Tourist Asked for $100,000 'Ransom': Report
Saturday, April 25, 2015
PHUKET: A Canadian man is allegedly being forced to buy his way off Phuket after being involved in a fatal crash just hours after arriving on the Thai holiday island, according to a media report.
CTVNews.ca claims Jason Hoffman has been told he must pay $100,000 (three million baht) as a result of the smash on Phuket in which one person was killed and two others injured.
Jason's brother, Clinton Hoffman, told the Canadian outlet that few details are known about the crash, but the family has heard that Jason's ''scooter'' collided with a ''scooter'' carrying three people just four hours after his holiday began.
One person died and the other two were injured. Jason broke several bones, and needed surgery for his injuries, Clinton said.
Jason arrived on Phuket on Thursday last week, according to the report.
was checking with Phuket hospitals and police stations today to try to trace the young Canadian, who is said to be still suffering injuries after being discharged within two days from the unnamed hospital.
According to the report his family in Calgary is selling off his vehicles and other belongings in an effort to raise money to bring him home from Thailand.
It's not known at this stage whether the tourist gave his passport to a motorcycle hirer as collateral and whether the police are now holding his passport until compensation is paid.
That would be the normal procedure.
Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs merely confirmed that consular services were being provided: ''Consular officials are in contact with family to provide assistance.''
''To protect the privacy of the individual concerned, further details on this case cannot be released.''
Jason's brother Clinton said the family was struggling to respond appropriately to Jason's needs on Phuket, so far away.
''It's very difficult. I have so many questions that can't be answered,'' Clinton told the Canadian outlet.
He said that Jason's Thai lawyer advised the family to pay the money, rather than try to fight ''the charges,'' but coming up with $100,000 has been a challenge.
It's also not unusual for Phuket families seeking compensation to pitch a high figure so that it can be negotiated down - but that would require someone on Phuket to be acting in the best interests of Jason and his family
In an effort to raise the money, Clinton said his family has been selling Jason's belongings.
They're trying to sell his truck and motorcycle. Clinton told CTVNews.ca he was trying to sell some of his own possessions as well.
''This is a terrible tragedy and while we do not feel it is right to put a price on such an awful thing or a life, we are banding together as a family to help raise the money,'' says one post online.
''Jason is our brother, son and boyfriend. He is missed by many and we just want him home as soon as we can so he can start his recovery safely in Canada.''
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Any nationality must no race longer - doesn't mean Thai life cheaper than other.
Today Thai people risk all time when drive among irresponsibility drive tourist.
April 25, 2015 09:06
If all riders/drivers were insured, phuketman, then compensation would always happen.
Insurance. You either have it, or you don't. You either need it or you don't.
Don't do or ride anything here that you would not ride in your home country.
April 25, 2015 09:42
''To protect the privacy of the individual concerned, further details on this case cannot be released.'' Well you certainly seem to be doing your best to circumvent this Mr Ed.
April 25, 2015 09:57
If you think possible crimes should be kept secret, MR, then you'd make an ideal consul for any one of a number of Western countries. I suggest you join the secret police now. We operate at the other end of the spectrum. It's called ''total tranparency.''
phuketman- It's a fact that Thailand has the highest accident/ death rate in the world. Dont blame tourists for Thai reckless driving.
April 25, 2015 10:03
What I never understood is why TAT did not push to have all companies renting motorcycles and cars to be registered as tourism-related-business and have compulsory "All Risks Insurance" and a special stickers to be able to have a quick check by law-enforcers.
Tour boats such as speed-boats, big-game-fishing boats, powered tour boats, sailing and yacht charter boats and dive boats are all registered as transport boats with TAT Registration and must have insurance to cover any accident.
April 25, 2015 10:49
I'm a Canadian living in Thailand for the last 25 years. I have no knowledge of the accident details but I do understand the police attitude towards blaming the person with the most money. Those roads going around Phuket are full of accidents due to poor driving skills and too many vehicles racing to get from A to B.
I agree that life has value, both Thai and Foreign, neither is worth more than the other. However, $100,000 seems a lot higher than any compensation I've ever seen paid for such a thing. I smell fish.
April 25, 2015 11:05
A rare agreement with Ed motorcycle riders should have to be insured, it is very difficult to get insurance for normal sized scooters as the accident rate is so high.
I am pretty far from ok
April 25, 2015 12:38
3 million baht is way over the top. I have never heard of a sum so high for something like this. If he is indeed at fault it should be more like 100,000-200,000 baht.
The question of why they were riding 3 on a motorbike also needs to be raised. By law they are only allowed to ride 2 persons max.
This guy needs to find a new lawyer asap.
April 25, 2015 12:48
It raises 3 points:
1/. Why do people rent out motor bikes without checking that people are properly qualified & capable of riding motor cycles?
I saw some horrible 'wibbley wobbleys' during my 2 weeks holiday in Phuket, avoiding a couple by nothing more than luck as they veered completely out of control into my path.
2/. Why are the police not becoming more proactive in monitoring road conditions & dangerous driving on Phuket?
They most certainly do up country, specifically Korat.
3/. As stated by others, this compensation is obscenely high.
Why should foreigners pay so much when Thais (individuals & businesses) do not? [The Tiger disco fire; the Ferry fire; & many more.]
April 25, 2015 13:53
Dig more phuketwan, this sounds like a scam but not sure by whom...Where this accident happened? Why there is language barrier if consular is involved? And same reason, why only few details, accident happened 16/4? In what hospital he was? Was he alone at holiday?
April 25, 2015 14:15
phuketman: "Today Thai people risk all time when drive among irresponsibility drive tourist."
Three Thai people on one scooter ??? but it's the foreigner who's responsible? Hmmm...
April 25, 2015 14:29
Farangs welcome to the Thai compensation and legal system farang is always wrong as you have the deepest pockets, the lawyer you pay will just say plead guilty and pay, the compensation will always be over the odds, the fact they have 3 people on a scooter illegally and cant control it is not a contributing factor all farangs are rich so farang wrong and pay, your fault for being in Thailand.
April 25, 2015 14:53
You are applying generalisations without knowledge of this specific case, slickmelb. Sounds like . . . smells like . . . bigotry and guesswork.
This one is not adding up I get notifications from the Phuket based rescue organisations and there is nothing about this fatal incident. Hmmm who is getting scammed here?
April 25, 2015 15:55
If he is reponsible for the accident then 3 million baht isn't lot for killing someone and injuring 2 others. If the other party is quilty then it is way to much. A lot of tourist drive like lunatics and drive while under the influence of alcohol without a proper driving licence. There are a lot of Thais who never had proper driving lessons or are far to young to drive. Disaster waiting to happen.
April 25, 2015 16:51
@BigP - You may value your life at 100,000 - 200,000 Baht but I think most of us would value ours higher than that.
Also the reason i don't believe insurance is the answer is that most tourists have never ridden a motorbike before let alone have a licence to do so thus i doubt any insurance company would pay out on an unlicenced driver.
Like Jet Ski's it looks like fun and is if nothing goes wrong but when it does we're looking for someone else to blame.
April 25, 2015 17:42
3 people on a motorbike ?! That's legal here is it?
April 25, 2015 18:05
Fully agree with you. Along the years I've seen a few similar cases and the average compensation for causing death by (traffic) accident is in the bracket you mention.
To be asking 3 million can hardly be attributed to anything other than the fact that the cash cow happens to be a foreigner. Even better, a clueless (as far as such proceedings are concerned) tourist.
Considering that Thailand has the highest accident rate per capita in the world, the diabolical opposite is true. If more Thais drove like in foreign countries (Europe,US AUS/NZ in particular), everyone would be a LOT safer.
Oh and if your Thai police force could be bothered to enforce traffic laws, what a difference that would make ?
It's not about how we value our lives but how Thai society does. If the average compensation is 25x less than is being asked for here, you don't think something is wrong ?
If you are killed in traffic by a Thai, do you honestly think any police officer would entertain a damage claim of THB 3m ?
April 25, 2015 18:19
There is a difference between the average person from a developed country and the average person from a developing country. It doesn't surprise me that you can see it when it suits you, but not when it doesn't suit you. People from developed countries are also supposed to behave to a higher standard . . .
I'm only going on media reports with this response, however the son of the Red Bull founder paid THB 100,000 to the family of the policeman he killed with his Ferrari a couple years ago. Yes he needs a new Lawyer.
April 25, 2015 18:56
The guy needs to sack his lawyer and negotiate the price down..... obviously with such a high number the lawyer is going to get a large chunk........ what a sad state of affairs.... GREED GREED GREED.......
April 25, 2015 19:53
Logic, you're forgetting point 4 Logic; what happened to Jason's travel insurance?
April 25, 2015 19:56
There is strict, faultless liability for driver of motor vehicles, in Thailand (CCC 431:1) - ,
"Section 437. A person is responsible for injury caused
by any conveyance propelled by mechanism which is in his possession or
control, unless he proves that the injury results from force majeure
or fault of the injured person."
but still there is no moral damages whatever to be awarded in case of death:
"In the case of death, the types of damages are the following:
funeral or other necessary expenses,
medical expense and loss of earning prior to death3,
compensation for the third party for loss of the injured party's services4,
compensation for the third party for loss of the legal support.5
Since the civil and commercial code provide only these six types of damages in the injury causing death, the granted damages may not cover all the harms that the decedent or the person in relationship with the decedent have sustained.
For example, the damages sustained by the decedent such as decedent's loss of earning in the future or the pain and buffering from the injury prior to death are not included in the actionable Slamages6. Also, some damages sustained by the person in relationship with the decedent such as pain and suffering or losses of consortium are unable to claim under the Thailand law."
(The Non-Pecuniary Damages in Wrongful Acts Causing Bodily Harm and Death: The Comparative Study on U.S. and Thailand Laws By Worrawong Atcharawongchai Thailand Law Journal 2013 Spring Issue 1 Volume 16 http://goo.gl/jaE7H7 )
So, 100,000USD is rather unlikely high amount if the legal formula as per above is used
April 25, 2015 21:29
Three people, one dead, two seriously injured . . . not so ridiculous. The point is whether international standards apply - as readers here so often insist should be the case - or whether Thai rates are desirable. It depends, of course, whether the dead or injured are foreigners or not.
Those motorbikes are very dangerous, and they need to have a full insurance too.
people must wear helmets but many dont....nobody cares.....They drive Three to four people on the same motorcycle....who care?
Many of them are drunk......many others drive so fast.......ok no problem....
This guy just came for holliday and have to get used to drive on the left with this circus, made an accident.......this is not the first time that this story is happening ......this is an accident....he did not want to kill anybody.......he was not drunk I gess....
why should he pay three million baths?
nobody have three millions baths ........where is he going to find this money? does he have to go to jail.
a story like this does not happen in Europe.....
everything must be inssured.....why do we have inssurances ? why people are allowed to rent motorbikes that are not fully inssured....?
This problem must also be solved by the new authority, not only jet skis.....
The touristes must be given a full security....
this is not a crime......it is an accident.
April 25, 2015 21:32
The insurance policy you are referring should cover civil liability:
first, quite few few insurance policies cover such risks, and cheapest or most standard ones do not provide coverage for it;
second, even if covered, it is often of very limited amopunt, like 7,000-10,000 EUR, or even just 1,000EUR,
third, if covered, it usually applies to rather narrow scope: sometimes only to traffic accidents, and with additional covenants: e.g. to have a valid driving licence: as is well known, since Thailand has not ratified 1968 convention , but only 1949 convention, then people should get in advance in their home country 1949 IDP - since their driving licence are issued in accordance to 1968 convention - this rule in Thailandm is so loosely enforced, so it may start to feel that it is non-existising, but true is that insurance companies can always reject on such basis (see Canadian 2012 study on it http://goo.gl/DpNwfP )
then, usually not all kinds of traffic accident damages and harm compensation are covered by insurance, most excludes any non-pecuniary damages, or limit it to very small value
next, the injured have to have a right to claim such damages: and in Thailand, in case of death, no moral damages can be awarded, actually limited only funeral expenses, to some degree support for dependants, no compensation for pain of loss at all. Injured persons can claim medical expenses and loss of earning , of course.
finally, the claim should be officially filed with the tortfeasor, not a kind of informal negotiation with a participation of you-know-whom, insurance will not consider some informal "I want xxx money units" claims - moreover, those who claim damages, will not be happy to deal with insurance company, as it will scrutinize well the calim, and may found that under Thai law there is no basis for compensation payment.
And of course no insurance in civil liability cases is paid immediately. It will take months , even if there is no disputes, to establish all circumstances and evaluate it, and proceed with payment.
I am not aware about any regular travel insurance policy that cover general or traffic accident related civil liability to any meaningful extent. For that you usually have to go to local insurance market and buy it when you rent a car.
April 25, 2015 21:51
I miss the 'start-off point', the question or mr Jason Hoffman is the guilty party in this tragic accident.
If the other motorbike party is 'quilty, than they should pay for mr Jasons' hospital bill + anything needed.
April 26, 2015 06:02
A full insurance couverge must be required to all rented motorcycles. Right now I dont believe it exist.
April 26, 2015 06:36
If a foreigner is involved in a road traffic accident with a Thai, with consequent damage to the Thai vehicle or injury or death to the Thai and regardless of who caused the accident then it is almost always a case of the foreigner being blamed and being forced to pay and to pay big money, much bigger than when Thai's are found to have caused death and injury in other circumstances.
It would be helpful if this is added to the information which hotels and resorts are obliged to give to their guests about beach regulations
April 26, 2015 06:55
you can sue for the loss of income which the deceased can't earn anymore. this quickly amounts far above the 100.000 US if the deceased could have lived another 30 years.
April 26, 2015 14:09
From my experience, regardless of who actually caused the accident the foreigner usually takes the blame for one of two reasons:
Firstly, we are foreign so can never understand the thai way of driving
Secondly, as we are foreign, had we not been in the country in the first place then the accident would never have happened.
It's hard to argue with logic like that. I have dashcams front and rear and I drive extremely carefully.
I hope all those injured in the crash make a full and speedy recovery - very sad at the loss of life.
For the Canadian - welcome to Thailand mate!
April 26, 2015 14:10
I wonder did he have travel insurance or is this another case of a young person who thought that it was a waste of money
April 26, 2015 14:48
@ Paul, You explain well how different thai and foreigners are seen when it comes to payments ( is like entrance fees national parks, hahahaha).
However the way they try to work it out and rip off the foreigner is not according the thai law. I doubt or international hotels would mention such illegal procedures on a room card. I hope the fact that the son of the Red bull magnate just paid a ransom of 100,000 thb to family of the police officer he killed can be a bit of a guidance for mr James of who we still don't know or he is the guilty party., like that son of the Red Bull owner.
April 26, 2015 16:54
A lost income can be claimed only in regard of persons the deceased had a legal obligation to provide a support:
- children up to majority age (CCC Section 1563) or indefinitely if handicapped;
- his parents (Section 1564),
- living subsistence to a wife if provided in pre-nuptial agreement ;
surely, not to a working wife who may suffer probably lower standard of life, but still well above subsistence , and most probably in all other cases except, probably , when the wife was truly dependant because handicapped etc.:
If on account of the death any person has been deprived of his legal support, he is entitled to compensation therefore."
Surely, we don't know exact situation - but to climb to ca. 100,000$ of such lost income still seems unlikely.
This all is on assumption, that driver's strict liability is not excluded at all or reduced because of the fault of injured party:
A person is responsible for injury caused by any conveyance propelled by mechanism which is in his possession or control, unless he proves that the injury results from force majeure or fault of the injured person."
It is the most interesting part, of course, as it requires to establish and to prove such fault.
It can be established by criminal investigators, if they open a criminal case, but unlike strict faultless civil liability that requires a fault on a part of the driver, simple causal link that the car driven by driver has caused harm here is not enough. If a criminal case will go through the trial , then facts established there will be bound for civil case litigation too.
April 26, 2015 18:56
Kurt and Paul,
I have to disagree that foreigners are forced to pay higher levels of compensation than locals for the following reasons.
1. The Police have no authority to negotiate any settlement on behalf of either party. They may get involved to try and resolve an outcome satisfactory to both parties.
2. If any foreigner pays an amount of compensation then he/her must then be happy with the amount verses the cost he/she might incur fighting it.
3. Any litigation and the strength of your case is determined by your current position and the facts for which compensation is being sought.
4. If a foreigner has to return home by a certain date and this is used as leverage against them to settle, so be it. They can always decide to stay and fight but more often than not, it is easier to pay a higher amount and have the issue finished with.
5. Having insurance probably won't resolve the short term issues as the policy holder cannot just settle a claim and expect it to be reimbursed by their travel insurance company or the insurance company to just wire the funds.
6. It may well appear that foreigners pay more in such cases but maybe they are just buying their way out of the problem. The more people do this, the higher will be future initial asking price for compensation claims.
7. We should not mix up what someone is prepared to pay and what is the real cost without considering the position of both parties.
8. I am unaware of any Police force that has authority to settle civil claims but this does not restrict them or any other person from mediating an agreement between parties.
9. Its a classic case of entering the room with a big stick and dangling a carrot above the door to shown the only way out. A situation that would change very quickly if you advise you are willing to stay and fight the claim, no matter how long it takes. Whether you can or not is another story but I'm sure the value of the claim will reach a reasonable level more quickly.
But we foreigners generally take the easy way out!
April 26, 2015 19:13
Why are people saying the red bull heir paid only thb 100000 goggle it or search Bangkok post it was three million baht (100000 dollars) and there is still civil action pending
April 26, 2015 22:36
The 100,000 baht may have been the cost of the cremation.
To all you people who keep saying that 3 million baht is too much: Did you or did you not read the part in the article that says' Thai families usually hedge at an unusually higher price so that it will get negotiated down to something somewhat reasonable?
April 27, 2015 06:23
I thought all drivers were insured when they paid road tax.
You can't get road tax without insurance.
April 28, 2015 19:34
@ Tbs, you are very right! Not pay road tax, than no insurance. Every motorbike owner with a valid year-sticker is having a insurance.
However, insurances always look for the loopholes not to pay. The fact that 3 persons were on the motorbike is ( law wise) a valid reason for a insurance firm not to pay out! This besides the matter or they were wearing yes/no helmet, having yes/no driving license, were yes/no sober ( were drugs/alcohol tests done? ) The readers don't know anything about all this. Makes it hard to analyze the real thing.
April 29, 2015 08:45
every skilled negotiator, starting negotiation starts from the higher end of "negotiation continuum"( and of course, define it at first place).
However , concerns are about extra-judicial procedure of this mediation; involvement of police who by definition should not be involved in civil matters at all, and , of course p, about their impartiality; and if that amount involves well grounded regular payments like compensation of child support in place of deceased , then no law prescribes to pay it out as (discounted) lump sum.
In geberal the matter belongs to court, that in regard of regular payments would set an amount and a schedule, and, as per law, will regularly review it.
And I think, Thai court verdicts in geberal can be enforced in Canada.
April 29, 2015 09:42
The canadian had been drinking and was driving in the wrong lane. Sounds like quilty to me.
April 29, 2015 13:24
What would happen if a tourist got into the same accident in Canada ?
Would it be as easy for a tourist to rent the bike ? ---- Many tourists on the island are not used to riding motorcycles back home.. but do it here anyway.. cause its Thailand .. right ?
And they do not drive/ride the same way as they would back home ... as they assume ... its thailand .. all drive bad
Logic has the right concept.. hopefully can be implemented here in Phuket.
April 30, 2015 12:49
As a foreigner, involved in a case like this, never accept the police in the role of Mediator. Just demand from police to alcohol/drugs tests on both drivers! Always let it become a court case. You don't have to 'fight' anything. The demanding party who wants your money, let them fight for it. Let them prove in Court they were not drunk or under influence of drugs, etc.. Keep your wallet closed. And no one can prevent you of leaving Thailand. There are international rulings about it which Thailand has signed/committed too ( remember, you not committed a crime!)
May 2, 2015 10:18
To those who believe the police blame the westerner/Farang all the time. That is not true, 1 month ago had a 17 yr no liscense thai kid hit the side of my car in broad daylight. After going to Patong police station they pulled the video from the CC cameras and he was completly at fault and had to pay all repairs to my car. Police did a great job very professional. They even yelled at him for being stupid and trying to lie about it at first.
Also, why are people still commenting on this tread since a new update about the guy being twice the legal limit. What is happening now is they negotiating to not have the family press charges. That is why they are asking so much. In the US he would be arrested and chaged with Murder. Then the civil compensation would come later. So here he can pay and then fly home. If not pay, go jail. Very easy. He was stupid and I hope the family gets compensated.
May 2, 2015 12:34
a scam: easy way to get a free holiday paid for with generous canadian money
May 3, 2015 20:19
As a regular to Phuket since 16 years now and driving here since 2007,I allways rent a car(in my case)from people I know(Braun car rent)fully insured,damage both material and fysic t third parties,but renting on the roadside is a bad idea,leaving your passport a financial suicide.
May 4, 2015 22:46
For the last 10 years and on most visits I rent a car from the place in front of Andaman Beach Suites. 1,000 Baht per day, 5,000 deposit, insured with 10 k excess, only require a copy of passport and DL and never a problem. Even when I had some kids drive into the back of me, I gave them another 5k and all were happy.
May 5, 2015 09:07
Kids ran into the back of your car, meaning they are automatically at fault and you are surprised that after YOU paid extra Bt 5000, everyone was happy ?
They say there's a fool born every day, the trick is just to find him.
Please let me know when you are driving around Phuket again. I'd like to run into the back of your car for a Bt 5000 reward too.
May 5, 2015 16:06
Yes Herbert, I know they were at fault. The problem was that when I stopped to the side of the road, the two kids jumped on their bike and fled while the pillion covered the number plate with her hands, then turned off through a village.
I was more concerned with their well being at the time and reported it at the local police station but without number plate details it was a waste of time.
Yes, I could probably have caught up with them, then driven them off the road into a tree or maybe just mowed them down, just to get their details and to save me 10,000 Baht and then a day or so sorting it out with the police. It seemed a more reasonable approach just to let it go.
Yes, I was annoyed but also happy they were not injured. Does anything else really matter?
If you really need 5,000 or 10,000 Baht there is no need to run into the back of me, just ask and I'll save you the possibility of any injury, if it's not already too late!
May 5, 2015 17:31
Just want to clear up some of the postings. 1. You only need Thi Basic medical insurance to re-new your road tax Not Actual full insurance. 2. Insurance Companies don't want to insure Motorbikes and most will tell you they will not. 3. I have full insurance on all my Motor bikes, Car and house. But I only have full insurance on my Motorbikes because I told the head office in Bangkok I would cancel my house and car if they would not insure my motorbikes and they agreed. So those who think rental bikes should have full coverage are fighting an uphill battle in Thailand well over 90Pct of all Motorbikes in Thailand are uninsured I actually don't know one Thi with motorbike full coverage. I am the exception not the rule.
May 5, 2015 19:56
Insurance companies will not pay out if you are DUI and involved in a accident
A lot of travel insurance companies will not cover you for riding a motorcycle in Asia even if you hold the correct license in your home country
you need to read the conditions of a insurance policy which most people don't until it's to late
May 7, 2015 16:34