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Phuket has nothing to fear from limited expat investment

Don't Be Unfair to Phuket Expats, Thais Are Told

Friday, September 4, 2009
SUPPORT for overseas investment on Phuket came from an unexpected source today . . . a leader of the powerful Internal Security Operations Command, which has the Prime Minister as chief commanding officer.

And he added that it was time to stop the finger-pointing. Thais were more likely to be cheating the system than expats, he said.

Investors from Britain, Hong Kong, Australia, the US, Germany and Sweden represent the overseas countries with the largest stakeholds in Phuket, Phuketwan was told today.

All up, 107 countries have some kind of investment on the island.

The statistics come from Rear Admiral Amornchot Sujirat, the local deputy in charge of the Army's Internal Security Operations Command and a board member of the Kata Beach Resort.

Overseas money has gone into tourism, real estate, resorts, condominiums, construction, restaurants and tour companies, he said.

Out of the total investment of 62,503 million baht, the rear admiral said, Thai investment totalled 53,000 million and overseas investment consisted of 9,000 million.

British investment led the way, at 1284 million.

''There is no problem with nominees taking control,'' Rear Admiral Amornchot said. ''My advice to Thais would be not to keep pointing their fingers at farang,'' he said.

''Overseas investors are overwhelmingly legitimate in what they do here. It is the Thais who tend to try more often to bend the law to suit their own ends.''

His comments follow release of a report sponsored by the Thailand Research Foundation that raises concerns about levels of expat ''control'' of Phuket property, especially by the beach.

Much of the controversy flowed after a page one lead heading in the Bangkok Post that said: 'Foreigners own 90 pc of Phuket beachfront.'

The headline was rejected as wrong by the researchers. The document says nothing of the kind.

Investigations by Phuketwan have shown the concerns of the researchers are probably unfounded. Some segments of the media, though, prefer to promote paranoia.

The release of the report comes by coincidence at the same time as an update on a nationwide investigation by the Department of Special Investigation into 61 cases involving property, 16 on Phuket.

DSI investigations have been underway for years. Most of the cases concern Thai owners.

The President of the Phuket Professional Guide Association, Panomphol Thummachartniyom, told Phuketwan today that what Phuket needed most was broader targetted marketing of tourists.

Koreans especially visited only Korean-owned restaurants, resorts and tour operators, and as a result most of the money went back to Korea, he said.

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Comments

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As Phuket Governor and many officials from Bangkok said previously, the law is the law so it does not matter if some influential Thais want to cool down the negative impact of the bad comments in the Thai medias and websites by frustrated expats.
The only point where they may be fair for all expats living in Thailand, would be to let any expat to buy home for living with Thai spouse or for retirement and be stricter for foreign investors if they want to invest in real estate businesses as it is done in many countries.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on September 4, 2009 13:39

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Any foreigner can already own the house Whistle Blower, it's the restrictions on the land the house sits on that is unfair and make property investment a risk. And why make marriage a requisite? Isn't that somewhat suspect? Not all of us here want to get married.

Make reasonable laws on ownership terms and tax profiting to keep out the predators and allow legally residing foreigners to own a piece of land !

BTW; 30 years is the maximum period a lease contract is valid, and ONLY if registered w Land Dept. After that it's entirely at the landlord or his heir's discretion to sign any 30 year renewal that is touted by realtors as 30 + 30 + 30 "ownership".

Posted by Christy K. on September 5, 2009 13:15

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A foreigner with Thai spouse and it is better with a child is protected by international laws which stipulate that a country which has signed UN Convention on family can not separate family members and must help to reunify that family as much they can and Europe has a lot of problem to deal with that rule.

The main reason foreigners get a 1 year Visa it is because they are legally married with Thai spouses and better with Thai children issue from the same marriage.

Definitely, UN Convention law make compulsory that foreigners living more than 183 days in the same country during a calendar year may have to pay personal taxes in that country on request by that country.

So if you do not pay personal taxes in Thailand, you are very lucky but it may not be last many years more.

Thailand has a soft approach to deal to collect taxes for expats by applying several steps; first they make easy to apply for a Visa (O), later on, they will ask to have retirement pension fully declared to get that Visa (O), and later on they will make compulsory to pay personal taxes in Thailand as it had been agreed between Thailand and UN few years ago.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on September 6, 2009 10:28

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I already pay taxes on investment here, and I pay huge, "Farang" tax every time I walk out my door, yet I can't own a gun or even get a phone line in my name.

I would like to propose to my Congresswoman that USA take away all rights for Thais to own land within America until this country has a more equitable stance toward legally residing foreigners.

Posted by Christy K. on September 7, 2009 10:27

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During the last few years i have rented 3 houses.Two were sold.The house i am currently renting, has been foreclosed by the bank......leaving me on the street.

Yes, it is about time the Thai government changed the law. I would like to build my own home!!!

Posted by Aussie farang on September 7, 2009 22:49

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To be approved by a moderator?? Haha. Who? The Thai Ministry of Tourism? Can you imagine any of these reported things happening in the United States and there being NO legal recourse or consequences? Maybe Thai's are just on the Honor System. And all the world seems to ignore Reality.

Posted by Anonymous on September 22, 2009 10:18


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