Archive for March, 2009

Condo owner arrested… for working illegally

A Canadian man who has lived in Phuket for over a decade has been arrested for working illegally in Thailand, a charge he claims stems from a dispute over maintenance fees with one of the co-owners of a condominium complex in which he owns five units. […]

Speaking to the Gazette from inside the jail cell, Mr Nixon explained that he started spending winters in Thailand about 20 years ago to escape the Canadian climate, and now owns five units at Blue Canyon. He has also been a member of the Blue Canyon Country Club since its inception in 1992.

He told the Gazette that he was not working in Phuket, but had merely been elected by fellow condo owners as their “juristic person” representative at an annual meeting. Serving as a condo owners’ representative is an unpaid position and does not constitute work, he maintains.

There are many foreigners on the island in similar positions, and to his knowledge none has ever been accused of working here illegally for this reason, he says.

Mr Nixon concedes that Thai labor law as it applies to foreigners is vague about what actually constitutes “work”, but he feels the authorities are selectively enforcing the law in his case at the behest of one of the condo co-owners who is in arrears on his maintenance fees. […]

“Does the local government really want to ask us to keep investing in properties and not allow us to sit on management committees? There is something strange about this. If Thai authorities don’t want foreign investors, I think they should just tell us clearly, as opposed to arresting us,” he said […] (Phuket Gazette)

A fascinating story.

-1- the canadian is wrong. He was “working” indeed. He needed a work permit.

Here is the definition from the Department of Employment :

“Alien” means a natural person who is not of Thai nationality; “ Work ” means to engage in work by exerting energy or using knowledge whether or not in consideration of wages or other benefits.

Now you start to understand… The trap. 😉

[and we shall remember the…. Tsunami scandal… Foreign volunteers came to help cleaning the disaster… and the thai authorities were adamant : “they are not paid, they are volunteers, they help us, they do a hard work indeed, but… they need a work permit, comprende ? “]

-2- he’s right : everybody is doing it ! That’s the beauty of it. Many foreigners are violating the thai law… They don’t even know it… For years… And then, for some very specific reasons, one day they are nailed. Because, technically, they can be nailed.

You’ll find the same circus about business ownership, house and land ownership, visa etc.

A message on ThaiVisa Forum summarizes perfectly the situation.

You’ll find that the laws are specifically written so that they can be selectively enforced. I don’t think it is an accident that the law is vague.

If you refuse to keep a low profile and offend the wrong person you ARE going to be guilty of something.

-3- the canadian is right… Foreigners should ask themselves : Do I really want to invest in this country ? The Condo Law allows freehold ownership for foreigners… But many other laws try to prevent foreigners… to live in Thailand. It’s a huge Potemkin Village. There is no certainty.

-4- the thai laws rely on one very powerful principle : the fog of war. I showed it at lenght in my special Foreign Business Act dossier.

The fog of war creates and maintains the uncertainty. Uncertainty gives a competitive advantage… A leverage.

-5- the bottom line is simple : foreigners are tolerated in Thailand. Until one day… you piss off the wrong thai big shot… and then, oh my, it’s so easy to screw you.

Everything is fine : industrial output cut by 50 %

Local manufacturers have gradually reduced production, which dropped almost 50 per cent in the first two months before exports began collapsing last year.

The Industrial Economics Office yesterday said the Kingdom’s Manufacturing Index contracted 23.07 per cent last month on top of 25.6 per cent in January. As a result, capacity use among manufacturers had now been cut almost in half on average.

The global financial crisis has directly affected both exports and manufacturing. Domestic consumption has also fallen, due to the effects of the global crisis.

The auto industry is one of the hardest hit by the economic crisis.

Its production contracted 50.64 per cent last month, against 35.59 per cent in January. (Nation)

I will not comment. My readers know very well the situation. And how bad it is.

I will just copy-paste various other comments…

BOT : Thai economy resilient

“All countries have encountered the world crisis, but we have good things to help boost the economy,” senior director Amara Sriphayak said after meeting with an IMF delegation on its annual visit. (Nation, 24 march)

Bank of Thailand (BoT) deputy governor Atchana Waiquamdee on Wednesday voiced confidence that the country’s economy this year would not experience negative growth, despite the world economic situation, saying the central bank began to witness signs of recovery in the first quarter. ( 14 january)

“I am not going to boast by committing how much the economy will grow, but I can assure you that the government is committing to to spur economy and to lift the quality of life of all the Thais,” he said [Prime Minister Abhisit]. (Bangkok Post)

Let me have a thought for… the suckers. And the clowns. 😉

It’s a real pleasure to witness to their demise.

[PS : today is “data day” ! The Bank Of Thailand updates all its stats (for the month of february. So I will start tomorrow to update my various charts. I can already tell you that the exports results for february are a joke… Like I wrote 1 week ago

The “better than expected” results were caused only… by an explosion of “Pearl, Precious Stone and Jewelry”… with a total amount of 2,15 billions USD… against 1,02 billion in january… and 427 millions in february 2008… So it’s a +109 % increase m-o-m- and +403 % y-o-y ! What happened ? Thais are selling their gold abroad…

What else ? Private Consumption Index crashes. Private Investments Index crashes… February was a nightmare. March can’t be really… better, despite the wishfull thinking of Abhisit, the Bank Of Thailand and all the other clowns.]

Songkran, sales of alcohol : Abhist loses face… and refuses the ban

Done ! The thai talibans lose face. And the Prime Minister too.

He made a fool of himself by toying with this grotesque idea to ban sales of alcohol during Songkran (thai new year), (read here).

He can blame only himself : he authorized his Health Minister to start to give a pledge to the thai talibans…

And he wanted probably to please the conservators, the bigots, the very same people who “elected” him as Prime Minister (“pushed” would be more appropriate). 😉

The case is closed (for now).

And the result of this thai drama (AKA a hurricane inside a glass of water) is damaging : Abhisit showed that he was a fool, surrounded by fools.

In the middle of a very violent economic crisis, of an unprecedented crisis, the thai Prime Minister was spending time… on alcohol.

Let’s hope that Abhisit has learned his lesson. And that he will show more political intelligence and humility in the future…

The National Committee on Alcohol Consumption Control has rejected the proposal to prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages during next month’s Songkran festival, fearing a ban may hurt the economy and the tourist industry.

The committee meeting, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Sanan Kajornprasart, on Monday agreed to allow alcoholic drinks to be sold during Songkran, which is the Thai New Year celebration. […]

Maj-Gen Sanan said the committee took the economy and tourism industry into consideration. (Bangkok Post)

Now let’s rejoice… The reaction of the thai talibans is going to be tasty.

So long suckers ! 😉

Thailand continues to buy… US debts

Today folks… let’s have a look on the US Treasury securities, who are the major foreign holders, and how much Thailand bought…

First, the definition :

United States Treasury security is a government debt issued by the United States Department of the Treasury through the Bureau of the Public Debt.

Treasury securities are the debt financing instruments of the United States Federal government, and they are often referred to simply as Treasuries. There are four types of marketable treasury securities: Treasury bills, Treasury notes, Treasury bonds, and Treasury Inflation Protected Securities (TIPS).

Let’s see the list of the major foreign holders of US Treasury securities (in billions of dollars), holdings at end of period (source US Treasury).

ustreasury1

Astonishing, huh ? The total is 3072 billions USD (january 2009)… China and Japan own almost half of it (1374 billions)… !

And Thailand ? 37,2 billions. More than India, South Korea and France…

Now let’s look at the evolution : year on year (compared to january 2008) and month on month (compared to december 2008).

ustreasury21

A whooping +28 % for Thailand in one year… And compared to december 2008, Thailand is number 1 (+14 %) ! 😉

Congratulations…

So the question is : who is buying ? Many financial institutions can buy bonds for instance. My bet : the Bank of Thailand is responsible for the bulk of the increase.

There is some correlation with the figures of the foreign currency reserves.

And another question : is it a good move ?

I’ve got a strong opinion about it : no it’s not good. It’s even really stupid. The USD is a ticking bomb… the US debt is a ticking bomb… So to buy US debts today is like to sit on 2 ticking bombs…

It’s a classic move, picked from the text books (“fly to security” blabla) but it’s so overdone…

And to buy US debts (in USD) has one direct effect : exchange rates. The Bank Of Thailand apparently continues to buy USD, against THB… They are supporting the US dollar…

When exports are devastated, such a move could cause serious political backslash…

Many central banks are screwed : if they reduce their holdings, it will affect the USD and could create a snowball effect… The USD could fall, implode, crash.

What China can do with their 739 billions of US Treasury securities ? They are really screwed. Even if they stop buying, it could have very negative consequences.

Last point : what means “Carib Bnkng Ctrs” ? Caribean Banking Centers… AKA off shore paradises for grey money and grey finances…

What ! ? They “own” 176 billions USD ? How come ? I bet you didn’t know that… 😉

Those are the official figures given by the US Treasury…

Welcome to the world of corruption… Those tiny islands are used… yes by drugs and arms dealers… but that’s not the point.

They are used by ALL THE MAJOR world banks, US, european… you name it… And some of them have very close ties with the US authorities…

It means, the US could use those “black boxes” to buy… their own debt for instance ? To intervene on the markets, behind a false nose ?

Nah, that would be a crazy idea. 😉

Last point : don’t forget to pay in due time your taxes. We are the useful idiots. They need us. And our money.

Be a good citizen, pay your taxes, vote from time to time (for the people they choose, like Obama), watch TV, believe what they tell you, and please… shut the fuck up.

And in Thailand, they ask you something more : don’t forget to smile. 😉

Are you “stimulated” enough ? Abhisit wants more

As I wrote here, every week-end, there is something about Abhisit. 😉

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Sunday that the Finance Ministry, Labour Ministry, Commerce Ministry and Industry Ministry will hold an economic stimulus fair on Friday.

Speaking during his weekly TV programme, Abhisit said the fair would be held at the Muang Thong Thani’s Impact Arena exhibition centre.

The fair would include seminars, trade fair and job fair. (Nation)

A… fair ? A “stimulus fair” ? It’s really funny to see the alleged Prime Minister taking on the “stimulation rethoric” from his predecessors (Samak, Somchai, Surapong at Finance Ministry etc).

Look how “stimulated” we were (already !) last august !

Same specie, same non-sense, same idiocy, same vulgarity : the thai politicians.

Anyway. The question today is : are you stimulated enough ? Do you want to know the secret of the Dildo Economy ? Check this article… written last december.

Abhisit continues on the same path, obstinately. He wants you to buy cheap chinese junk, with the 2000 THB he gave to you last week (the famous “save the nation cheques”…) 😉

There is something that will stimulate me. Immensely. Eventually.

When all those clowns will go back where they belong : History’s garbage dump.

It happened to Surayud, to Samak and Somchai.

Abhisit will follow.

Songkran, alcohol ban : Council of State gives -legal- green light

That was fast ! The Council of State was in a hurry to give back the hot potato… to the government.

Abhisit is trapped. Now, he has to decide.

Ouch… That’s a difficult word for our dashing Prime Minister…

On the right, the thai talibans who ask for a ban on alcohol sales during Songkran… On the left, the crisis, the sinking tourism, the fact that the government should have much more important issues to deal with

And in the middle Abhisit who wants to look cool-with-liberties-but-also-on-a-moral-highground…

Come on : be a man. Make our day. Dive into a sea of ridicule by imposing a ban on alcohol sales… Please. The world needs to be entertained. 😉

In any case, Abhisit loses.

Head (ban), he loses.

Tail (no ban), he loses.

The government has the authority to ban alcohol sales during the Songkran festival next month, the Council of State says.

The government’s legal arm said the proposed ban on alcohol sales was not in conflict with an announcement issued by the ruling National Executive Council (NEC) in 1972.

The ban could be issued under the 2008 Alcohol Beverage Control Act and not contravene the 253rd announcement of the NEC, Deputy Public Health Minister Manit Nopamornbode said. (Bangkok Post)

Abhisit : “we need to borrow more money…”

Every sunday, there is something about Abhisit.

The alleged Prime Minister is speaking live on TV the day before. Each week. So there is always something to pick up…

This week is a good vintage. 😉 Ready ?

The government needs to seek more loans to support its economic stimulus plan in the second phase, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said.

Yes. The government is broke. It was obvious. They were in denial. The crisis slashes revenues, and the government is throwing money on stupid “stimulus” policies… So, no escape : deficit. But they want more !

He said it is necessary for the government to borrow more money to ensure that 1.5 million people would still be employed.

Two lunacies in one sentence. Beyond the fact that the government wants to substitute itself to private sector to create/save jobs… it wants to do it with… borrowed money !

Let’s remember the golden rule : government doesn’t create jobs per se.

Without additional loans, the economy could worsen, Mr Abhisit said on Sunday’s “Confidence in Thailand with Prime Minister Abhisit” television sho..

He assured that its spending would not affect the monetary and financial disciplines.

Another lunacy. Discipline ? ! To borrow money, even in Thai Lalaland, costs money. It’s called… “interests”. Must be a detail for the so-called “Oxford educated” Prime Minister.

This decision will directly impact the budget. It’s obvious. But little Abhisit thinks he can says huge lies on TV, with a nice smile and his nice haircut. After all : he thinks that the thai people are deeply, I mean really deeply, stupid.

Probably 99,98 % of the common thai know perfectly well that the expression “borrowed money” is often the beginning of problems…


He expressed confidence that temporarily raising the public debt to 60 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is appropriate and manageable.

According to the premier, obtaining loans is not complicated, since it is like borrowing money to invest in a business. But the difference is the government will have to shoulder all the burdens by itself.

Oh my god, it’s the Daytona 500 of the insanity… a festival. A fireworks. 😉

The sentence is so totally absurd, stupid… well… I have to give the benefit of the doubt to Abhisit (must be a drunk reporter/editor at Bangkok Post).

To increase the tax revenue collection, taxes on alcoholic beverage products could be raised, he added.

Sure. On one hand Doctor Abhisit Jekyll cuts taxes (a few gifts to his friends in the real estate business) and he’s spending like crazy on stupid “stimulus” ideas, then mister Abhisit Hyde complains that taxes collections are going down and that the deficit is increasing, and then eventually… he wants to raise taxes.

Go figure. What an amateur.

“If the government stays passive, two to three million people could be out of jobs and they could create social problems. Last quarter, the economy shrank four per cent, and if the government is not doing anything this year, it could plunge nine per cent,” said the prime minister. (Bangkok Post)

Ah, eventually, Abhisit is lucid : yes we are going down. At high speed.

But there is nothing he can do about it.

Abhisit and the Democrat Party (and their Frankenstein Government) will be the sacrificial lambs of the crisis.

Thaksin is waiting. Behind. Outside. He’s laughing. And then he will pick up Thailand… like a fruit.

What an irony…


Thailand Crisis

Coup, Economic slowdown, Terror In the South... The situation is worsening in Thailand. Bumpy road like often before.

But this time, it's different.

The key to understand the present turmoil is the inevitable... succession of King Bhumibol.