FOREIGNERS BEING FINANCIALLY RUINED BY THAI WIVES – It appears that the Human Rights of a foreign national living in Thailand merely extend only as far as the size of one’s bank account; that is if a foreigner runs out of money, for whatever reason, they can be and should be deported.
Last week we published an article that was sent to us; it floated the idea that maybe Thailand should change its laws regarding Marriage Visas so that a foreigner could not be deported or required to leave simply if he or she couldn’t provide proof of sufficient income.
The comments from the readers were wide and varied and some openly disturbing; it appeared that many, who obviously live in Thailand, were completely unsympathetic to anyone who didn’t have the financial means to reside in Thailand; some felt that foreigner’s who don’t have any money, regardless to the fact that they are married with children, should be deported.
The fact is that we all need money to survive but this attitude is disturbing in that money appears to take precedence over the morals of keeping a family unit together.
I decided to do a little digging. Now I’m not that familiar with Thailand although I’ve managed to pick up some internal sources of information and I’ve done my fair share of reading.
Before I wrote this article I asked one of my sources their views on the content. I was told to expect a fair amount of hostility and I’m likely to be told that I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about. Here’s what I was told;
“Most westerners here don’t like being told the truth. Some openly bitch and moan about Thailand and its policies whilst other will defend them to the death. Mostly, when it comes to knowledge and understanding of the ‘Thai Way’ you’ll be faced with a barrage of insults because of your lack of time in the country – you get a lot of petty one-up-manship in that it’s not about what you actually know but how long you’ve been here. Good luck with the article but expect a fair amount of abuse.”
I’ve got the hide of a Rhino; you have to have when you write and I certainly appreciate that we all have differing views; however, time to get on with the article…
According to some Government officials there is a growing number of foreign national’s now living rough on the streets. Many, they think, are tourists who ran out of money and are unable to return to their home countries; some are retirees who have fallen on hard times or worst duped or robbed of their possessions by unscrupulous Thai wives.
“In some cases, these foreigners – mostly male Westerners – arrived as tourists or retirees and fell into poverty or neglect after settling down in Thailand, often having being duped or robbed by Thai former wives or partners.” Natee Saravari, secretary-general of the Issarachon Foundation
Natee Saravari believes that some system should be set up in order to aid these people as it is often the case that people just pass them by; even other foreign national’s appear to avoid giving them money when they are begging.
While Natee Saravari comments are commendable, in that he wants to set up a system to provide assistance there is a very unnerving development here.
The last part of his statement centered on foreign national’s being duped or robbed of their possession and so I did a bit more digging.
According to our sources it is nothing uncommon for a western male to marry a Thai citizen and then later lose everything to them.
The issue appears mainly to do with land and houses due to a foreigner being unable to legally own them in their own name. The result is that foreigners have a tendency to put property in the spouses name and therefore if the marriage fails then the foreigner appears to lose everything.
According to Thai law; as I can ascertain, it is illegal to purchase land in a Thais name for the sole purpose of the foreigner being able to acquire it. Therefore the title deed must be accompanied by a letter that states that the land is being made over as a gift; therefore removing the foreigners right to any compensation or money in the event of a sale.
It appears to me as nothing more than legislation that sanctions open theft of property. I decided to do a bit more digging and made a few phone calls. After getting through to one person I got this brief account;
“I was one of those trusting foreigners who put the land and house in my Thai wife’s name. Little did I know that she was gambling and she used the house and land as collateral for her mounting debts. In the end I lost 15 million Thai Baht, nearly US$500,000.
She said she was too ashamed to tell me of her habit which is why she kept silent. I came back from my work offshore to find that the house had been taken by a certain police officer for just a 2 million bath debt.
I tried to discuss this with the now new owner; but he wasn’t interested, after all why would he be, he now had a 15 million baht home for 2 million.
Foreigners need to be careful and my advice would be to rent, it’s just easier and will give you peace of mind.”
Considering this is the case I’m not surprised Thailand has a mounting problem with homeless people but surely a simple change in the law could prevent foreign nationals from being duped and robbed and in the process give Thailand’s image a bit of a shine?
So what does a foreigner do if they fall foul and lose everything? Certainly most foreign embassies are not interested in getting involved in what is nothing more than a civil matter and unlikely to provide any financial assistance.
This situation worries me for it appears that any foreigner falling foul of the system simply attracts a multitude of abuse from other expats; I’ve seen this on a number of Thai based news websites targeted at foreigners.
I read a couple of cases and found it deplorable that some people would leave such vile comments. I went back to my source and asked for an insight.
“There are many expats that troll the likes of ThaiVisa looking to voice their worthless opinions. They appear to relish the idea of any foreign national falling foul; it’s like they have the upper hand of being intellectually superior because they have been here for so long and understand how the system works.
It’s deplorable in many instances how anyone could be that cold but when you live in Thailand for many years and spend most of your days sitting in a bar it’s understandable how these people have become bitter and disenfranchised and so take to mocking other people’s misfortunes.”
I have to ask the question… Is this how Thailand’s expat community behaves in the mainstream towards their fellow man and their unfortunate circumstance?
I don’t want to cast any dispersion on any one group of people or individuals but it will be interesting to see the response I get, if any, to this article.
It is a shocking realization that a foreigner is so vulnerable to abuse which can leave them penniless. If you have been a victim of this type of loss meebal.com would be most interested in publishing your story; just get in touch with the editor.