Mai


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