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BANGKOK 16 February 2019 20:42
HawkinsChin

Finding a Lawyer for Civil Case in Chiang Mai

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Hello Everybody,

 

I am a new member and I encountered some problem. Hope somebody here can give me some advices.

I have a Hong Kong citizen. Me and my wife have just finished our wedding ceremony, cocktail reception and dinner banquet in Chiang Mai on 14th December as a destination wedding. The venue was Panviman Chiang Mai Spa Resort. Our family and friends from Hong Kong, Macao, Australia, Canada and the U.S. all loved it. They really enjoyed the fascinating and amazing event.

 

However, after our wonderful wedding there left a problem remains to be solved. This is a regret for us and we hope somebody could help. About 9 months ago, we had found a wedding planner via a facebook page. It is because most wedding planners in Chiang Mai mainly cater for local people. If we use English to communicate with them, we usually do not get any feedback. Only this wedding planner responded to us actively and promptly and he did provide us information. So we booked the wedding decoration package, makeup artists and rent the wedding dress from him. Initially, he just needed us to send half of the price he listed to him as deposit. On 18/7/2018, he suddenly requested us to send him the full amount as deposit. He mentioned he must book the manpower in advance as December is high season. We do not know the practice in Thailand so we sent the full amount to him by Western Union. After that he mentioned he could help us to book the venue, hotel rooms for guests and other items. Every time we sent money to him is by Western Union.

 

He earned our trust because he did organise a Pre-Wedding photography when we visited Chiang Mai in November on 4/11/2018. But after we went back to Hong Kong he started to respond to us very slow and we had to chase him to respond for our questions on the wedding.

 

About less than 2 weeks before our wedding day. Me and the Panviman Hotel manager asked him about the wedding details, he did not respond to us. Then we heard some bad news from our Thai friends in Chiang Mai that the wedding planner did not show up in several weddings of local couples in November and left them with unfinished wedding decorations. Some local Thai couples had already seek help from local Police. We started to worry and we contacted the hotels directly. None of the hotels said they received any payment from that guy. The hotel informed us that she did not have any agreement with the guy. We also contacted the restaurant Khaomao Khaofang and one of the staff replied that the owner does not know the guy and asked us to contact The Consulate General of China about the case. For the last few weeks, we have been asking the wedding planner to refund the money we transferred to us. He promised to refund but every time he also has some excuses not to do so.

 

Although he received all our money, he did not show up on our wedding day. Fortunately, the manager from Panviman and our wedding photographers step up to help on our wedding day. Due to their help, it turns out that we and our guests had a wonderful day. After the event, we went to the tourist police station to report the case. The Police was helpful and he called that guy to come. Under the witness of the tourist Police, that guy and I had signed an agreement that he had to refund the full amount to us that we gave him by Western Union (THB $183,000) on 20/12. Since it is a civil case, the police said they cannot do anything. The police said if he still does not return any money, we can find the lawyer to sue him. Up until now, he still has not refunded any money to us.

 

Since we have already returned to Hong Kong and we are not familiar with Thai Law. Could you please tell us the procedure of finding a lawyer in Chiang Mai? Do you think getting a lawyer could help? Thanks.

 

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17 minutes ago, FritsSikkink said:

Depending on the amount of money (is it 183000 THB or $ 183000) a lawyer could cost you a lot.

It is $183,000 THB. It is still not a small amount to us. The tourist police said they could not do anything and just asked us to find lawyer to file it as a civil case and sue him. I am sure if we don't do anything he will just get all the money and find another victim with the same trick. 

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Posted (edited)

If you file a criminal complaint against him with the police (theft? fraud?), and the police accept it as a valid complaint, you will be given a receipt and then the matter will be forwarded to the public prosecutor's office. Since the guy apparently confessed, his guilt has been established. 

At some point in the future, you will receive a letter from the court saying that the case has been accepted. Then you will have to wait, up to a year perhaps, to get the notification that the case will come to a court hearing, with dates, the time and place. 

If you need to get clarification, go to the public prosecutor's office behind Chiang Mai City Hall and ask. 

The above is what happens in the criminal side of things. The defendant is given a chance, at court, to pay you back, but regardless, if a law was broken, he will do jail time or probation. 

The civil side of things would come after the criminal case is concluded, if he was unable or unwilling to repay you.  

Edited by Trujillo

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Put it behind you... write it off as a bad debt.

It will cost you more in money and aggravation to recover it than it is worth.

The Thai legal system seldom works for Thais - for foreigners almost never.

That's just friendly advice, take it or leave it.

Good luck either way.

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wow.  it's actually a good lesson for all reading.  we have all been ripped off in every country, some more blatant than others.  this case is downright fraud and theft, but i'm sure not much you can do here.  it's not a small amount, and can get you upset for years and years.  you will blame yourself for not being clever, and we all do the same.  it's like buying a new car and it's a pretty bad car, and you lose 300,000 baht when you sell it in a year.   in that case, you got a car.  in your case, you got nothing.  in the future, never send more than a few thousand baht and, unfortunately, don't trust anyone (99% of people).  it could have been worse.....people buy homes and after a year lose everything.  everything can happen...... LEARN from this.  good luck.  

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As was said to me by a lawyer here once, dont waste your money chasing it, apart from the expense, the time involved over a long period, they will disperse any assets amongst family and appear to have nothing, so whilst you may get judgement, you wont get anything else and will never collect.

 

Move on, let it go.

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Although it seems like the case borders on fraud, the police have apparently dismissed it as civil. Could your Thai friends get in contact with the couples who contacted the police and see what their status is?

 

Court judgments here are no different than in other countries. You can pay the legal fees to get a judgment , but enforcing it is very difficult. I have a friend who has a judgment for I think 1.7 million THB and in 7 or 8 years has not been successful in executing that judgment. The judgment debtors have the money but are very clever in registering all their assets in the names of relatives here and in Bangkok.

 

 

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19 hours ago, HawkinsChin said:

It is $183,000 THB. It is still not a small amount to us. The tourist police said they could not do anything and just asked us to find lawyer to file it as a civil case and sue him. I am sure if we don't do anything he will just get all the money and find another victim with the same trick. 

If the case actually goes to court then the legal fees will probably take care of any compensation you are likely to receive. Especially with you being a farang.

 

However, the threat of legal action may be enough to get the guy to pay up. To get a lawyer to start proceedings should cost a lot less than actually handling a full case through to the bitter end. Very few court cases in Thailand actually get to court, and of those that do many are settled before judgment is given, not least because Thais like to avoid being branded as thieves/deadbeats.

 

Either way, the lawyer will probably overcharge you.

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Posted (edited)
28 minutes ago, elektrified said:

Although it seems like the case borders on fraud, the police have apparently dismissed it as civil. Could your Thai friends get in contact with the couples who contacted the police and see what their status is?

 

Court judgments here are no different than in other countries. You can pay the legal fees to get a judgment , but enforcing it is very difficult. I have a friend who has a judgment for I think 1.7 million THB and in 7 or 8 years has not been successful in executing that judgment. The judgment debtors have the money but are very clever in registering all their assets in the names of relatives here and in Bangkok.

 

 

 

Could also be that the police are taking the laziest route, including not telling you about charging the guy with theft, fraud or whatever,  so they don't have to do any work.

 

 

 

Edited by scorecard
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It is also possible that the alleged scamster has made a donation to keep things "civil." 

 

While I would never suggest you suggest a donation, I have been told that sometimes donations work wonders, here. But, wonder-working here ... well, who knows, could lead to hard-labor.

 

I think the suggestion to try and find some also scammed Thais is good one.

 

Sympathy is.

 

~o:37;

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Don’t let it go !
Because this is exactly what these crooks are counting on.

Police report has been filed - police here are mostly useless.

Ask a lawyer to find other victims and to bring criminal charges since this is obviously not the first time this low life has cheated people out of their money ruining their wedding day.
The law will move slowly but work it’s course.
And you still give the thief a chance to settle once he sees that you are serious he will !

People here go to prison for stealing a 1000 baht - this guy has somehow a connection to the police don’t let him get away with it - once the matter goes to court the police have nothing to say anymore and can’t protect this crook.

And then there is of course the Thai way to settle this - as a Thai friend who I just showed this story told me - how he would take care of it faster than any court - but that is a different matter that can not be discussed here.



Sent from my iPhone using Thaivisa Connect

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Thanks everyone on commenting the case. Unfortunately, I did not know such case can be filed as criminal fraud until I have read the comments here.

I asked my Thai friend about whether she knows anyone who got refund from the crook, the answer is negative even they reported to the local Police. I kind of agreed with Boonrawdcnx that if I just let the crook get away then he will definitely carry on to find another victim.

The hotel manager of my wedding once was a colleague in a Chiang Mai hotel with that crook. She told me that the guy cheated on the weddings of over 7 pairs and got over 700,000THB. He then changed his name and opened this wedding planner company. Unfortunately she lost contact with the guy after the incident and only found out about 1 month before our wedding when she met the guy. Everything is too late as we had already paid our deposit to him. 

Recently, I have read a news in Bangkok Post and The Nation. A Bangkok wedding planner was arrested because of similar settings. The links are as follows:

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30358487

<<<<Link to Bangkok Post removed: 26) The Bangkok Post and Phuketwan do not allow quotes from their news articles or other material to appear on Thaivisa.com. Neither do they allow links to their publications. Posts from members containing quotes from or links to Bangkok Post or Phuketwan publications will be deleted from the forum.>>>>

Similar guy was charged by fraud but since I am a foreigner and does not familiar with Thai Law I doubt I could do the same.

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If this is the case, maybe cross the road and have a different kind of police find him - and punish him

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He defrauded you.  In what country is fraud not a criminal offense.
Hummm.  Thailand.  🤔

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