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Finance: Ways expats lose money

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Finance: Ways expats lose money | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Financial problems, or losses, are often the major reason expats are forced to return home or worst – end up stuck somewhere they no longer want to be.

If you don’t want to end up in the same position as the many failed expats, keep in mind the following ways they lose money abroad.

OFFSHORE INVESTMENT PRODUCTS

Investing in complex offshore products requires even more due diligence on your part than investing in ‘normal’ investment products in your home country, as additional due diligence may reveal extra risks.

For example, high interest rates are usually paid to compensate for risk, either because of what the product itself is invested in or because it’s based in a jurisdiction with less financial regulation and oversight.

If you have trouble understanding even basic investment products like exchange traded funds, don’t even think about investing in complex offshore investment products.

FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATES

Currency fluctuations and FX transaction fees are a fact of life for expats and you will probably find there are times when your income and living expenses in multiple currencies are moving in the wrong direction.

And while currency fluctuations and transaction fees can be managed or the risks minimized (such as maintaining accounts in multiple currencies so you are forced to draw on one for money at an inopportune time), be cautious trying to speculate or profit from currency movements as you will probably end up getting in or out at the wrong time.

Likewise, you should also be extra cautious of investment products that force you to lock up your money in one currency for a long period of time or don’t offer you much flexibility to get in or out quickly should the need arise.

BUDGETS

The need to live by strict budgets becomes imperative when living abroad.

You will need to deal with currency fluctuations and likely much higher rates of inflation – meaning you will need to track exchange rates and prices.

Failing to properly budget can easily mean you will end up spending significantly more than you need to.

REPATRIATING MONEY

If you are working abroad or have managed to earn a big capital gain in a currency other than that of your home country, you may have trouble repatriating your wealth out of your adopted country and back home, or into your home country’s currency.

Many countries have or could institute strict capital controls (especially in times of crisis) while a negative currency movement could easily wipe out your capital gain or savings.

Don’t forget about transaction fees or any exit taxes that you could be liable for.

PROPERTY

Buying or speculating on property might be commonplace in your home country, but buying property in a foreign country is a minefield, as the rules and regulations are inevitably much more complex and titles are often not clean.

In the worst case scenarios, you won’t be able to sell the property or you may find yourself paying heavy taxes to multiple jurisdictions on any capital gain.

You also might have your losses disallowed for tax purposes.

TAXES

Depending upon your citizenship, you may have tax liabilities in both your home country and in any other country where you live or perform work.

If you are an American and thus subject to worldwide taxation and disclosure requirements for foreign financial accounts, you will probably need to hire an accountant who specializes in expatriate tax preparation to avoid increasingly heavy fines and penalties for non-compliance.

FINANCIAL ADVISERS

As an expat, you will need to seek financial advice, ideally from a financial adviser who is independent and regulated.

Remember, while referrals are always a good way to find competent professional advisers, they aren’t effective if the person making the referral failed to do his or her due diligence on the person first.

Don Freeman, BSME is president of Freeman Capital Management, a Registered Investment Adviser with the US Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), based in Phuket. He has more than 15 years experience working with expatriates, specializing in portfolio management, US tax preparation, financial planning and UK pension transfers. Don can be reached at 089-970-5795 or email: freemancapital@gmail.com.

— Don Freeman

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Thailand

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military

Maya Taylor

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Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Facebook

Facebook has confirmed the removal of 185 accounts run by the Thai military and allegedly involved in information-influencing. The social media giant says the accounts were deleted for engaging in what it calls, “coordinated inauthentic behaviour”. In total, 77 accounts, 72 pages, and 18 groups have been removed from the platform, in addition to 18 Instagram accounts. It’s the first time Facebook has taken such action against accounts linked to the Thai government.

The accounts were associated with the Thai military and were targeting people in the southern provinces, Facebook said its regular report on coordinated inauthentic behavior. The south of the country has been the scene of decades-long conflict, with insurgent groups in the majority-Muslim, Malay-speaking region calling for independence. To date, around 7,000 people have died in the ongoing struggle.

Facebook says the deleted accounts were most active last year and used both fake and real accounts to manage pages and groups, both openly military pages and pages that hid their links to the military. Some of the fake profiles pretended to be people from the southern provinces.

The report mentioned a post by the now-removed account named “comprehending the operation” in Thai. The page posted the logo for Amnesty International Thailand and wrote “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role in society. Normal people are not famous. Any case is not big news. They are not worth the investment of foreigners so they will not do anything to help. This is why we don’t see anything from the NGO.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “The NGO never cares about ordinary citizens because they have no role nor money.”

On another now-removed account, named “truth about my home Pattani” in Thai, a post said “Muslim leader declares southern border is a peace zone. The southern separatists started a movement by spreading the idea that Thailand is under control by different believers so that people would come and fight for their religion. This was declared that the action clearly violates Islam faith.”

Facebook removes “information-influencing” pages linked to Thai military | News by The Thaiger

Image overlay translates to “Southern border is not Jihad zone.”

When contacted by Reuters, the military had no comment on the removal of the Facebook accounts, with a spokesman saying the organisation does not comment outside of official press conferences.

The head of Cybersecurity Policy at Facebook, Nathaniel Gleicher, has confirmed the reasons behind the platform’s decision.

“This is the first time that we’ve attributed one of our takedowns to links to the Thai military. We found clear links between this operation and the Internal Security Operations Command. We can see that all of these accounts and groups are tied together as part of this operation.”

He adds that the accounts had spent around US$350 on advertising on both Facebook and Instagram. One or more of the pages had about 700,000 followers and at least one of the groups had 100,000 members. Gleicher says the accounts were removed because of their misleading behaviour and not because of the content being posted. The content included support for the military and the monarchy, with allegations of violence and criticism of insurgent groups in the south.

It’s not the first time accounts linked to the Thai military have been removed by a social media platform. In October, Twitter removed 926 accounts it says had links to the army and posted pro-military and pro-government content. The Thai army has denied any involvement with the accounts in question. In November, Twitter also suspended an account posting pro-monarchy content that was found to have links to the palace and to thousands of other accounts posting similar content.

To read the February 2021 Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior Report, click HERE.

SOURCES: Reuters| Facebook

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Central Thailand

Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers

Maya Taylor

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Airline executive arrested for failure to pay wages of 150 workers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

An airline executive has been arrested in the central province of Samut Songkhram, after complaints from150 employees that they had not been paid. Chawengsak Noiprasan, who had a court warrant issued against him in October, was taken to Don Muang police station from a property in the Bang Khan Take sub-district. He is a board member of Siam Air Transport.

The airline began operations in October 2014 with services out of Don Mueang to Hong Kong, using 2 Boeing 737-300s. 2 Boeing 737-800s were added to its fleet in late 2015. It expanded by adding Zhengzhou and Guangzhou in China to its network in early 2015. In late 2015, the airline launched flights to Macau and Singapore. In 2017, the airline ceased all operations.

But according to an article in the Bangkok Post, the carrier operates a number of scheduled and charter flights from Bangkok’s Don Mueang Airport. The Post reports that, as Chawengsak signs the company’s legal paperwork, all legal matters concerning the airline fall to him.

The Metropolitan Police Bureau says the executive has admitted to ignoring a 30 day notice issued by the labour inspector and ordering the payment of wages to 150 workers. It’s understood he is also wanted in relation to 7 other cases.

The authorities sought Chawengsak’s arrest following complaints from employees who say they haven’t received their wages for 2 months. It’s understood the airline had previously deferred salary payments for over 8 months. 150 workers filed an official complaint with Don Mueang police and also approached media outlets, asking them to pressure the airline into paying the money owed.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Business

Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

The Thaiger

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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