Friday, March 20, 2015

Singapore Blogger Fined for Criticizing Anti-Gay Sex Law Court Case

Alex Au Waipang was fined almost $6,000 USD for blog post he wrote two years ago criticizing Singapore’s anti-gay sex laws, reports Global Voices Online.

The Supreme Court of Singapore found Waipang guilty of contempt of court on March 5.
The article in question, published in October 2013, allegedly accused the Chief Justice of rigging court proceedings challenging Singapore’s gay sex ban.

Prosecutors allegedly said the article “unfairly suggested that the Chief Justice had acted impartially” and by doing so “risked undermining public confidence in the administration of justice in Singapore,” according to Global Voices Online.

Waipang reportedly plans to file an appeal.

Thailand Defamation Lawyer Comments:
Laws protecting freedom of speech and freedom of expression vary greatly from country to country. In Thailand, for example, the law allows for freedom of expression to be restricted by the government to preserve national security, maintain public order, and prevent insults to Buddhism. Thailand’s lèse-majesté laws also strictly prohibit any form of criticism of the monarchy—a crime punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Similarly, defamation could be tried as a either a criminal and/or a civil offense under the Thailand Criminal Code.
Read the full story here.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Sydney Massage Parlor Wins Prostitution Court Case

An Australian court ruled that a massage parlor accused of illegal prostitution can stay in business because there wasn't enough evidence of paid sex to meet the legal definition of “brothel,” reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

The Hornsby Council reportedly spent nearly $100,000 building its case against the Hornsby Massage Centre, including hiring a private investigator to have sex with a prostitute and submit a graphic report as evidence.
Chaninat and Leeds’ Thailand private detectives have been conducting investigations and surveillance in Thailand for court case evidence since 1997.
After a year-long court battle, the case was dismissed because, according to the ruling judge, the council had not met the "standard of proof" that the premises met the definition of brothel with more than one prostitute providing services, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

Hornsby Council reportedly plans to lobby for an “urgent review” of the “legislative definitions” of a brothel.

Read the full story here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

US Housing Scam Fugitive Arrested in Bangkok

Joseph Arsenault, an American who apparently fled to Thailand to escape fraud convictions, was caught and arrested by Thai police in Bangkok after a tip from the United States’ embassy, reports Reuters.

Arsenault was involved in a real estate telemarketing scheme that stole over $20 million from nearly 300 victims by selling Detroit houses at inflated properties under the false impression that they could be flipped and resold for a profit, according to Samui Times.

Arsenault and 15 other defendants were charged in November 2014 with a range of offences including conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, according to Reuters.
Chaninat and Leeds’ criminal defense and Thailand fraud attorneys have successfully assisted hundreds of clients in civil and criminal fraud cases in Thailand since 1997.
Bangkok Police Major General Warawut Thaweechaiyagarn said Arsenault would be deported back to American in the near future.

Read the full story here and here.

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Monday, March 16, 2015

Thai Govt. Officials Can’t Agree on Inheritance Tax Rate in New Bill

Thailand’s government officials can’t seem to agree on the fate of Thailand’s draft inheritance tax bill, which was sent back to the Finance Ministry for readjustment in February, according to the Bangkok Post.

The officials are getting hung up on whether the tax rate should be 10 percent or 8 percent and whether the ceiling for the tax exemption should be estates valued over 50 million baht or over 80 million baht. Both the Finance Ministry and the Thai Cabinet had passed the bill with the former rates, respectively.

The National Legislative Assembly didn’t approve the bill, though, sending it back to the Finance Ministry Feb. 9.
The Thailand probate attorneys at Thai law firm Chaninat and Leeds have assisted heirs from all over the world with probate proceedings in Thailand.
According to the Bangkok Post, Finance Minister Sommai Phasee said he thinks the bill should be thrown out if the tax rate, which already “almost amounts to nothing for state coffers,” is reduced.

It remains to be seen if the changes proposed by the NLA will be agreed upon by all government parties or if the bill will be killed by bureaucracy.

Read the full story here.

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Mississippi Targets Islamic Law, Makes Foreign Law Illegal

United States: Mississippi passed a bill in February banning the use of foreign law, allegedly aimed at stopping the influence and spread of Islam’s Sharia religious law, reports JURIST.

House Bill 177 reflects Republican concerns over international influence on American affairs by claiming to protect constitutional rights such as freedom of religion, speech, or press, and marriage, according to JURIST.
The family attorneys at Chaninat and Leeds are experts on Thailand marriage laws and specialize in assisting binational couples with marriage licenses and registration.

At least a few other American states—mostly in the south and south east—have passed similar laws in their constitutions banning courts from considering international or Islamic law.

Read the full story here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

China Blocks Viral Smog Documentary

China pollution
City in Pollution” by leniners is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
The Chinese government banned a documentary about the country’s smog that became viral a week after it originally debuted across official Chinese media, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.

Chai Jing, a former Chinese news anchor, created Under the Dome to raise public awareness in China about its “dependency on burning coal” and regulators’ “weak enforcement of anti-pollution rules,” according to USA Today.

The film quickly became viral after launching on March 1, gaining 200 million views in less than a week before being blocked by the Chinese government from all major websites.

Read the full story here and here.

Watch the full documentary:

Chaninat & Leeds has a team of professional Thailand private investigators with decades of experience collecting and presenting evidence to be used in Thailand courts of law.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Bangkok Criminal Court Attack: Two Arrested, ‘100 Bomb Attacks’ Planned

Image courtesy of Thai PBS
The Bangkok Criminal Court was attacked on Saturday night by two men “hired” to bomb the court in a plot to allegedly bomb 100 areas in the capital city, reports The Nation.

The suspects, Yuttana Yenpinyo and Mahahin Khunthong, were quickly apprehended after the grenade exploded on the car park, creating a hole in the floor, according to Thai PBS.

Khunthong was the only person injured in the crossfire, according to local news reports, as the two men fired at soldiers to get away before being captured. 
The Thailand criminal attorneys at Chaninat and Leeds’ specialize in prosecuting and defending criminal cases for Thai and foreign clients in Thailand.
During police interrogation, the suspects reportedly said they were part of a “red-shirt group” that mobilized on the social media app, Line, to organize at least 100 bomb attacks at targets including military armories, university campuses and Wat Or Noi temple, according to The Nation.

Security was increased Monday at the Criminal Court and other major public and government buildings in Bangkok.

Read the full story here and here.

Monday, March 2, 2015

All Expats Could Soon Feel the FATCA Pinch

Flickr Photo Credit - Steve Johnson
If you're an American citizen then you may be very aware of FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act) if you are not an American, now may be the time for you to get educated because the UK and Russia are rolling-out their own versions of FATCA.

FATCA requires American citizens, including Americans living outside of the Unite States, to report their financial accounts held outside of the US. The act also requires foreign banks to report information about their American clients to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Thailand Business Law: Attorneys at Chaninat & Leeds are experts in company registration and business law
FATCA makes life for American citizens living abroad more difficult, so difficult that some Americans have considered giving up their citizenships. It has also recently been reported that American’s are increasingly being denied accounts at international banks as the financial institutions are reluctant to track and report data to the IRS as FATCA requires.

According to Thailawforum, the UK and Russia have recently drawn up their own versions of the tax law based on the American system. All expats should be aware, they too may begin to feel the pinch from their own government tax collection agencies.

Read more here.

Related Articles:
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Friday, February 27, 2015

Obama Allegedly Gives Immunity to CDC Autism/Vaccine Whistleblower

The Obama Administration reportedly granted witness immunity to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scientist William Thompson, the accidental whistleblower in the vaccine-autism debate, reports Jon Rapporport.  

Details that Thompson and his colleagues knowingly omitted potentially incriminating data from a CDC study on the linkbetween vaccines and autism, became public knowledge after Thompson’s private conversation on the matter was recorded.

Though a Congressional hearing on any CDC cover-up hasn’t actually been scheduled, if it ever came to pass Thompson would be allegedly protected from prosecution to testify.

Read the full story here and here.

Recommended Reading:
Medical Malpractice in Thailand: Patient Rights in the Medical Tourism Industry

Chaninat and Leeds’ Thailand paternity lawyers specialize in Thailand family law legal matters and assisting Thai and foreign clients.  

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Cambodia to Double Organic Rice Exports in 2015

One of Cambodia’s two only organic rice exporters is preparing to double its organic rice exports this year as demand for organic rice steadily increases, according to The Phnom Penh Post.

The Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture, CEDAC, reportedly shipped 540 tons of organic rice to international buyers in 2014 – a 20 percent increase over 2013. CEDAC is set to export 1,000 tons in 2015 to fill the demand in the international market.

Production in organic rice is still quite lucrative because “the price of organic rice is higher and also more stable than non-organic rice in the marketplace,” said CEDAC export officer Sou Sarorn.
Chaninat and Leeds’ corporate attorneys are experienced Thailand FDA lawyers who specialize in business litigation for national and international clients. 
Still, senior advisor to the Cambodia Rice Federation, David Van, said the strict regulations and extended grow-time for producing organic rice combined with the lack of education on the matter makes it difficult to find farmers willing to commit to “going green,” and makes large-scale organic rice production limited.  

In 2014, organic rice exports represented only a fraction of Cambodia’s overall 380,000 tons of rice exports.

Keep Reading:

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

General Mills, Kellogg Under Fire from Food Babe for Chemical in Cereals

Vani Hari’s petition to Kellogg and General Mills to remove a preservative from their cereals has gathered over 40,000 signatures in less than a month, reports Entrepreneur.

In the petition, Hari says that “many of the most popular cereals in America” contain the chemical Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), which Hari claims is a “risky additive” that Americans are “needlessly consuming.”
Chaninat and Leeds’  Thailand attorneys have assisted hundreds of clients with Thailand FDA registration since 1997.
The Food Babe blogger—known from her successful campaigns against Chick-fil-A’s corn syrup and Subway’s “yoga mat ingredient”—chose BHT for her next campaign because she noticed it’s already been replaced in Europe, reports Entrepreneur.

“They're American companies,” said Hari to Entrepreneur. “They should be doing that for [American customers]!”

Read the full story here

Monday, February 23, 2015

US-Thailand Commence Annual Cobra Gold Despite Differences

licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Though the United States sanctioned Thailand in 2014 for its ongoing coup, both countries still hosted the annual Cobra Gold joint military exercises, reports the Bangkok Post.

There had been speculation that the U.S. might cancel the Cobra Gold this year which has been conducted in Thailand for nearly thirty years. 

One expert on Asian security issues, Ian Storey, told the Bangkok Post that cancelling the Cobra Gold wouldn't have been in Washington’s best interests as it could have “created an opportunity for Beijing to strengthen its strategic ties to Bangkok.”
Washington did scale back the number of troops it sent this year, from 4,300 to 3,600, and “refocused” the drills this year on humanitarian civic-action training and non-combatant evacuation drills.

“Cobra Gold is a symbol of long-standing and continuous military cooperation,” said General Wuttinun Leelayudth, Thailand's deputy Supreme Commander, to this year’s attendees. “The training shows transparency in terms of these relationships.”

Read the full story here and here.

Chaninat and Leeds has a team of Thailand investigators experienced and prepared to gather evidence for clients to build their court cases.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thailand Requires Ivory Registration to Combat Ivory Smuggling from Africa

macro_elephant by Théo is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A new Thailand law requires ivory owners to register their pieces with the government in order to distinguish the amount of locally sourced ivory versus ivory from Africa in The Kingdom, reports The Nation

Nipon Chotibal, the director-general of Thailand’s Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), said the ivory registration will make it easier for the DNP to crackdown the illegal smuggling of African ivory into Thailand.

The new law took effect on January 22 and restricts individuals’ ivory possession to  either two pieces of ivory, or two ivory necklaces or four ivory bracelets, and allows one household to contain only up to 12 ivory pieces, reports The Nation.    

Furthermore, Chotibal said that under the new law, these ivory pieces can only be inherited, not sold, traded, given away or transferred.

Chaninat and Leeds’ attorneys are experts on Thailandinheritance laws and have been assisting clients with probate proceedings in Thailand since 1997.

Owners of locally sourced ivory must register all their elephant tusk pieces by April 21 and owners of African ivory will be able to register within 90 days starting March 14.
For further details, read the full story here.

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 Illegal Ivory Trade in Thailand, Interview 

Male Prostitution at Myanmar Massage Parlors on the Rise

Sauna Spa MassageJacuzzi by Thomas Hawk is licensed under CCBY-NC 2.0

The male sex industry servicing mostly homosexual men out of massage parlors has significantly grown in Yangon, Myanmar through the use of social media, according to the Asia News Network.

Owners of male massage parlors advertising as men-only health and beauty spas reportedly take advantage of advertising their services and available employment via Facebook.

Asia News Network reports the Yangon Regional Police regularly investigate and crackdown female sex workers and massage parlors but “countermeasures against male hustlers are relatively seldom.

The Thai criminal attorneys at Chaninat and Leeds are experienced trial lawyers, fluent in English who handle most criminal offenses.

Referencing the Prostitution Act Section 3 (b) and the Police Act Section 30 (d), lawyer Kyaw Win said the prostitution law only covers female prostitutes, but that the criminal law is applicable to anyone “involved in abnormal sexual intercourses.”

According to Asia News Network, at least one politician, MP Khin San Hlaing, has vowed to address the situation in parliament, stating that the situation “goes against Myanmar tradition and customs.”

Read the full story here.