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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat
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    A New Story ...... I Think Not !!!

    *
    *
    *From The Daily Mail......... Today ( 25th September )



    The Phuket Property Nightmare

    By Jonathan Head BBC News, Phuket



    The sparkling seas and warm beaches of Phuket are a magnet for sun-seeking holiday-makers and, increasingly, for foreigners seeking a comfortable and cost-efficient retirement. More than 100,000 foreigners have settled on the island - though some now bitterly regret it.

    British expat Ian Rance and Irishman Colin Vard are now living almost penniless with their children on the outskirts of Bangkok as they struggle against overwhelming odds to recover properties they bought on Phuket. Both men lost all their investments through frauds that neither of them imagined were possible.

    "I'd made my money in England and had enough to retire I thought. I was looking for a place that was warm, a place that had some rule of law, where I could live in safety and peace," says Rance, a chartered surveyor and professional arbitrator from Hertfordshire, who arrived in Phuket in 2000.

    "When I came to Thailand on a trip to Australia it sort of seemed to fit the bill."

    In 2001 Ian met and married a Thai woman called Suda and went on to have three children with her. The prime minister at the time, Thaksin Shinawatra, had started a programme called "Thailand Elite", through which he hoped to attract wealthy foreigners to settle by allowing them to own small amounts of land, something not normally permitted under Thai law.


    Encouraged by this, Rance began investing in property, buying two houses, and eventually a restaurant and two pieces of land. But the Thailand Elite scheme never took off, so in the end he did what thousands of other foreigners did - he put the properties either in the name of the company he had already formed to run his consultancy business, or in the name of his wife.
    The family home was in his wife's name, but leased to him on a 30-year lease. The company was nominally Thai-owned but Rance, as a director, had majority voting rights - nothing could happen to the company's assets without his approval. He was advised by local lawyers that this was legally quite safe.
    But unbeknown to him, in July 2008 Suda began transferring the properties out of the company. In September she also removed Rance as a director. On paper none of this should have been possible. In practice, all she had to do was to forge her husband's signature. The Land Office in Phuket, where property transfers are formalised, was willing to accept a simple forged power of attorney from Rance to change ownership of properties worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, and to cancel his 30-year lease on their home.
    To change the control of the company the forged signature had to be notarised by a lawyer - but that presented no problem. A local lawyer did this willingly, without Rance being present. When the BBC confronted the lawyer about this he admitted the signature was his, but claimed it was normal practice in Phuket. The Thai Lawyers Council has since told the BBC this is not true, that it is a serious violation of their code of conduct. But Rance's attempts to sue the lawyer have got nowhere.
    ________________________________________

    He only spotted the fraud in July 2010, when checking his company's tax status. He discovered that all five properties, worth well over 1m ($1.5m), had been stolen. What began then was, he says, a nightmare period for him. His wife ran away. Four men came into his house and threatened his life if he did not get out of Phuket. His wife phoned him and told him they would kidnap the children if he did not leave the house immediately. Gun crime and murder are not uncommon in Phuket, and Rance decided to flee to Bangkok with the three young boys.
    "It was a terrible, terrible time. I really had no time, thinking I was going to be shot, or the kids would be kidnapped. My first thought was to protect the family, try and get some evidence, and get a lawyer on board as quickly as possible."
    The evidence Rance has amassed is staggering. Document after document shows the same land agent and two moneylenders, transferring the properties back and forth to his ex-wife in a form of pawnbroking, where she was in effect borrowing at astronomical rates of interest, using the properties as collateral. Rance believes she was being pressurised by relatives to raise the cash. He believes she received only a fraction of the properties' value. She was arrested in 2010, and is now serving a four-year prison sentence.


    But nothing has happened to any of the other parties linked to the fraud. Rance has filed nine criminal and civil suits against them. He has had to travel to Phuket for every hearing, paying for himself, a lawyer, and a translator - hearings which are usually many months apart, and sometimes cancelled at the last minute. Worse, one of the moneylenders has filed a perjury case against Rance, claiming that he knew about the fraud all along. This has resulted in Rance's passport being confiscated, and he is now obliged to report to the police every month in Phuket.

    Over five years Rance estimates he has spent the equivalent of 200,000 ($300,000) on legal fees and other costs relating to the legal battle. The only case he has won resulted in the imprisonment of his ex-wife and the restoration of his company directorship. Yet the same judge ruled that he had no right to sue the moneylenders for the stolen properties, because he had not been a director of the company at the time.
    Rance has hired five lawyers, some of whom he says have overcharged him and sometimes deliberately sabotaged his cases. He has had to petition the Ministry of Justice to find a lawyer he can trust.

    "There are many foreigners who have filed cases similar to Ian Rance," says Surin Bumrungphol, who heads the Phuket Anti-Corruption Network, a campaign group. "In many cases the lawyers they hire actually work for the other side, for more money. The reason most of them lose is because of corrupt, incompetent lawyers, and the failure of law enforcement officers to do their job properly."

    Since I started working on this story a number of foreigners have contacted me to tell me about their experience of different kinds of fraud on Phuket. In some cases the property deal they have signed up to has not been honoured. But only one other case matches Rance's in almost every detail.
    Colin Vard also invested about 1m in Phuket, after a successful career in Dublin as an author and part-owner of a clothing factory. He lost a total of eight properties, over a similar time period. In some cases the same moneylenders who exploited Rance's wife were involved.
    Vard's Thai partner, the mother of his son, has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for the fraud but evidence showing the involvement of several other people has been ignored by police. Vard has accused some police officers in Phuket of tampering with his criminal complaints by removing evidence from his files, so the cases fail in court - and he has discovered that the cousin of one police chief actually ended up with one of his stolen properties.

    In desperation, in March this year Vard went with his two children into the central branch of a Thai bank he believes is connected to the fraud, and mounted a sit-down protest. He has done the same outside the police headquarters in Bangkok, blocking the traffic. Each time he has been promised a proper investigation.
    But after five years, there has been no visible progress. The Thai police have assured the BBC that they are working on his case. The deputy governor in Phuket also promised Vard and the BBC in February that his case would be taken up, but to date nothing has happened.

    Ian Rance has a new wife now, and they have a young baby girl. His main priority he says is to provide a proper home for the four children, and put them through school. With the boys' mother in prison, and his funds exhausted, this is a huge challenge. He cannot even consider returning to the UK, because of the requirements regarding income and savings, which in his case are now insufficient.

    I asked him what he would say to those considering retiring and buying property in Phuket.
    "Don't. Don't come here. The system of law is nowhere near as strong as you think it is going to be, there is no protection for you, and there are gangs of people victimising you. The lawyers have very little in the way of ethics or professionalism."

    Thousands of foreigners have settled in Phuket without serious difficulties. But if things do go wrong, they may find it hard to get help from the police or the judicial system.

    ************************************************** **********************************************
    Last edited by Wasp; 25-09-2015 at 09:59 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wasp
    ... to those considering retiring and buying property in Phuket. [or anywhere else in the land of smiles]
    "Don't. ..."
    Appears to be good advice

  3. #3
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    Pretty tragic to work hard for so long and then lose it all. I guess they did not adequately assess the calibre of their first wives.

    "Vard's Thai partner, the mother of his son, has been sentenced to 17 years in prison for the fraud".....That is a very long time for fraud.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Latindancer View Post
    I guess they did not adequately assess the calibre of their first wives.
    That would be as tricky as painting pictures on puddles only history will prove her worth.
    I for one would never buy a property that I don't own, but I'm a suspicious scrote at the best of times.

  5. #5
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Latindancer View Post

    Pretty tragic to work hard for so long and then lose it all. I guess they did not adequately assess the caliber of their first wives.
    Interesting comment.

    So how can anyone predict what could possibly happen 9 years down the track ?

    Do a pole on This forum and ask how many of the members have been married and divorced before. Most would be pretty close to the mark.

    I think it's more accurate to ask,

    Why were they so stupid to invest so much of their capital into a system that makes it very clear that Farangs have no right to own land ?

    Especially Vard who lost the fokin lot.
    Stroller is a Yerman faggot.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by terry57 View Post
    So how can anyone predict what could possibly happen 9 years down the track ?
    You find a girl who is the daughter of a very conservative and devout Buddhist family, who would not even think of doing anything dishonest.....which is what I did.

    I planned it that way.

    I do confess though that I didn't meet her till I was 52, and I met a lot of idiots and floozies along the way. However having said that, when I was with previous girlfriends, I never contemplated getting married or putting any property in our names jointly.

    If you have the above as your very first criterion in searching for a Thai woman, everything will go well. But if you find a bar-girl (as many do, and these guys _possibly_ did), then you do exactly the opposite.

    Quote Originally Posted by terry57 View Post
    Why were they so stupid to invest so much of their capital into a system that makes it very clear that Farangs have no right to own land ?
    We all know the answer : cvnt-struck, and relatively green in the ways of Asian women.
    Last edited by Latindancer; 25-09-2015 at 07:41 PM.

  7. #7
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    Got to admit I went balls in here. Land (obviously) house, car all in the wifes name. She was first to say "don't like it here" everything sold now and the money is in MY bank account. Getting ready to leave now. Guess I've got a good one
    SCROTUM PASS ME PISTOL

  8. #8
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    ^
    Yep, definitely too many scaremongers on TD - the chief one being a gayish ex fireman

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by bankao dreamer View Post
    . She was first to say "don't like it here" .
    Is that why you're leaving BD ?

    And where in Belgium ( roughly ) will you be ?




    Wasp

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iceman123 View Post
    ^
    Yep, definitely too many scaremongers on TD - the chief one being a gayish ex fireman
    And little knowledge of the broader subject matter, relying on old mythological/stereotypical standbys.
    Last edited by thaimeme; 25-09-2015 at 10:43 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by terry57 View Post


    Do a pole on This forum and ask .

    It's " poll " terry . It's " poll " .

    Don't turn nasty on me - I'm just helping .

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wasp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by terry57 View Post


    Do a pole on This forum and ask .

    It's " poll " terry . It's " poll " .

    Don't turn nasty on me - I'm just helping .
    Forgive him for he is a fireman

  13. #13
    Thailand Expat
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    Is he Polish ?

  14. #14
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    Heh:

    Quote Originally Posted by Iceman123 View Post
    ^
    Yep, definitely too many scaremongers on TD - the chief one being a gayish ex fireman
    Don't let your lust for him cloud your vision...

  15. #15
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    Depends how and where you meet them as to what kind of person they are.
    If you meet them in a red light district chances aren't good.

  16. #16
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    Firemen ?

  17. #17
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    ^ Lots of red lights where the firemen go...

  18. #18
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    ^

  19. #19
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    I don't like it here also Wasp, we both can't wait to get on the plane out of here.
    Yesterday we became the owners of a small chalet in the country side 10km from the Dutch border near a town called Turnhout.

  20. #20
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wasp View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by terry57 View Post


    Do a pole on This forum and ask .

    It's " poll " terry . It's " poll " .

    Don't turn nasty on me - I'm just helping .

    Oh sorry about that, Poll it is then.

    Someone do a Poll and ask this Question.

    Who has been married and divorced before coming to Thailand and having another crack.

    I'd do it but I don't know how to do polls.

  21. #21
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
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    ^^

    Jesus Mate,

    I'm sorry to say, the quicker Thailand see's the back of you the better, You do bitch on.

    No offense like, just sayin.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by BaitongBoy View Post
    ^ Lots of red lights where the firemen go...
    A bit of pole-dancing where Terry comes from, too....





    Oh bugger....I forgot to remove the "s", and now I have, the page is still broken.

  • #23
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    I do feel for the two guys in the article but if coming here to retire what idiot buys 8 properties here when it is illegal for foreigners to own land.
    OK one house to live in but 8? Greed is all I can think and they mistakenly believed that real estate works here just like it does anywhere else.

    Want to have fun pick an Isaan girl. Want to get married chose one from Chiang Mai is I believe the mantra.
    Better to think inside the pub, than outside the box?
    I apologize if any offence was caused. unless it was intended.
    You people, you think I know feck nothing; I tell you: I know feck all
    Those who cannot change their mind, cannot change anything.

  • #24
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by terry57 View Post
    ^^

    I'm sorry to say, the quicker Thailand see's the back of you the better, You do bitch on.
    I think it's extremely unfair to say someone is 'bitching' when the person is simply answering my question of why they're leaving .

    It's not 'whingeing' when a Pom finds after 18 months that the beaches and the beer in Australia become boring.
    And surely it's perfectly fine for someone in Thailand who has given it a good go ..... with far more effort than the clowns in Pattaya who just buy a condo ...... I mean they opened a restaurant ! They made a substantial farm !! They built one of the most interesting houses you'll ever see in this Forum !!!
    It's not ' bitching ' when after so much effort they sit and look into their hearts and they find they are not enjoying the life in Thailand all that much.

    I think only Simon and possibly OldMonkey have made more effort .

    The BD2 have looked at life in Thailand and now they've looked back at Europe .
    Medieval cobbled squares versus a weekly market with flies crawling all over the meat and 200 stalls selling dire Chinese crap !

    They gave it all a really good go and they shouldn't be abused for saying simply they don't like it and they prefer to move away .
    After all tel , they didn't come on here and say to the World that Thailand is crap .
    They simply answered my question of why they are going . Otherwise they wouldn't have said anything.

    That's not bitching .

    Now say you're sorry and wish them luck


    " Good Luck BD and Mrs. BD !!! Bonne Chance !!! " .... from me and I'm sure from terrycinquante-sept.



    W.

  • #25
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
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    ^


    Na mate,

    He is always posting up how he recons Belgian is so fookin brilliant and how shit Thailand is.

    The complete Country will be glad to see the arse end of him.

    Truth hurts EH.

    Wish he would take Mao with him.

    And Thegent as well.

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