Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Global Mail has today released a shocking report revealing  that Thai authorities are losing the war in stopping dogs from being stolen and smuggled to northern Vietnam where dog meat is considered a delicacy. It is estimated one million dogs are eaten there each year.
It is estimated that 200,000 dogs every year are being smuggled. The trade has been going on for at least thirty years.

Smugglers rely on poor vulnerable people, to help them target and capture animals.  Increasing demand means smugglers have now started to steal family pet dogs in addition dogs living in Thai temples. Soi dogs are becoming more difficult to catch making the family pet more attractive as many live outside during the night.
Chaninat and Leeds specializes in international criminal cases in Thailand
Dogs are gathered across northeastern Thailand, before being taken to holding pens in the Nong Khai, Bueng Kan, Nakhon Phanom and Mukdahan provinces.

The inhumane conditions for the dogs during transport are impossible to contemplate. Open-sided trucks are filled with hundreds of dogs, starving and dehydrated, and piled on top of each other, injured with bite wounds and broken bones. Many die from suffocation and the injuries they sustain during transit.

Dog meat is considered a delicacy in Vietnam and it is believed that some feel it has aphrodisiac and other properties.

The maximum penalty in Thailand for the illegal export of animals is two years imprisonment and a 90,000 baht fine (about $3000 at May 2013 exchange rate), but activists report that no one has yet been jailed.

Trying to control the number of dogs killed and transported to other countries has proved to be a difficult task but a number of people in Thailand are continuing the fight to stop the trade, but while dog meat remains a delicacy in Vietnam, the smugglers will continue.

Obama endorses Malaysian coalition party’s election “victory”

The World Socialist Web Site the Obama administration has publicly declared that it supports the new Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition government, following a telephone call President Obama made to Prime Minister Najib Razak, leader of the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the dominant party in the BN, congratulating him on the election result.

Many are citing the public support as contraversial in light of the big demonstrations held following the annoucement of the election outcome protesting the result is "an anti-democratic fraud".

Read the full article here

Chaninat and Leeds specializes in international criminal cases in Thailand

Burma: Telecoms Warned of Risk at Being Linked to Human Rights Abuses

Human Rights Watch has today warned international telecommunications companies attempting to enter the Burmese market they need to be careful to ensure they are not linked to human rights abuses if  sufficient protections are in not put in place.  

Burma's human rights reforms have been inadequate to date  in the Internet and telecommunications industries. Therefore Human Rights Watch has advised international companies to implement strong systems to prevent and address any abuses linked to them.

Read the full report here

Chaninat and Leeds specializes in international criminal cases in Thailand

Monday, May 20, 2013

Thailand Business News reports that Thailand's  Department Ministry of Justice Corrections has pronounced that it will stop their custom of shackling inmates with iron chains and bars at Bang Kwang Central Prison. 

Chaninat and Leeds specializes in international criminal cases in Thailand
The century long practice of chaining inmates were used for those awaiting trial, or those  convicted with serious offences and sentenced to life imprisonment. Anyone sentenced to death was shackled until execution.

The heavy and incumbent leg irons could weigh anything from between 3kg to 15kg.

Under the pilot project, 563 out of 800 "well behaved" inmates at the prison have had the shackles removed from their ankles since January 2013.

Human rights groups have repeatedly condemned the practice and now Amnesty International Thailand has spoken out supporting the decision, happy that Thailand are starting to conform with international human rights practices. The group still think Thailand can do more and are calling on the government to end the death sentence.

For security reasons, inmates will still be shackled when appearing before courts.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Increasing Popularity of Lifestyle Clauses Unlikely to be Seen in Thai Prenuptial Agreements

Do you expect your wife to be to provide a home cooked meal every night? Do you love trashy soap operas but your future groom hates them? What's an acceptable amount of money to spend on a new pair of shoes?

Traditional prenuptial agreements set out financial arrangements in the event of a break up, however KTNV reports this week that that lifestyle clauses are becoming increasingly popular in prenuptial agreements. 

Lifestyle clauses are boundaries of what a couple deems to consider acceptable behavior and some even go one step further and include fines for any breach of the same.

KTNV explains how this clause may work: the wife loves music, but her husband does not, therefore she may only play the piano when he is not home. Perhaps the husband hates the colour green - the wife then is not allowed to wear anything of this colour. Going one step further: the husband imposes a limit of the heaviest his wife can weigh - he can fine her if he finds she ever weighs more than this!

It is questionable what would be the outcome if the legitimacy of these agreements were to be ever tested in the Courts. It would be more difficult for a couple who are dating to enforce any breach rather than a married couple.

Lifestyle clauses in Thai prenuptial agreements would be highly unusual, if indeed permitted at all. Thai prenuptial agreements are governed by the Thailand Civil and Commercial Code, sections 1465-1493. Any legal agreement must be in writing on the same date of marriage registration, or must be a written agreement signed by both parties, with two witnesses. The agreement should also be attached with the marriage certificate where the marriage is registered.

Thai prenuptial agreements are generally vetted by government officials which limits the remit of the agreement to deal solely with assets and personal and matrimonial property. In fact section 1465 of the Civil Code specifically states, <em>"any clause in the prenuptial agreement contrary to public order or good morals, or stating that the relations between them as regards such assets are to be governed by foreign law shall be void".</em>

So whereas the thought of being able to limit the amount of times your husband goes to the pub each week, you are unlikely to be able to legally enforce this in Thailand!

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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

American Abortion Doctor is Convicted of Murder as Abortion Debate Continues in Thailand

The Washington Post reported this week that American abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, 72, was found guilty on Monday of three counts of first-degree murder. The jury accepted the Prosecutor's case that Gosnell had conducted illegal late term abortions in his dirty West Philadelphia clinic, thus severing the spinal cords of three infants who were in fact born alive during the procedure. He was acquitted on a forth count of murder.

The Gosnell verdict arrives at a time for Thailand when the debate on abortion continues about the legality and morality of abortion. The sensitive but emotional debate was fuelled following  the discovery of 2000 fetuses in the grounds of a Bangkok Buddhist temple in late 2010 as reported by the New York Times.

Some point out that abortion should be legal in this day and age, and that there are many different reasons behind unwanted pregnancies. Others argue strongly that abortion is still a serious sin, and thus stand firm that the present law should remain.

Regardless of the strong views of the public both for and against,unless the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest or will endanger the life of the mother, abortion remains illegal in Thailand in accordance with sections 301-305 of the Thai Penal Code. Performing an illegal abortion can lead to a sentence of five years imprisonment, a fine of 10,000 baht (about USD 336 as of May 2013 exchange rate) or both, whilst a woman who undergoes an abortion is liable for three years imprisonment, a fine of 6,000 baht (about USD 222) or both.

In the meantime, Gosnell now faces sentencing at a later date, with the primary decision to determine being if he should receive the death penalty or face life in prison. Prosecutors have indicated that they will be seeking the death penalty. 
Thailand Criminal Lawyer:

Chaninat and Leeds specializes in international criminal cases in Thailand