WHY FOREIGNERS SHOULD NEVER BUY PROPERTY IN THAILAND – This story was written and provided to the editor of meebal.com. We are not able to confirm the accuracy of the story nor the claims made; however internal sources advise us that this type of property scam is known to occur.
I am a U.S Citizen and since 1994 I had been taking my vacations in Thailand; not for the usual fair of sun, sea and sex but rather for the golf. My destination was always Hau Hin and nearby Cha-am due to the abundance of awesome golf course.
Due to the sleazy image that other destinations in Thailand had, notably Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket I decided to stay clear in order that I wasn’t seen as yet another sad and only middle-aged man whose only interests appear to be supporting local bar owners and the prostitutes that work in them.
After 10 years of spending a four week vacation every year, and reaching the ripe old age of 52, I decided that it was time to retire and I could think of no better destination to indulge my love of golf than in Thailand.
I sold my small business and set about my retirement plans. After obtaining the required retirement visa; which wasn’t all that bad I took the long fight and finally arrive exhausted, but content, at my destination Cha-am.
For the first week I stayed at the Dusit Hotel; a very comfortable hotel with friendly staff and all the amenities anyone could want. During my first week I scouted around with a local taxi driver looking for a place to rent.
I had been visiting Thailand long enough to know that buying property could be problematic and so decided the easiest route was to rent.
Within three days I found a small 2 bedroom house for 15,000 Baht a month, duly move in and then started to indulge in my fantasy of basically living on a golf course.
I met some really nice guys and after a couple of weeks I was coerced in to a night out in the bars. At this point it had been nearly a month without female company and even though I enjoyed the evening and was offered by a number of prostitutes (bargirls) for an evening of carnal pleasure I refrained from engaging any of their services.
This may sound strange to some guys but of course not all of us are driven by lust and some of us don’t allow our dicks to do all the thinking.
Most of my now golfing buddies owned their own homes; a couple of them were married with Thai wives and a few of them simply owned a company which in turn owned the property. It seem a little senseless of paying rent and one of the things I didn’t have was a swimming pool; something I really wished I had in the heat.
After four months and a lot of talking to other people I decided to take the plunge and brought a nice 3 bed villa complete with swimming pool on a nice parcel of land in Cha-am. Life appeared perfect although I began to consider it would be nice to have some female company
In my quest to find a girlfriend I tried a couple of the online dating services. It quickly became apparent that 99.9% of the girls looking were simply out to find a free lunch; that is finding a foreigner who will ‘take care’.
The ‘take care’ phrase became more obvious the more I looked and the more I looked the more I felt that foreigners were simply nothing more than cash cows and an easy route to a comfortable life without having to work for it. I on the other hand had worked damned hard all my life for what I had and I wasn’t about to let some possum nest at my expense.
A couple of months later a new girl started working at the golf course as one of the many caddies. My regular caddie was off back visiting relatives in her home town; something to do with sick parents of which I was asked if I would like to help; I declined.
The new caddie, I’ll call her Pop, was 29, very pretty, slender and spoke reasonably good English. My original caddy returned but by now her place had been taken; something she was none too pleased about but I didn’t feel comfortable around her after she asked me for money to help with her family problems.
After getting to know Pop really well I decided one day to ask her out for dinner. The evening went well and she stayed the night. As the weeks rolled on I was surprised, knowing the usual horror stories, as to why she didn’t ask me for anything. After each round of golf I would tip her 500 baht but beyond that she didn’t ask for a dime.
My friends told me I’d probably found one of the good ones and that I should keep her around. After another month of dating I asked Pop if she would like to move in with me; she readily accepted and two days later she and all her belongings were moved in.
After a week of living together Pop announced that she was giving up her job at the golf course because there was too much back-stabbing from the other caddies; she put this down to them being jealous that she had a ‘farang’ boyfriend.
I wasn’t overly impressed and I told her straight out that if she didn’t have work she wasn’t living with me. I got the usual emotional blackmail thrown at me with the usual Thai rhetoric of ‘jai dum’ (meaning black heart) and cheap Charlie but I didn’t want to fall into the trap that I had so often heard about from the local foreign expats.
I stuck to my guns and she promised she would find other work. For the first two days I didn’t see Pop during the day; I was playing golf and assumed she was out looking for work. On the second evening she announced that she had found a job working in a bar.
I was pissed and told her she’d better pack because there was no way I was going to live with a bar whore. Again she turned on the defensive with “You not care me, you not take care me.”
It was of course emotional blackmail so I told her to take her time to find a better job; maybe in one of the hotels, but she must find something within a month.
Over the next couple of weeks our relationship went down the pan as we were arguing all the time; me on one side telling her to find a job and she retorting with the accusation that I didn’t care she.
I began to realize that this relationship wasn’t going anywhere and it was time to kick her out and therefore sat Pop down and tried to calmly explain my situation and the way I felt. This of course didn’t go to plan as Pop could see the possibility of the good-life slipping through her fingers.
Again it was the usual BS that I didn’t care; I had a black heart, blah, blah blah. I’d had enough and told her she had three days to get out.
I took the decision to not play golf for the next few days; just to ensure she wasn’t taking anything that didn’t belong to her.
All appeared to be going well until the third day and the day she was supposed to move out. A man in uniform turned up at my house and began chatting away. Not speaking much Thai I was actually happy Pop was still there to help out; having a Thai official in uniform visit your house can be an unnerving thing.
I stood there for what seemed like an eternity whilst they talked and after a while I intervened and asked Pop what the issue was. She told me the man was from the Land Department and wanted to see my land title deeds and the paperwork for my company; which held the property.
I agreed, what else could I do, and invited him in. He and Pop spent the next hour going through the paperwork and it was then announced that there appeared to be some irregularities with the Chanote Title; that’s the Land Deeds for those not familiar with the Thai system.
I was told I was to be given a receipt for the documents which would have to be taken back to the office for verification.
I wasn’t comfortable but I didn’t know what else to do but accept what Pop was telling me. After another 15 minutes or so of chatting he left with the documents and I was left with a receipt.
The next morning I awoke to some devastating news; my mother had suffered a fatal heart attack and so I had no choice but to return to the U.S. I asked Pop if she would stay in the house as its housekeeper and that I would pay her for a month in advance. Of course she readily agreed knowing it was easy money.
I then did something I should have done the day before; I telephoned my lawyer and explained the situation of the day before. He told me that a practice was most unusual and would follow it up but not to worry as he would sort it out.
Within 24 hours I was back on a plane home.
There were issues with my mother’s estate that needed sorting out; my father had died some years earlier of cancer and I was the only child. The process took a little over 6 weeks and I had been constantly phoning everyday back to Thailand for an update. Come the sixth week I become extremely worried as I couldn’t get through to Pop; that is nobody was answering the phone.
I returned to Thailand exhausted; those long-haul flights are a killer. As the cab pulled up outside my house in the early evening the lights were on. I initially thought Pop was at home. Much to my surprise behind the gate was a dog; I wasn’t impressed as I had no intention of keeping a dog; the bloody streets are full of stray dogs as it is so I certainly didn’t need another around me.
As I opened the gate the front door to my villa opened and a Thai man in his mid-30’s came out and asked me what I wanted. I was tired, groggy and wasn’t in the mood and asked him who the hell he was and what he was doing in my house.
As he drew nearer I immediately noticed the brown pants and white T shirt; this guy was an off-duty cop.
He spoke reasonably good English and explained that the villa belonged to him; he apparently brought it two weeks ago. I asked about Pop who he said he’d never heard of. I then explained the situation with the Thai Land official and my lawyer.
As this point he wasn’t overly impressed and told me point blank that the Chanote title was in his name and that the property therefore belonged to him and that I had better leave before there was any trouble.
As you can imagine I was more than a little pissed but I wasn’t stupid enough to get into an argument with a Thai cop.
I walked, bags in hand, to the end of the Soi (that’s the Thai term for a street) and caught a taxi to a nearby hotel.
In the morning I telephoned my lawyer and set up a meeting. The result was that I’d been scammed. My lawyer suggested that after upsetting Pop she found someone to scam you; no doubt she was in on any money to be made. According to my Thai lawyer this wasn’t the first time this type of scam had been done.
Basically the guy at the Land Office was an impostor. He then took the Chanote title to a lawyer and obviously with inside help from the Land Department transferred the house and land into the police officer that was now occupying it. My lawyer did point out that the police officer could in fact be an innocent victim here and brought the property in good faith.
Over the next couple of days I left my lawyer to do some digging and find out who was responsible for the theft. I moved into another small rented house.
After about 2 weeks my lawyer informed me that he was getting the run-around and that he had also had a visit from the local police who politely but firmly told him to drop it and keep his nose out of their business.
This pretty much confirmed my suspicions that the cop living in my villa was in on the scam. Two nights later there was a knock at my door with two police officers standing there. They didn’t mess around and told me point blank that the best thing I could do was to leave Thailand.
I took their advice and left. I did report the whole incident to the U.S Embassy but they simply suggested that there was nothing much they could do and that I should engage the services of a lawyer; fat lot of good that did me.
I arrived back in the U.S just 5 days after the threat and I have never been back to Thailand since. I often get asked from my buddies what Thailand is like and my advice is always the same; they don’t call Thailand the ‘Land of Scams’ for nothing and that Thailand should be avoided at all costs.
This is almost unbelievable; in fact we had to do a little digging ourselves to find out if such a thing could have taken place. We tapped our on-the-ground sources and yes it has been confirmed that instances like this do happen.
Have you been a victim of crime? Please contact us with your story.