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Top 10 laws to beware of in Thailand

Jack Burton

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Top 10 laws to beware of in Thailand | The Thaiger
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Did you know that it’s illegal in the UK to enter the Houses of Parliament wearing a suit of armor? Or that it’s legal to shoot a Scotsman with a crossbow under certain circumstances? Most countries have outdated laws on the books that seem odd today, but as a visitor to Thailand, there are some laws you should always be aware of; some perhaps eccentric, some just common sense:

1. Drugs: Don’t import, buy, sell or use illicit drugs in Thailand. Just don’t. The penalties are severe, including the death penalty in some cases.

Importation of a trafficable quantity of illicit drugs could technically result in a death sentence; other offences carry lengthy prison terms. (Thai prisons are not known for their comfortable conditions or rehabilitation.) If you’re wrongly accused, sign nothing, contact your nation’s embassy immediately, and find a good lawyer.

2. Never deface any image of the Thai King or insult HM or members of the Thai Royal Family in any way. Thailand has, and enforces, strict lèse majesté laws, which provide severe penalties for anyone, Thai or foreigner, who insults HM or the Royal Family. While it may seem like an infringement of free speech to non-Thais, it’s the law of the land and the penalties are real.

Some people have even been sentenced in absentia for offences, real or otherwise, committed online and/or in foreign media. You can actually be arrested for treading on money, including coins, or anything with the image of a member of the Royal Family. So just don’t.

3. The legal drinking age in Thailand is 20. Don’t be seen drinking with anyone under that age, and be sure before you buy a round. “Sorry officer, I swear to God she told me she was 21” isn’t going to get you off the hook.

4. It is a legal requirement for all foreign nationals to carry their passports at all times. In actual practice, this is rarely an issue, and generally a copy will suffice, but the copy must include not only the identification page but also the latest visa and entry permit. It’s recommended that you carry laminated copies if you plan to stay in Thailand for more than 60 days

5. It is against the law in Thailand to “go commando.” It is actually illegal to go in public without underwear in the Kingdom. It’s the law. If you do, you could (theoretically) wind up in jail. And that’s no way to start the week. More practically speaking, skimpy clothing is generally frowned upon, especially away from the tourist areas. Keep you shoulders covered and wear a longer skirt (or shorts), especially if you’re entering a temple or public building.

6. Do not drive topless. It’s against the law to drive an automobile in Thailand without wearing a shirt, whether you’re a man or a woman. It’s unclear whether the regulation applies to motorcyclists, but the Thaiger recommends playing it safe. Really, no one wants to see you torso unless you’re under 30 or a supermodel.

7. It’s illegal to remove Buddha statues or images from Thailand without a permit. Clearly this one is demonstrated more in the breach than in the observance, but be aware: you can be fined or even arrested and jailed if you stick a Buddha image or statue in your luggage. It’s also considered bad taste by devout Buddhists to adorn your house and garden with images and statues of Buddha.

8. Don’t litter, especially throwing chewing gum on the ground. It goes without saying that littering is an offence, but The Thaiger has heard reports that Thai police, perhaps inspired by Singapore’s draconian laws, particularly enjoy fining those who spit out chewing gum, for sums of up to 10,000 baht. Chew and dispose of in a rubbish bin (if you can find one).

9. Don’t overstay your visa. As a foreigner, you can be stopped and interrogated at any time by Thai police, and you must be able to show your current visa status. If you have overstayed your visa, even by a few hours, you can be detained and heavily fined. If you’re leaving Thailand and it’s discovered you’ve overstayed your visa, you will be fined 500 baht for each day you’ve overstayed, and there may be a nominal “handling charge’ for “expediting your case.” The Immigration Detention Centre in Bangkok is not known for its high comfort levels! Play by the rules.

10. Don’t be noisy. Thais dislike noise, especially at night (Soi Cowboy and Bangla Road are exceptions). It may not be an actual law, but if you’re on holiday, you may enjoy a bit of revelry into the wee hours on… a few nights. Be respectful of your Thai hosts and neighbours, who may not share your exuberance or late night spontaneous parties. Rest assured they can put a stop to it if you push them too far.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Avatar

    Andy

    July 4, 2020 at 11:54 am

    Obviously my neighbours in Issan don’t apply to rule 10.

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Songkhla

Nude Panda: naked food delivery man hit with 500 baht fine

Maya Taylor

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Nude Panda: naked food delivery man hit with 500 baht fine | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Nation Thailand

Nude Panda? Rude Panda? Or NoodPanda? A man working as a food delivery driver in the southern province of Songkhla, has been filmed riding his motorbike while naked. 24 year old Botsin Dueanchamroon later handed himself in to police, explaining that he’d taken his clothes off due to “a personal problem”. The nature of the problem is not known, and police let Botsin go with a 500 baht fine.

The incident came to light after a video was posted on social media, showing a naked Botsin hurtling along on his motorbike, which had a food delivery bag on the back. The video has now been deleted. According to a 66 year old motorbike taxi driver, Bai Aumaoom, Botsin parked his bike in front of a local temple, removed his clothes, then got back on the bike and drove off.

He later returned and strolled around before putting his clothes back on. One woman who witnessed the spectacle says she was “sickened by the sight” and would not want to eat any food delivered by the man.

Social media response was mixed with most just inquisitive about his motives to ride “commando” with little (actually no) protection.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Thailand

Divers believe they have found a 77 year old wrecked US Navy submarine by Phuket

The Thaiger

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Divers believe they have found a 77 year old wrecked US Navy submarine by Phuket | The Thaiger

Divers in the Strait of Malacca have reportedly found what they believe to be a 77 year old US Navy wrecked submarine in what is seemingly the concluding piece in a tale from World War II. The divers are currently awaiting confirmation of the finding from the United States Naval History and Heritage Command for verification after sending photos and other evidence to be reviewed. Over a five month time period, the divers gathered evidence over six separate dives to substantiate their claims that the shipwrecked submarine is that of the USS Grenadier, one of the 52 American submarines lost during the conflict.

The Grenadier, weighing 1,475 tonnes and measuring 307 feet long, was found about 150 km south of Phuket, Thailand in the Strait of Malacca. Singapore-based Jean Luc Rivoire, Frenchman Benoit Laborie, Australian Lance Horowitz, and Belgian Ben Reymenants-all who live in Phuket made the discovery. Reymenants was also one of the divers who helped in the dangerous rescue mission of the 12 Thai young football players who became trapped in a cave with their coach 2 years ago.

The Belgian has made a habit out of searching for sunken vessels over the years and would enlist Rivoire’s help in underwater searches as he had a suitable boat.

History of the submarine’s sinking details the story of the boat’s crew abandoning ship after Japanese bombs nearly killed them undersea. However, the sailors were lucky as all 76 of its personnel reportedly survived the bombing and subsequent sinking, but their luck soon took a dark turn. After Japan took the crew as prisoners, they were allegedly tortured, beaten and nearly starved for more than 2 years with 4 reportedly succumbing to the ordeal.

Divers believe they have found a 77 year old wrecked US Navy submarine by Phuket | News by The Thaiger

In this image taken from video, the top hatch of a conning tower can be seen from a submarine wreck somewhere in the Strait of Malacca on March 4, 2020. Divers have found what they believe is the wreck of a U.S. Navy submarine lost 77 years ago in Southeast Asia, providing a coda to a stirring but little-known tale from World War II. (Jean Luc Rivoire via AP)

The Belgian says he has been researching possible locations of shipwrecks for many years. When they dived to look at one captivating object, they found it was much larger than they had originally expected. Horowitz says once confirming the object’s size, they searched archives to find out which vessel it could be.

“And in the end, we took very precise measurements of the submarine and compared those with the naval records. And they’re exactly, as per the drawings, the exact same size. So we’re pretty confident that it is the USS Grenadier.”

However, the confirmation could take anywhere from 2 months to up to 1 year to complete. But its 77 year old history may make it well worth the wait.

The Grenadier set sail from Pearl Harbor on Feb 4, 1942 embarking on multiple missions while sinking 6 ships and damaging 2. Then, it took to the waters again on March 20, 1943 from Australia, on its 6th patrole to the Malacca Straight and Andaman Sea. One month later, a plane was sighted causing the ship to be ordered to crash dive. But it was too late. Blasts from 2 bombs attacked the sub, leaving important parts of the ship damaged.

Divers believe they have found a 77 year old wrecked US Navy submarine by Phuket | News by The Thaiger

This Dec. 27, 1941, photo released by U.S. Navy shows USS Grenadier (SS-210) off Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Divers have found what they believe is the wreck of the U.S. Navy submarine lost 77 years ago in Southeast Asia, providing a coda to a stirring but little-known tale from World War II. Photo: United States Navy via AP

The next morning, the crew made plans to scuttle the submarine but was captured by an armed merchant ship and hauled off to Penang, a major port town in Malaysia. Fitzgerald says the crew landed in a Catholic school turned Japanese prison where they then began to become the recipients of alleged abuse.

“The rough treatment started the first afternoon, particularly with the (enlisted) men. They were forced to sit or stand in silence in an attention attitude. Any divergence resulted in a gun butt, kick, slug in the face or a bayonet prick. In the questioning room, persuasive measures, such as clubs, about the size of indoor ball bats, pencils between the fingers and pushing of the blade of a pen knife under the finger nails, trying to get us to talk about our submarine and the location of other submarines.”

He says after a few months, the sailors were transferred to camps in Japan where they saw 4 of their compatriots die from a lack of medical attention. Such a tale that has spurned from the Grenadier has Horowitz enthralled in its history and significance.

“This was an important ship during the war and it was very important to all the crew that served on her. When you read the book of the survivors, that was, you know, quite an ordeal they went through and to know where she finally lies and rests, I’m sure it’s very satisfying for them and their families to be able to have some closure.”

 

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Mother, daughter run over by pickup truck in Pathum Thani

Jack Burton

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Mother, daughter run over by pickup truck in Pathum Thani | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Daily News

A mother and daughter were run over today by a pickup truck carrying furniture reversing down a busy road in Pathum Thani, just north of Bangkok. The shocking incident was caught on surveillance footage. The pair had stepped into the road and didn’t notice the truck creeping up on them from behind.

Fortunately, both mother and child survived. Poh Teck Tung Rescue Foundation told the Daily News they were taken to hospital with leg and rib injuries.

Comments, criticisms and shares have been many on Thai social media. Most blame the pickup driver, but others say the mother and daughter shouldn’t have been standing in the road and should have looked to their left. Still, others say they appeared to have been waiting for a bus and shouldn’t have stepped off the sidewalk at all.

Local police say that the driver clearly could not see behind him properly and was negligent.

They suggested he should fit his truck an additional mirror, or better yet not reverse down a busy road but go to a U-turn to get back to where he wanted.

They say they plan on inviting the driver in for a “chat” with the victims when possible.

SOURCE: thaivisa | Daily News

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