Belgian man turns to garbage collecting to be with Thai boyfriend

Photo via โหนกระแส

A Belgian man spotted collecting garbage on the roadside in Sara Buri province in central Thailand told reporters he is trying to make money so he can stay with and support his Thai boyfriend.

Yesterday, reporters happened to come across a 61 year old man, of Belgian nationality, collecting bottles and leaves on the side of the Asian Highway, reports Channel 3’s news programme Hon Krasae.

Concerned, reporters asked him why he was collecting rubbish on a dangerous highway in a foreign land.

The Belgian said he was trying to make money so he can stay in Thailand with his 32 year old Thai boyfriend.

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He said he came to Thailand six years ago, fell in love, and hasn’t returned to Belgium since.

The foreigner led reporters 200 metres into the forest to meet his boyfriend and other friends.

In the forest in the province’s Bang Rajan district, a group of four Thai men and women were packing monkeypod tree leaves into sacks.

The group sells the leaves to a factory for 35 baht a bag, which the factory uses in the production of fertiliser.

The Belgian’s boyfriend revealed that the couple has lived together for three years after meeting and falling in love in Pattaya.

The Thai man told the media that his Belgian boyfriend was pressured by his family – who didn’t want him to be gay – into marrying a woman in Belgium. The couple had one son together.

However, after the Belgian came to Thailand and met his lover in Pattaya, he followed him to his home in Sara Buri province and never returned home to Belgium.

The Thai man’s father said that this foreign man is a very hard worker, very clean, does all the household chores, the laundry, the dishes, mopping and “most importantly” likes to walk the streets collecting bottles and other rubbish that can be sold.

Then, he takes them and sells them to a secondhand shop, said the Thai man’s father. All the locals know him, he said.

At first, the Thai boyfriend forbade his Belgian boyfriend from collecting garbage as he was “embarrassed.”

However, the diligent Belgian refused to stay put and joined in on the garbage collecting to help provide for the family.

The foreigner makes 1000 baht every time he sells a collection of collected plastic bottles, which pays for the entire family’s monthly electricity and water bill, the Thai boyfriend’s father said.

After the story went viral in the Thai media, netizens admired the Belgian man’s efforts to be with his true love but also worried that was he was doing was illegal.

Foreigners need valid visas to live in Thailand and need a work permit to earn money in the kingdom.

It’s unknown what kind of visa the Belgian is on, but it is rather unlikely he has gained permission to sell collected garbage.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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