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Around 100 foreigners allegedly scammed by housing project company

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PHOTO: DSI

A housing project in the central province Phetchaburi is under fire after it allegedly defrauded around 100 foreigners with damages totalling 2 billion baht. The housing project allegedly issued illegal land documents and lured in foreign buyers, primarily from the United Kingdom and Russia, advertising the project on websites marketed toward those overseas.

Most of the land title deeds for the Phetchaburi Park Project were allegedly for land in a national forest reserve. After an inspection by local officials, the land documents were reportedly revoked. Around 100 foreigners, who all had paid in full to buy land and houses in the project, lost a total of 2 billion baht.

A petition was filed with the Department of Special Investigation, calling on the department to investigate the alleged fraud. President of the Stop Global Warming Association, Srisuwan Janya, filed the petition with Rusan Ataev, from Russia, and Marcos Hurst, from the United Kingdom, who were both claiming damages.

Sirsuwan says 99% of the land title deeds under the Phetchaburi Park Project were inside a national forest reserve, adding that the documents were illegally issued. Local officials reviewed the housing project in July 2020 and reported to the Royal Forest Department that most of the land under the project was in the national forest reserve. The land documents were then revoked.

Hurst claims he purchased a block of land from the housing project for 3 million baht, but later learned foreigners cannot purchase land in Thailand. The company closed down and the man says he was unable to claim payment for the damages.

Hurst lives in Pattaya and has been in Thailand for the past 10 years. He saw an advertisement for the housing project 6 years ago, adding that it was marketed toward foreigners. Since he had owned a condominium unit, Hurst says he assumed he could buy land in Thailand.

Sirsuwan says the company ran other projects in Pattaya and Phuket marketing toward expats in Thailand. He says 98% of the company’s shares were held by British and Russian nationals while the rest were held by Thais.

The DSI director general Korawat Panprapakorn says the department may accept it as a special case, adding that his official will check with Royal Forestry and Land departments to find out if the land documents were illegally issued.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Geoff

    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 6:23 pm

    Shall I say it, or will you?

  2. Gosport

    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    Foreign folks are cheated by foreign folks. Poor Thai takes the blame. Thais are not capable playing big.

  3. Mister Stretch

    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 6:35 pm

    “Hurst claims he purchased a block of land from the housing project for 3 million baht, but later learned foreigners cannot purchase land in Thailand.”

    Not much sympathy from me. Before investing anything in a foreign country…due diligence.

    • Reverend H. Goatboy

      Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 7:08 pm

      hurst also claims to have lived in thailand for 10 years, so I find it difficult to believe his ignorance.

    • BS

      Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 2:01 pm

      Russians – they dont know anything about the world and are not interested so let them have it the hard way..

  4. Robert Elliott

    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 7:23 pm

    It doesnt require much due diligance its common knowledge that foreigners cant own land in Thailand. There is a sucker born every minute.

  5. Social Observer

    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 7:59 pm

    Welcome to the Land of Scams.

  6. Issan John

    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 8:24 pm

    “… it allegedly defrauded around 100 foreigners with damages totalling 2 billion baht.”

    So they paid 20 million each without checking the title deeds? Except Hurst, who only paid 3 million?

  7. Mr cynic

    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    The customers have allegedly paid 100 percent cash up front for the land and the houses to be built on it before a single brick was laid!
    They have also clearly done zero due diligence?strange?

  8. EdwardV

    Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 10:55 pm

    How can you live in Thailand for 10 years and never know foreigners can’t own land? It’s not like it’s a hidden secret. Clearly all of them did no due diligence done before hand. I get it’s easy to get cheated in Thailand, heck you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a scammer. However, if there is country where it’s advisable to hire a lawyer before committing money to a business venture, it’s Thailand. No one deserves to be cheated, but this guy gets pretty close to that line.

    • sam charles

      Friday, February 5, 2021 at 6:54 am

      Very well written, 100% true

      • P D N

        Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 2:47 am

        Not ALL lawyers are the real thing in Thailand, several years ago a Scotish conman (among others) was doing the rounds. Check out investigative journalist Andrew Drummond for the details of what lies in wait for the unwary/stupid/gullible.

    • Devin

      Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 5:48 pm

      How can you live in Thailand for 10 years and never know foreigners can’t own land?

      Especially when you have been working as a real estate agent in Pattaya for years. A statement like that will not instill much confidence with your clients.

  9. James R

    Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 2:09 am

    It seems to me so many foreigners live who live in Thailand do not actually learn from being there.

    They seem to hang around with other such foreigners in places like Pattaya where real Thai life does not exist, they do not integrate, they do not learn the language and instead live in the plastic land of farangs, many of them are married to ex bar girls where 99% of them are from Issan and thus do not have the education or brains to guide their farang partners to what are the right or wrong things to consider while living in Thailand.

    It is their own fault.

    There are many large property developers in Thailand who are trustworthy and have been around for decades, so do research before buying.

    • James Pate

      Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 5:48 am

      100% correct! Only buy a condo and only buy from a big developer with a long, successful track record!

  10. James Pate

    Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 5:58 am

    All those foreign “shareholders” have left Thailand, moved on to a new scam, changed their names and dyed their hair by now. These fools won’t get back 1 satang. A few petty officials may eventually be punished, but that’s all.

    • Robert Elliot

      Saturday, February 6, 2021 at 10:36 pm

      No official will be punished. In Thailand when foreigners ripoff other foreigners nothing happens

  11. chupapi

    Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 6:57 am

    seriously, you live here from 10 years and you dont know the basics law about land ownership? i visit thailand from 2014 and well before arriving the first time i informed myself about what i can and cannot do or possess here. no, dear, you deserve to be scammed.

  12. Giovanni Riccella

    Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 9:19 am

    My question is this….How in the bloody hell, do you live in Pattaya, Thailand and NOT KNOW how foreign ownership works? Are you an IDIOT? If you LIVE in Thailand, or any other foreign country, then maybe you should make an effort to know the laws, especially when investing.

    • Ray

      Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 5:58 pm

      It doesn’t surprise me at all. Each time I visit LOS I am amazed to see these high number of retirees who look like they are plucked from the outback or badlands 40 years ago and dropped 4 decades fast forward in the middle of the street. By their hair style, clothes and forlorn look you can tell immediately how disconnected they are. I can’t help thinking they are probably outcasts in their home country.

  13. Toby Andrews

    Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 10:21 am

    There must have been Thai lawyers involved.
    Nobody would pay anything without a Thai lawyer stating it was all legal, and correct.
    In Thailand, buy beer, food, hotels rooms, and lady drinks. Pay cash, and count your change-twice.
    No banks accounts, no buying houses for a bar girl, and you might not be scammed, but there is still a chance

  14. Tony

    Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 2:25 pm

    No problem. I have a friend of a friend who’s friend can do for and then when things go wrong that friend of a friend cant find he move away, Where ?Don’t know Sorry.

  15. Jesus Monroe

    Thursday, February 4, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    ASSUME = ASS U ME

  16. Mike Houston

    Sunday, February 7, 2021 at 9:35 pm

    I’ve only visited Thailand and I knew that you couldn’t buy land. How could he have lived there for 10 years and also have bought property and didn’t know that fact? I call BS or complete stupidity. A fool and his money are soon parted.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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