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brutox

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  1. 50-year foreign lease mulled 25 Mar 2017 The Finance Ministry is studying the issue of allowing foreigners to lease land in Thailand for up to 50 years as part of efforts to draw foreign direct investment, which it believes could provide further impetus for another property market boom. If the government amends the law governing land leases to foreigners, their leasehold real estate contracts could last for a maximum of 50 years and the rights could be transferable, said Finance Minister Apisak Tantivorawong. The land will return to their Thai owners at the end of the lease contract. It is highly likely the law can be amended, he said. A property market boom is expected, similar to before the 1997 Asian financial crisis, as foreign demand will be the driving force if the law is amended, said Mr Apisak. At present, foreigners are only allowed to own condominium units collectively of up to 49% of the total area of the project, while the Lease of Immovable Property for Commercial and Industrial Purposes Act BE 2542 (1999) grants maximum lease terms of 50 years if the lease is for industrial or commercial purposes, while it is 30 years for residential purposes. He said the real estate sector plays the most important role in the country's economy as it is highly linked with other sectors such as building and raw materials, decoration, electric appliances and banks. Mr Apisak said the property market is a reliable indicator of which way the economy is leaning, swooning before a bust and booming ahead of a recovery, so the market is one of the government's focal points. Separately, he insisted the rate stated in a draft bill on the land and buildings tax, recently approved by the cabinet, is the ceiling rate and the actual rates will be lowered. Once the new property tax goes in effect as expected next year, the tax will be levied on first homes and land used for agricultural purposes with appraisal prices starting at 50 million baht. The rate will be applied to the land value exceeding 50 million baht. The tax will also apply to second homes on a progressive basis, from 0.03% to 0.30%. The tax to be levied on vacant land will increase by 0.5 percentage points every three years until it is capped at 5%. The bill sets ceiling rates of 0.2% of appraisal value for land used for agricultural purposes, 0.5% for residences, 2% for commercial and industrial use and 5% for vacant or undeveloped land. For commercial and industrial use, the tax will be imposed at 0.3% for land value below 20 million baht, and 1.5% of land value starting from 3 billion baht. The land and buildings tax will replace the house and land tax and the local development tax, which have drawn criticism for being regressive and outdated. The draft bill, however, offers a 90% discount on the land and buildings tax for schools, while under-construction housing projects will get the same percentage reduction for three years, said Mr Apisak. He estimated the new property tax will generate around 60 billion baht a year for the local administration organisations, far above the 20 billion contributed by the house and land tax and the local development tax. Prasert Taedullayasatit, president of the Thai Condominium Association, said an extension of the leasehold period to 50 years from 30 would draw more investment from foreigners. The move would lead to more variety of property development and leasehold plots will have more value, he said. The longer time period helps landlords who don't want to sell plots, said Mr Prasert. "It would be good for the industry and the country. But the government should determine the scope or purpose of land use for leasing to prevent any effect on the country's security," he said. "For example, a foreigner leasing a rice field of 100,000 rai should not be allowed." A longer leasehold period would boost interest in land plots in prime locations, where land prices soared to nearly 2 million baht per square wah recently, said Mr Prasert. Surachet Kongcheep, associate director of property consultant Colliers International Thailand, said the amendment would make the government's large-scale land plots recently opened for bidding more attractive. "The government has many plots of large land offered for lease, but no single investors were interested as the lease period of 30 years is too short for a huge investment," he said. Most of these plots are owned by the State Railway of Thailand, including a Makkasan site sized around 500 rai, a 277-rai plot by the Chao Phraya River in the Khlong Toey area and a site of over 200-rai in Bang Sue.
  2. To understand Thai cultural values and behaviors, a person absolutely must understand the predominant faith .. written by a former Bangkok Post news editor, the article speaks for itself, and substantiates my belief that Thai cultural values and behaviors are all based upon and driven by 5 basic truisms, one of which is that Thai Buddhism is co-opted and is as much, or more, about animism as it is about the teachings of the Lord Buddha. An instructive read. _______________________________________________________________________ http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/1211953/the-bastardisation-of-thai-buddhism The bastardisation of Thai Buddhism WASANT TECHAWONGTHAM 10 Mar 2017 at 04:35 Many people believe they can make merit by releasing birds, without thinking about how the birds were caged - usually with great cruelty. (File photo by Patipat Janthong) If you've been in Thailand long enough, you would have noticed that Thais are always looking for an opportunity to make merit in the hope of gaining favour from the gods. If a tree sprouts flowers on its trunk, people will gather around it, pay their respects with incense sticks, and rub the trunk -- not to show tender loving care, but to see if some numbers may appear so they can put money on them in the lottery. If a mammal grows an extra tail, it's a supernatural sign. So people gather around it, pay their respects and look for anything that resembles numbers that will bring them luck. If water mysteriously spouts from a hole in the ground, the water must have magical properties that could either cure diseases or bring good luck. If a tree is believed to bring bad luck because its name implies it, well, why not change its name? Suddenly, it becomes an auspicious breed. If you feel the gods have not looked kindly upon you, maybe it's because your name does not fit. Go ask a monk for a more auspicious name that will turn your life around. Or you can go to any of numerous temples, buy some caged fish, birds, or eels and free them so they carry your bad luck away. If you want a long life, well, of course, make a wish upon a pond where turtles are kept. Turtles have long lives, you see. So by throwing a coin in the pond, you can wish for a long life. Simple logic! It doesn't matter that all of the above makes little sense and is illogical. They are products of our mindset stemming from our animistic belief system. This is not to say animism is bad. The belief system has its own logic, and at one time served as a guide post for society. Even now, it has social values but has been overlooked by most people. Instead, the system has been bastardised just as our belief in Buddhism has been bastardised. The culprit, in this case as in many others, is materialism. All the above-mentioned practices are not parts of Buddhism, and yet they have found support and encouragement among large numbers of Buddhist monks. Buddhist temples used to be community centres where adults went to pray and perform religious rites and children went to play and learn. Not anymore. Now many temples are more like commercial centres or tourist attractions with large paved parking lots and vendors vying for patronage. The temples themselves have instituted various different ways to attract donations. Maintaining wishing ponds is one of the ways. Although our currently world-famous turtle, Orm Sin, was not kept in a temple pond, the practice of throwing coins into a pond of turtles to wish for a long life has been perpetuated by many Buddhist temples. The pitfalls of associating merit-making with animals have been recurring news in Thailand. Several years ago, a number of land turtles were found dead or seriously harmed after they were released in temple ponds. Most people do not know and cannot differentiate between land and aquatic turtles. They think all turtles can swim. As a matter of fact, most people have no idea what habitats are suitable for animals that they release. So, instead of making merit as intended, they commit sinful acts. Those who buy animals for release also are not interested in learning how the animals were captured and the suffering they had to endure. Little birds in cages, for example, are often illegally caught in the wild with large nets. Many of them are injured and die before they reached any temples. Those that are injured but alive are sold and released. But they are either too weak to survive or to find their way back to their natural habitats. According to a nature photographer and bird watcher, some bird species suffer drastic population declines as a result. They include the Baya Weaver, Asian Golden Weaver, Streaked Weaver, Red Avadavat, Scalybreasted Munia and Yellow-breasted Bunting which is a migratory bird. As the world turns, Thais have allowed superstition, mindless beliefs and self-centredness to define our character. While the junta government is preaching for the country to reach toward Thailand 4.0, most people are unwittingly rolling in Thailand 1.0. It's worth stressing again that it's a futile effort to try to keep up with the Joneses in the First World if we overlook the human factor and its mindset.
  3. . Edge and others cite that their "Retirement Visa" (technically, it is merely a 1-year extension to your Non-Immigrant O-A Visa) is processed overnight .. the passport is returned the next day, after which they can process their Multiple Entry Endorsement, taking a total of two days for both. I processed my retirement visa and multi-entry visa in BKK at the main Immigration office in Chaeng Wattana, where they do it all in a single sitting .. as many know, each Immigration office has their own work pace and often take frustrating liberties interpreting the regulations however they choose. As everyone cites, however, the retirement visa comes first and then the multi-entry visa. .
  4. . If I understand correctly, you took a taxi from the airport to Mo Chit Bus Terminal, for which the meter read THB 125, but the taxi driver wanted THB 200. As an obvious 'mark' (a vulnerable tourist, arriving in the middle of the night), you might well have been taken for THB 75 .. but, if you were being scammed by a Thai taxi driver, it would have most likely been for something more like 500-1,000 baht. But, as a newbie, not yet understanding the conventional taxi practices, you might merely have had an honest misunderstanding, fundj122 .. if I understood this correctly, that's my bet. The airport charges taxi drivers THB 50 service fee for allowing them to pick-up at the airport (the 'booking fee') .. this is passed through to the passenger .. if you took the toll road (say, for another THB 25), the toll road fee would also be passed through to the passenger. The THB 200 fare might have been an honest fare .. not all taxi drivers are scammers, but you'd be forgiven for thinking otherwise. In a nation where corruption is so widely practiced, especially against unsuspecting tourists, one cannot avoid being suspicious of any Thai with whom you have any commercial exchange .. even the police .. maybe even, especially the police. .
  5. . Hey, Short .. the airport taxi queue is always a risk .. with the automated taxi queue it is not a huge risk anymore, but it won't prevent you from drawing a suicide monkey, or a headstrong moron trying to muscle you into not using the meter, who are just enraging. Your best defence is to speak a bit of Thai .. greet them in Thai, tell them where you are going and tell them right upfront to take the toll road (easy to learn a few important Thai phrases) .. do not let them have the taxi queue ticket .. then sit back and go about your Internet business (no touristy gawking out the window) .. hopefully, they'll quickly determine you are not the tourist they are seeking to fleece. I live in BKK, so on departure flights I use GrabTaxi to collect me at my door, for convenience .. on arrivals to BKK, I have no problems taking a taxi out of the taxi queue. On arrivals to BKK, Short, you might try lighting-up the GrabTaxi app when you deplane to see if any of their drivers are about (their locations are cited on the app's map) .. there are usually a few of them hanging around outside the airport after dropping off their departing fares. GrabTaxi runs a great little service .. their airport fare is only about THB 250-300+toll to/from mid-Sukhumvit at off-peak hours .. the GrabCar option is about THB 400-500+toll .. the GrabCar Premium option is about THB 600+toll. Using GrabTaxi in BKK for a year+ now, and maybe 100+ trips, I have never been messed with .. not once .. their drivers 'get it'. Technology and the government are combining to bring BKK's notorious taxi crooks under more control .. these solutions will eventually reach the less-tamed Phuket and Pattaya trade areas, where it has long been open season on tourists. .
  6. You been around, QuotaMan, and know to stand your ground. But, I guess there are targets for whom the taxi drivers are looking and know can be victimized .. those who have not been around and know no better, and those who are incapable of standing their ground. I think the government has gone about as far as they can reasonably go to protect passengers from crooked taxi drivers .. at some point, passengers have to look after themselves. I can imagine some enterprising, creative young guy coming up with an app that could take it to the next level .. something tying the taxi itself to the taxi driver himself to the taxi driver's taxi permit to the fare to the route taken .. hit a button, and the bag you left in the taxi is retrievable .. or, the taxi driver who screwed you is reported to the authorities .. or, the driver who is illegally driving under someone else's taxi permit is reported .. too much, maybe .. at some point we have to take responsibility for ourselves. I think the government has it about right on this, still comfortably short of nanny state. .
  7. Duplicate post post .. .
  8. .I hear you George810, I hear you. That receipt you get from the automated machine at Suvarnabhumi (or, handed to you you at Don Mueang) has the taxi's ID on it. If they mess with you .. that .. is the hammer. Some drivers want me to hand this receipt to them, which I do not do .. I will hold it up close enough for them to read, with an obvious, firm grip on it .. they know then, that I know. The only reason they have to see it is to match the # on the receipt with the taxi bay in which they are parked .. (only the most moronic passenger would get that wrong) .. I think they are looking to make themselves untraceable if there is an "unfortunate misunderstanding". .
  9. I did some property investment and development in Korea in the late 90's .. the institutional corruption was widespread. After a long absence, I returned to Korea in about 2008 to conduct some investment due diligence, and the line item I obscurly reserved in my proforma for corruption was no longer necessary. I was stunned at how radical the change was. My Korean partner explained that the arrival of the smart phone and the Internet exposed corruption from the street-level up, and almost eliminated it. Korea had then become (perhaps still) the most Internet-connected country on the planet. Yes, Pattaya_Brian, technology strikes back. This is not the only example of how social media has empowered the marginalized small guy here to force changes for the better, which would otherwise have fallen on the deaf ears of authorities charged with keeping civil order. .
  10. Thai officials blacklist un-metered taxi driver at Suvarnabhumi .. http://m.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1180081/no-meter-cabbie-blacklisted. The digital age is preventing these crooks from getting away with this crap .. he stooged this passenger only on Thursday .. 3 days later, he is blacklisted. Sure, he is only one, but I am sure his blacklisting was widely circulated throughout the taxi ranks .. an example. I don't know if others have noticed, but the taxi services have improved decidedly since the taxi mafia was replaced with an automated queuing system. This government is changing things at a street level everyday people can see .. I believe this is but a small outward sign of a big inward change. These changes are happening throughout Thailand and are I believe coming to Pattaya .. watch for them. My bet is that Walking Street's illegal occupants of government land must be on their radars. .
  11. For those with less than a full year of validity on their passport, when applying for a 1-year 'retirement' extension .. My passport had less than a full year of validity (expiring April 2017) when I extended my 1-year extension endorsement a few months ago .. Thai Immigration allowed my extension only for the period remaining on my passport's validity. The THB 1,900 fee was not prorated for the shorter period .. it costs little, so I paid the full amount without complaint. I got my renewed passport last week, and visited Thai Immigration where they transferred my "O-A" visa and the extension stamps from the old passport to the new passport (a quick, painless process .. in and out in less than an hour .. no charge) .. but .. the extension endorsement is valid only until April, 2017. In April 2017, I presume that I will pay the full THB 1,900 amount again when I apply for a 1-year extension. For passports with less than a year validity, I presume the same applies to the THB 3,800 multiple-entry endorsement, which I did not purchase. .
  12. Ummm, 50/50 .. approximately one-half of all accomodations in Thailand are rented illegally. [For those who do not know, Chowsoy is not only a restaurant .. they rent rooms.]
  13. Approximately one-half of all rooms in the Kingdom are illegal .. the crackdown continues. For you property owners and investors, the article cites illegally rented "serviced apartments, guest houses, condominiums, houses and other private properties offered to tourists." http://www.nationmultimedia.com/business/Keep-hounding-illegal-hotels-THA-urges-govt-30297368.html Keep hounding illegal hotels, THA urges govt SUCHAT SRITAMA THE NATION October 11, 2016 1:00 am THE THAI HOTELS ASSOCIATION has urged the government to continue cracking down on unregistered hotels as data show that only half of hotel operators have a licence. Supawan Thanomkiatphum, president of the THA, said yesterday that continuing the crackdown was necessary to improve hotel standards and prevent unexpected incidents caused by illegal operators. The THA responding after the authorities closed down Eastin Tan Hotel Chiang Mai, owned by well-known businessman Tan Passakornnatee, late last week. The hotel was allegedly operating without a licence. THA data show that the total number of hotels nationwide is close to 20,000. Of that number, about 10,000 are registered hotels comprising 500,000 rooms, while another 500,000 rooms are unregistered. In Bangkok alone, there are estimated to be more than 300 illegal hotels. Many more are in major tourist destinations like Phuket, Chiang Mai, Pattaya and Hua Hin/Cha-am. Besides actual hotels, illegal accommodations include serviced apartments, guest houses, condominiums, houses and other private properties offered to tourists. "These properties are not registered as hotels with the Department of Provincial Administration, the official unit that approves and issues hotel licences," Supawan said. Unsafe for guests The THA claims that many of these illegal hotels are substandard and may offer poor service, or even be unsafe for guests. This damages the entire hotel and tourism industry. La-iad Bungsrithong, president of the THA Northern Chapter, believes that only 10 per cent of the 700 hotels in Chiang Mai are licensed. "There are 700 hotels and 40,000 rooms in Chiang Mai, but only 79 registered hotels are members of the THA," she said, though she acknowledged that some registered hotels might have opted not to join the association. She called on the authorities to continue cracking down on illegal businesses, not only hotels but also other tourism-related businesses, to prevent problems. Since 2014, only 20 hotels nationwide have been charged by police and fined Bt3,000-10,000 each. Most of them, however, have since begun operating again. Some of them have been charged more than once, but are still in the market. Last year, the THA reported 10 illegal hotels to police, but only a few were charged. The last one was Pangsawan Place Hotel in Chiang Mai, which Department of Provincial Administration officers alleged was violating hotel laws. The hotel was one of nine illegal properties charged in 2014. The other eight were in seven other tourist cities. "We don't know why police are unable to help us with these hotels, so we will [ask] the government for help," a THA member said. According to the Department of Provincial Administration, many illegal hotels have opened in emerging destinations such as Ayutthaya, Mukdahan, Krabi, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima and Kanchanaburi.
  14. .Hey, jimpty .. man, I hate to be such a cynic, but I've been around Thailand a long time, and the full list of building systems is something about which I know a lot. Now, you might be safer with a fire hose cabinet .. or .. maybe not. First, check the fire hose cabinet for an inspection record, which properly maintained fire hoses should have prominently displayed for easy inspection .. there should be a record of inspections and wet tests to assure the fire hose has not dry-rotted, which they do over time .. (this is the same for fire extinguishers, which have an expiry date before they must be recharged and maintained). Second .. is the water pressure from the public water system on the street sufficient to get fire flow at that elevation .. if at a lower floor, maybe .. if not, is the firewater source to which the fire hose is attached driven by a dedicated gravity-flow storage tank on the roof, or an emergency firewater pump .. if not, that might be a risk. Third .. is the emergency firewater pump driven by an electric motor (which some are .. worthless if the power goes down in the fire), or a diesel engine (which operates independently from the electrical system) .. under modern fire codes, in larger buildings a backup pump is required (maybe not in Thailand, though). And, fourth .. there should be failsafe control mechanisms linking the emergency firewater pump to the firewater system, PLUS all the routine maintenance on the diesel driver itself. My point, is that much in Thailand is about image above substance .. this is a Thai cultural value that evidences itself throughout all aspects of Thai life .. in an unlicensed hotel (and even a fully licensed hotel), none of this can be trusted to the judgement of a local owner. Even the licensed Accor-operated Grand Mercure in Bangkok (then billed as a 5-star property) had multiple violations of fire codes .. it burned 3 years ago, and people died .. (see post #19, above). I've lived here long enough to distrust "Thai safety" anything .. I've read of children horribly burned alive trapped in a carnival gondola, people electrocuted in their shower, tourists being poisoned in their hotel rooms by highly toxic home-brewed bug spray, kids being electrocuted in their swimming pool (at my old apartment), and on, and on, and on. Unless the hotel is operated by an international operator, I do not consider hotels here firesafe .. even then (eg. Accor's Grand Mercure), there are no guarantees. Always keep to the lower floors .. make a mental note of your way out when you check-in. It seems a low risk, which it is, and everything goes along just great, until it all goes wrong .. and then, it's suddenly not great .. the cost of failure here is not like back home .. it is high .. real high. Make your safety your responsibility, not theirs. .
  15. Hey, Wolf Cat .. "before people die needlessly" .. you will probably be unsurprised if I say that it is too late .. waaaay too late. Most notorious, was the Royal Jomtien Hotel back in 1997 .. killed 91, some of whom were jumpers. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Jomtien_Resort_Hotel_fire Then, of course, the Santika Pub bar which burned to the foundation in 2009, killing 66 young kids .. fire code violations on top of fire code violations. .. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santika_Club_fire Thailand has earned quite a reputation for fires in unsafe buildings .. hotels, condos, office buildings, nightclubs, cinemas .. major building fires are still a roughly near-annual occurance here .. unless you live here and read about it, some of you just would not believe it. For the year 2016, the most recent fire was in July at a Major Cinema here in Bangkok .. smoke inhalation, but happily no deaths. In June 2016, the Funky Villa nightclub burned to the foundation .. fortunately, the fire started just after it closed so it was not jam-packed with students, as it was an hour earlier .. some people are just lucky. In May 2016, a girls dormitory burned down .. 18 very young girls (none older than 13) died .. some, the most vulnerable among us, are unfortunately not so lucky .. now that is gut-wrenching. This can go on, and on. Relevant to readers here, the most recent hotel fire I can recall was in Bangkok about 3 years ago at the Grand Mercure Hotel (we watched it burn from my apartment) .. 2 farang died .. fire safety violations all over the place .. no one punished .. Accor, the operator, immediately removed their flag from the property .. I'm sure no brand will touch the family again, so they reopened and operate it themselves as the Marvel Hotel ( B L A C K L I S T ! ). Google "Thailand building fire" and the list and photographs are impressive .. building fires here are not everyday occurances, but they are by no means exceptional events. I acquire and develop commercial properties across all asset classes, so I tend to notice the more obvious deficiencies .. no fire exits, no fire suppression systems, no fire wall separations, no alarm systems, no pressurized stairwells, no smoke evacuation .. the less obvious are only reported after the fires .. exits blocked, or worse, chained closed .. sprinkler main valve chained closed (because the system leaks) .. inoperable smoke detectors. Incidentally, Thailand does have fire codes that are actually sufficient for its state of development. The explanations for how Thai buildings still frequently burn down are innumerable .. but, in my view, the fundamental common denominators that are the real cause are a deadly toxic combination of greed, corruption, and the simple lack of value for human life .. not really the expected virtues of a Buddhist nation, eh? .