Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Foreign Business Act 1999  regulates the business activities of foreigners in Thailand. The act classifies business activity into three categories and places restrictions of various degrees of severity on foreign ownership and operation of these businesses.
Thailand Business Lawyer 

Chaninat and Leeds specialize in Thailand Business Law 

Although it is possible to obtain an alien business license or American firms have the benefit of setting up an amity company, many foreigners choose to form a Thai majority company, that is a company where more than 50% of the shareholders are Thai, so that they are able to operate a business in a category that is restricted to foreigners. The formation of a Thai majority company generally requires less registered capital and less paperwork than the formation of a foreign company.  Until recently, these companies were also under less scrutiny than foreign companies.  A Thai majority company can also buy land.

A Thai nominee shareholder is a shareholder in name only; in actuality, nominee shareholders lack a real financial stake or interest in the company.  The practice of nominee shareholders is illegal.  The prohibition is found in the Foreign Business Act, the Land Act and other laws.  It is a criminal offense often with significant penalties including fines and imprisonment . 
Relevant Video

Monday, July 29, 2013

Thai Monk Charged With Raping A Minor

A senior monk of Wat Bang Bua in Bang Khen district has been arrested and defrocked for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl reports The Bangkok PostHe was presented at a press conference in Bangkok by Social Development and Human Security Minister Pavena Hongsakula and Pol Col Chayuth Marayat, the Bang Khen police chief.

The disgraced Monk has apparently now admitted the charge, claiming he was drunk at the time. 

Under Thai criminal law the age of consent is 15 years of age. If a minor is raped in Thailand, the offender is likely to be sentenced to imprisonment for 20 years and will be ordered to pay a fine ranging from 8,000-40,000 Baht.

Read the full story here 

Related Stories 

DSI Ask US To Cancel Visa Of Former Shamed Monk

Flickr photo credit: Greg Waters

Friday, July 26, 2013

Non Pecuniary Damages In Wrongful Acts: The Difference Between US And Thai Law

Liability for non pecuniary damages remains a much talked about issue in the area of tort law, namely because it is so controversial whether it should be granted or not. The topic has been discussed at length in various academic articles.

This article however takes a slightly different approach.  Worrawong Atcharawonghai, Judge of Phuket Provincial Court and Thai Barrister at Law, analyses the difference between the law of non-pecuniary damages in Thailand and in the US and considers applying the concept of the US non-pecuniary damages based system to Thailand where it is not really recognized

He argues that Thai personal injury law should undergo reform, and that in particular non pecuniary damages causing death should be available and that more discretion should be awarded to courts with regards to the amount of damages that can be awarded.

Read the full article here  

Thursday, July 25, 2013

FDA Applications In Thailand

There are an increasing amount of FDA (Food and Drug Administration) applications being made in Thailand. One explanation could be the booming medical tourism trade which appears to be emerging in Thailand. More and more tourists and expats with disposable incomes are seeking a wide variety of expensive treatments, and of course where there is demand, there are always companies ready to supply, hence perhaps the reason for more medical service providers venturing into the Thailand market.

Importing pharmaceuticals, or other medical, narcotic and toxic substances into Thailand requires registration with the FDA. 

The application process is clear yet detailed but it must be complied with before a registration certificate will be provided. 

Importers need to provide comprehensive details about the company that will actually import the product, plans and photos of the production facility are required as is evidence to show that Thai laws have been met in respect of manufacturing, including, for example, lighting and ventilation, proper areas for preparation, the type of equipment that will be used.

Fees and then length of time it will take for the registration process to be complete will vary depending on the item being registered.

The Thai FDA also has authority to control product advertising, ensuring that the claims made by producers are backed by proper evidence and studies.

FDA applications can be complicated and timely and are a hugely administrative process, conducted solely in Thai. Consulting a law firm that is familiar with the Thai FDA registration and its processes can help to make sure that applications are expedited and dealt with as smoothly as possible. 

Relevant Video:

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Federal Court Backs Obama Over NDAA Indefinite Detention

President Obama has won his fight to indefinitely detain US citizens and foreigners suspected of supporting or assisting terrorists under the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012.
Thailand Criminal Attorney: 
Chaninat and Leeds specializes in domestic and international criminal cases in Thailand

The authority was challenged last year by a group of outspoken journalists, who were concerned the administration could used the law broadly to detain anyone who became a thorn in their side, hiding behind the word terrorism to justify their actions.

The group were successful at first instance, but yesterday the Federal Court sided with President Obama allowing the administration the immense power to indefinitely detain those it views as being an enemy to the US at their own free will. 

Related Articles: 
New Hampshire Blocks NDDA Indefinite Detention
States Oppose NDDA Detention 
Flickr credit: art_es_anna

56 Phuket Firms Suspected Of Breaching FBA

56 companies operating in Phuket are believed to be contravening the Foreign Business Act by having Thais acting as nominees so that foreigners can hold majority control.

In addition, among the 56 Phuket companies, 24 firms were only incorporated this year and are not yet properly operating, 13 conduct a business listed in Annex III of the FBA, eight refused to co-operate with the investigation, and three companies failed to respond when contacted by the authorities. It is thought most have Russian investment.

Thailand attorneys explain that the use of "nominee" shareholders is expressly forbidden by the Foreign Business Act 1999. It is a criminal often with significant penalties including fines and imprisonment. Prior to the introduction of the revised act of 1999 it was common to utilize loan-pledge agreements as a method for foreign minority shareholders to control majority Thai shareholders.  This entails the Thai shareholders borrowing funds from the foreigner and “pledging” the shares back as security. However, the Act of 1999 made this practice illegal. While enforcement of the Thai nominee prohibitions of the Foreign Business Act has been infrequent, the practice is risky particularly if a company has engaged the use of professional nominees whose name appears on multiple company registrations.

Related Documents 
Foreign Business Act 
Related Articles 
The Foreign Business Act and Other Foreign Business Restrictions
Flickr photo credit: Edwin.11

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Thai University Says Sorry Following Outcry About Hitler Billboard

The Dean of a leading Thai university has issued a public apology after students at Chulangkorn University painted a super hero billboard to help celebrate their graduation and include an image of Hitler alongside Superman, Captain America and Batman.

The story came to light when students posted pictures of themselves online in front of the mural copying the infamous Nazi salute. There was worldwide outcry, and apologies have been thick and fast ever since.

Although not condoning the images Thailand lawyers have been quick to point out the issue will have reason through sheer ignorance rather than being inflammatory behavior.

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Related Articles: Media Interest Continues In Bangkok’s “Hitler Chicken” As It’s Exposed As A Hoax

Flickr photo credit: phonenetworkgroup

DSI Ask US To Cancel Visa Of Former Shamed Monk

It is understood that the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has asked the US to cancel the visa for notorious former monk Luang Pu Nenkham, who is presently thought to be in America.
Thailand criminal lawyer  
Chaninat and Leeds specialize in Thai and international criminal defense law
The allegations made against him include the statutory rape of a minor and public fraud. His assets have also been frozen.

Related Articles: AMLO Freezes “Jet-set” Monk’s Assets

Friday, July 12, 2013

Cat Smuggling Trade In Thailand

Thailand's first ever arrest was made yesterday when a van driver was caught trying to smuggle 90 Thai cats across the border into Vietnam to sell to the meat trade.

The cats were crammed into six plastic cages.

Thailand Criminal Lawyer 
Chaninat and Leeds specializes in international criminal cases in Thailand

The driver has been arrested for animal cruelty and intent to illegally transport animals across Thailand's borders.

The Soi Dog Foundation have been working hard with immigration and quarantine officers at the Nakhon Phanom province with regards to dog smuggling, but it is thought this is the first known about incident of cat smuggling.

Related Articles: 
Thailand’s Dog Smuggling Trade 
Wildlife Smuggling in Thailand: A Matter of Convenience 
Thailand’s Dog Meat and Skin Trade

Flickr credit: Moyan_Brenn 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

US Visas Following Supreme Court DOMA Decision

Analysis continues to be made following the Supreme Court's much welcomed decision to strike down the Defense Against Marriage Act (DOMA). The fact that same sex couples who live in states that recognize gay marriage will be entitled to the same federal benefits that heterosexual couple ares brings with it massive changes in law from probate, to marriage, to divorce to immigration issues.

 The Secretary of Homeland Security has issued a very clear statement about what is to happen moving forward, "President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly. To that end, effective immediately, I have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse.”

US Spouse Visa Attorney 

Chaninat and Leeds specialize in US visa law  

Despite Thailand being accepting of the gay community, same sex marriage is still not legal here. However thanks to the Supreme Court, and the statement from Homeland Security it now seems to open the way for US spouse and fiance visas to be made available to same sex couples living in Thailand and wanting to live in the states. Previously, even if the US petitioner lives in a state where same sex marriage was legal, they would have been unable to sponsor their partner for immigration as they would not have been in receipt of the same federal benefits.

It now seems that is no longer an issue, and to that extent we expect a surge of application for US fiance visas   although obviously this will still need to be tested in practice to see if there are any other stumbling blocks which have yet to been anticipated.

Watch the video here:

Relevant Articles: 
Prenuptial Agreements And Same Sex Marriage  
DOMA Overturned! Immigration Rights For Same Sex Couples

Monday, July 8, 2013

Know Your Employment Rights In Thailand

Thailand’s employment laws are governed by the Department of Labor, Protection and Welfare.

If you are a foreigner working for a Thai company it is important to familiarize yourself with the regulations. They are probably very different to employment laws in your home country. 

Employment in Thailand may be terminated for the following reasons:

·         Completion of agreed upon work
·         Expiration of contract and legal employment period
·         Mutual agreement or resignation
·         Employment being transferred to a third party, without agreement of employee
·         In case of gross misconduct performed by employee, termination by employer

Thailand Employment Lawyer

Chaninat and Leeds specialise in Thailand employment law 

Employment can be terminated for gross misconduct for the following reasons:

·         Dishonesty 
·         Crime 
·         Intentionally causing harm to your employer
·         Gross negligence 
·         Violating rules at the place of employment for which a previous written warning has been provided to you
·     Neglect of the employee’s work duties for three consecutive days without any justification
·         Being sentenced to imprisonment, exceptions made for petty offenses and offenses stemming from negligent acts.

The amount of severance payable increases with length of service. More details can be found on the Department of Labor, Protection and Welfare website.

Severance is not payable when a fixed term contract comes to an end, if employment is terminated for gross misconduct as explained already, or if the employee resigns.

Severance pay is available to both Thai and foreign staff members that have been terminated from their positions. All nationalities have the same rights, save the termination of employment will create additional issues for foreign nationals connected with their work permit and their visa. Care needs to be exercised if you find yourself in this position to ensure you do not end up overstaying in Thailand illegally.  

Watch The Video:

Related Documents: Thailand Labour Law
                                       Thailand Provident Fund
                                        Thailand Social Security Act