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Froth and bubble for an expat over pouring a beer last night

Phuket Bar Beer Puts Expat Pourer Out of Work

Saturday, October 23, 2010
THIS beer cost Irishman Neil Bernard Walsh his freedom last night. The problem: pouring the beer behind a bar put him on the wrong side of the law.

Mr Walsh does not have a permit to work in Thailand. His timing was out, too, because he poured the beer last night at a Phuket bar while officials were visiting.

The incident came at the Laguna nightclub in the southern Phuket destination of Rawai when officials went to the complex of bars as a result of a series of complaints about early morning noise.

The officials discussed the complaints at Laguna with the manager of the bar, Khun Noi, who said she paid 10,000 baht a month to one man, a neighbor of the venue. The neighbor, a man, said the noise often kept his children awake.

Khun Noi said the venue had recently expanded from eight bars to nine bars with the addition of Mr Walsh's bar, and asa a result the neighbor had now asked for more money.

Laguna does not have a licence to operate beyond midnight, however neighbors say that parts of the complex have been known to stay open until 6am. Earlier this year at a public meeting about the possibility of late-opening entertainment zones on Phuket, Khun Noi said she was a supporter of round-the-clock opening hours.

Officials from the Damrungtam complaints office at Provincial Hall in Phuket City and Public Health accompanied police to Laguna about 10.30pm.

Mr Walsh, 26, was taken to Chalong police station where he was granted bail of 60,000 baht and is due to appear in court today.
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Comments have been disabled for this article.


Just wondering if you are an informant for the police as your camera seems to be in the right place at the right time when these sting operations take place ??
also do you have written permission to post these tourist and locals pictures on the web for your financial gain...
Hmmm I may have to check the legality of this one....
I'm sure this comment will ether not be posted or edited to suit your purpose..
oh well not much i can do about your heavy handed moderation on this comment...have a nice day

Posted by jimmy Rawai on October 23, 2010 12:18


All must stick by the law and law-enforcers must act the sooner the better.

Those bars in Rawai, Chalong road pier and other parts of Phuket are a nuisance to neighbors as they make too much noise with bass system at the highest level.

One bar can disturb the sleep of all neighbors within hundreds of meter radius.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on October 23, 2010 12:34


Naughty boy

Posted by Lord Jim on October 23, 2010 13:32


Neil, this is what is known as a C L M lad. Yes, a Career Limiting Move. What were you thinking, no W P and you could get away without one ?

Posted by Robin on October 23, 2010 14:32


He should have known this...
I see so many bar owner doing this here in Phuket. Totally different story in Pattaya, even more dangerous over there.

Posted by Gerd on October 23, 2010 14:33


What a joke, he only poured a beer, not working for wages, but this is Thailand.

Posted by graeme on October 23, 2010 16:21


Slow day at the office Jimmy R?

Posted by Mister Ree on October 23, 2010 19:45


So when friends and I sit down with a Chang Tower and pour our own beers we should have got a WP, because we are pouring drinks and that's a listed Thai only job?

This 'rule' is the blanket law designed to keep all farangs in their 'place'.

Don't placate even one Thai, and the next time you are witnessed painting the girlfriend's house or mowing her lawns, or even voluntarily disinfecting the filthy public toilets at Kamala as one old Euro learned, you can be locked up.

Posted by Chob on October 23, 2010 19:55

Editor Comment:

It's fairer to say the law is designed to provide and protect jobs for Thais. Where the expats come from is immaterial.



Don't think you read the article correctly, Mr Walsh has just bought a bar in the complex, so he was working. Rules are rules and, no matter what you think, you have to abide by them in the country you are in.

Posted by michael on October 23, 2010 20:17


You don't need permission to take a picture in a public place, now go and read your legal rights, have a nice day.

BTW, that guy should have known it, just silly when you know how it is here.

Posted by southbound on October 24, 2010 00:48


Yes, the guy was wrong. By the time he was the owner of the bar, he should have known it. I once had the same fate and police asked me 30,000 baht (not in an official way). However, the sad thing for me is how money can buy even noise pollution with 10,000 baht/month to the neighbor, who will use it to buy 1000 sleeping pills ?

Posted by cekipa on October 24, 2010 07:23

Editor Comment:

The neighbor has not had the opportunity yet to confirm or deny those reports.


a friend of mine had a restaurant in Bali. Same rules.
Great photo Editor. My guess would be it came from the coppers as they were "working" undercover!
however I must say there must be better things to do then bust a guy for this?
100's of house burglaries in Rawai and this is the best they can do to enforce the law?

Posted by Vfaye on October 24, 2010 10:26

Editor Comment:

People complain about traffic police ignoring laws being broken in front of them . . . then complain when officers arrest someone (allegedly) breaking a law in front of them.

The photo was taken by a Phuketwan journalist.


Jimmy, you are in Thailand, correct? Then surely you know that the game here is for police to invite the media along to raids and parade suspects of the crime-crackdown flavor of the month in media conferences.

A tourist who once got caught in a bar raid asked the police what would happen if he refused to pee in the cup. He was told that he would then be assumed to be guilty of drug-taking and locked up.

It's not pleasant, it's not a level of human rights enjoyed in the West, but that's the way it is.

Posted by L on October 24, 2010 10:44

Editor Comment:

Refusing to take a test to measure alcohol in the blood or any other drug in the West would explode the theory that people are somehow less fortunate here. It's the same assumption of guilt. And the same result.


Yes, but in the west I don't believe that police would be able ask you to provide a sample when there is no evidence otherwise that you are violating a law. I believe there has to be suspicion of a crime or civil offense before police would have a right to demand this.

Standing in the wrong place at the wrong time wouldn't suffice. That's the difference I was trying to highlight, and my point was really that there seems to be no 'legal' problem with publishing photos and personal details of suspects (I've seen cases also where the IDs and photos of crime victims, too, are revealed....)

Posted by L on October 24, 2010 12:32

Editor Comment:

The question of ''suspicion of violating a law'' is often hotly debated, and with justification. If you are an elite athlete, for example, random testing at inappropriate times is not considered to be a breach of rights, simply part of being a professional. Why should average people be treated more fairly? The confusion highlights creeping concern about the extent of illegal drug-taking.

Are there democracies where the IDs of victims are suppressed, except for sex offences and cases where fear of retribution is real?


Breaking the law here is about as common as can be.
Look at the hundreds if not thousands of foreign companies with ''nominee" shareholders that are blatantly ignoring the 51percent Thai partner requirements. How many expats have retained land in their spouse's name? Both illegal and against the spirit of the law in every way.

Posted by Media Watcher on October 24, 2010 13:18

Editor Comment:

At least those expats are not likely to complain about anything else, are they? Much. Is there a country where people obey the spirit rather than the letter of the law?


"the law is an ass": so said Mr Bumble. But Mr Walsh has got himself in 'a dickens of a twist'.

Posted by Pete on October 24, 2010 14:17


Sorry michael, i did not read the article fully, he did own the bar and as such was working, the law is the law.

Posted by graeme on October 24, 2010 16:19


So Mr Walsh was set up by Phuket Wan???

Posted by matt on October 24, 2010 23:43

Editor Comment:

Oh sure. We've got nothing better to do.


Laguna only opens when most bars close, in fact that is where the bar staff go when their bars close. What a mountain out of a mole hill. The poor guy was a volunteer.

Posted by Tony Blignaut on October 25, 2010 00:05


MediaWatcher: Giving someone money to purchase property is not illegal so long as they are the actual owner, which is always the legal case with Thai spouses. Ask any land officer.

Posted by Philip on October 25, 2010 07:49


You are wrong. Just because everyone does it doesn't mean it's legal. Foreigners hlding land in a spouse's name bought with foreign funds is illegal.
And in Thailand most "lawyers" say whatever you want to hear in order to collect a fee. Read the law yourself.

Posted by MediaWatcher on October 25, 2010 08:47


Nothing is "hiding". It becomes the property of the spouse forever, plain and simple. The land office even has a specific printed form for it.

Posted by Philip on October 25, 2010 10:43


You bet the Thai spouse gets the land, purchased legally - that's what it's all about. Read the law, Thai spouse is not allowed to use foreigner's funds. Do it and find out.

Posted by MediaWatcher on October 25, 2010 13:14


I was just talking to a man about a job today, he has an established business, using his lawyer's niece and can't offer me work permit,
"..But that can be got around".

And he goes on visa runs. How can one operate a business in a country without a yearly visa?

Posted by Media Watcher on October 25, 2010 13:18

Editor Comment:

Most people on one-year visas are still obliged to do three-monthly visa runs. Take your own advice to Phillip: read the rules.


It's a common confusion M.W, but the law simply states the property must be personal property (Sin Suan Tua) of the Thai citizen not a common property (Sin Som Ros). The origin of the funds is irrelevant so long as they effectively belong to the Thai citizen (even if a gift from their spouse) at purchase. This info is from the land office!

Posted by Philip on October 25, 2010 14:13


@ Philip
It's a common confusion M.W, but the law simply states the property must be personal property (Sin Suan Tua) of the Thai citizen not a common property (Sin Som Ros).

You are correct about that official document stipulating that, donation or not, the land will belong to Thai spouse or nominees as written on the land documents.

The main point is, how long you will survive with your Thai spouse before she will expel you from her house? Few months to several years.

Do not forget that for many Thais, cheating a farang is not a sin and many foreigners go back penniless to their home country or kill themselves in despair.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on October 25, 2010 15:28

Editor Comment:

Just to speed things up a bit, some are even murdered. But there are probably many, many more couples who live happily ever after.


Ed, your comment, "Most people on one-year visas are still obliged to do three-monthly visa runs."
I wonder if we could get some better info on this. I have lived here for six years, have my own company, 70/30 Thai farang split. I am on a non-imm B visa and I have never done any 90 day visa runs out of Thailand. I just go to the immigration office, fill in the forms, get a new date to report stamp in my passport and get sent on my merry way, with a friendly goodbye and see you again, in 90 days time time. I have never done anything illegal to get this privilege and have not had any trouble for doing this either. So what is the proper position/law regarding this please. Thanks.
Any more news on Neils' predicament?

Posted by Robin on October 25, 2010 18:39


What is the point of the officials visiting at 10.30 p.m. when it is okay for the bars to be open??

Why aren't they visiting at 2.30 in the morning when most of the customers are arriving??

Posted by another steve on October 25, 2010 22:05

Editor Comment:

It was a visit to see the premises, meet the venue's manager, and discuss the complaints. It was not a raid.


Sorry Editor, I read the rules, you are mistaken. It is a ninety day report required with a one year visa, not a visa run.
Again, how is it business owners operating on tourist visa?
My point is laws are not enforced evenly and loopholes abound so that is why there are so many problems.

Posted by MediaWatcher on October 26, 2010 08:53


The post by the Editor said that they set him up because they had nothing better to do. If this is so i was curious how you obtained information that this individual was not acting within the law. Krop Khun Krop

Posted by Alexander on November 1, 2010 13:53

Editor Comment:

It's not true, we have a lot to do, and no time to waste on such matters. Sorry to confuse you, but most readers would realise we were being facetious.

Sunday September 26, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


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