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MekhongKurt

September 21 meeting report

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Don't know what in the world happened to the report in my other posting, so here it is:

We are greatly pleased to report that the meeting on September 21st saw a record number of people attending -- a rather astonishing 48! Police Senior Sergeant Major Kanit made a few basic comments regarding visas for Thailand -- then spent the next hour-and-a-half addressing individual questions and concerns.

After the meeting he reminded me of something both he and I forgot to mention during the meeting: all of us would be wise *not* to use a visa service to take our passports out of the country when we are required to exit the Kingdom, as there is a *major* crackdown on such activities. Not many weeks ago nearly a hundred foreigners were arrested in Phuket for using such services, and they were expelled from Thailand *and* declared Persona Non Grata -- meaning they cannot re-enter Thailand, as they aren't welcome.

We also had 8 new members sign up, and several more add their names to our mailing list, bringing that list up to 60 names. Significantly, we had 4 more volunteers for the Association's governing board, bringing the total to 7. Once we get just 2 more volunteers for the board, Madam President Aom and Heady Flunky Me will be able to move forward with registering the Assocfiation as a non-profit organization under Thai law.

Don't forget that next Sunday, September 28th, we will have an address by Attorney Dawn Kitt of the law firm Kitt & Murray (Wireless Road; for information about Dawn and her firm, visit their web site at http://kittmurray.com.

The Expats' Association of Thailand is really beginning to move, and are we ever excited. Khun Aom and I spent far more time after the meeting talking about developments and the future than either of us intended -- in fact, we talked about it after the meeting, then again later in the evening when we got together again just to visit but ended up yakking about the Association most of the time during our second visit of the day!

Chairwoman for Public Relations Pui had to be absent yesterday, much to our regret. Seems she is afflicted with severe pains in one of her knees, a pain of mysterious origin her doctor has not yet been able to identify. I'm sure all of you join me in wishing her a speedy recovery. I spoke with her by phone Sunday evening and she sounded in obvious pain. Get well soon, Khun Pui!

Some requests: if you are willing to be a member of the Association's governing board, please let me know as soon as possible at this e-mail address: exat@thai.com. Also, if you yourself wish to speak to the Association or know someone who might be, please let me know that at your earliest convenience, as we now have no one firmly scheduled beyond Dawn this coming Sunday. Finally, when you attend a meeting -- bring a friend! We're looking forward to seeing all of you this coming Sunday. Until then --

With warm regards,

Kurt T. Francis, Vice President

Expats' Association of Thailand

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Kurt....did the police officer offer any comment on those using 30 day border hops and actually living in Thailand ?

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Yes, he did offer some comment, both in private conversations we had in the weeks before and in chats with people after the meeting.

Bottom line: the high command is frowning on this.  In fact, until my last visa run I had been doing exactly that for 16-17 months, and while I never had any problem, the officer warned me ahead of time to get an actual visa because of the major attitudinal shift in the upper echelons.  For myself, I'm going to take it easy for the time being, not getting the maximum time I can legally get out of a visa -- in my case this time, I *could* stay until up in December (through obtaining 3 consecutive extensions of 30 days, 15 days, and 7 days on top of the 60 days I got when I re-entered).

A speculation on my part is that the authorities are in part concerned about people living here but working without a work permit.  Given the many problems facing the Kingdom, one might think this not such an important issue -- but whether or not it is important, meaningless, or somewhere in between, to work without a work permit *is* illegal -- which is a whole new ball game.

The closest I come to making money is to run a not-for-money website about Bangkok.  Besides that, I'm Vice-Pres. of a non-profit organization -- but under law, my work with that is explicitly legal under Thai law.  So, the website would be a problem only were I ever to start making any money from it, while the lawws for the foundation and operation of the association association out-and-out state foreigners are exempt from work-permit requirements.  Or at least that's what the well-respected Thai lawyer who does this sort of stuff as his daily living has told me.  (I don't read Thai.)

Back to the visa stuff, if you have any reason to be out of the country anytime soon, even just a week or two, *maybe* that might help -- but I don't know that, and the police officer didn't mention it.

I would imagine a major emphasis will remain on the illegal visa services, at least until APEC ends.

Later --

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Kurt

would you post a new topic to that effect. So many of the punters are doing it ( one for 10 years )...the walk each 30 days. They cannot believe that the time for doing that is over. It might save a bit of skin. Thanx pal.

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Hi, dr_Pat_Pong --

Unfortunately, I don't know anything more than anyone else; the confusion between the countless rumors swirling around the visa issue and the possibly related issue of stuff happening (or rumored to be happening) as a result of APEC have all of us in a state of confusion.

It struck me the other day that no *businessman* (or businesswoman) I've ever known here -- and I've known a lot -- has ever had the slightest problem, not even those based outside Thailand and who come here for, say, a week of meetings.  Such people could, one might argue, be quite legitimately required to get work permits since they are, after all, working.  As for those based here, they have work permits here, so that's not an issue -- the year visa goes with it.

On the other hand, most of the tales of woe I've heard have been from people either not working but living here -- or working here illegally.

Some suggest the true real concern is illegal common laborers from neighboring countries, though as can be true in any crackdown anywhere, it may well happen that some of us get hassled by a rank-and-file official who has misunderstood just how far the net is to be cast.  There is an old story of an American company leasing the whole floor of a bank here and setting up a joint venture.  The Thai partner invited the American CEO to attend the grand opening, held outdoors the bank in a small adjacent plaza.  The monks gave their blessings, then the two exectutive jointly wielded a large pair of scissors to cut the opening ribbon -- at which point a number of plainclothe immigration officers rushed up onto the platform, then arrested and handcuffed the American because of his "working" without a work permit.  Although a lot of top governmental leaders (Govenor of Bangkok, head of BOI,, etc.) and high-flying Thai businessmen tried to intervene, the agents were insistent and hauled the guy downtow.  Eventually, someone at the national level intervened and got the guy released -- who immediately wrote off his firm's $10 million investment, told the bank to keep the year's lease and deposit, and instructed the local manager to sell off all the equipment in 6 weeks, then donating anything left to charity.  He also ordered generous severance packages for all employees.  And pulled out of Thailand, never to return.  (A man I know witnessed this, speaks fluent Thai so could understand what was being said.)

I suspect we're all going to just have to wait to see how this all washes out at the end of the day.

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You could merely write the same as your first reply to me and start a new thread titled OFFICIALDOM VIEWS VISA'S DIFFERENTLY       ???

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Many thanks Kurt. It will help dispel some of the perpetuated myths hereabouts. I am glad I am not on drugs    :o    yet

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Hi, dr_Pat_Pong --

Call me brain-dead -- missed your point.  Will do.

Mekhong Kurt

Are you on the Mekhong again Kurt........

:o  :D  B)  B)  B)

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Hi, Kan Win --

No, I'm not on the Mekhong; haven'tbeen to it since mid August, when I made a visa run to Vientiane.

In your other posting, you're right, it was at Bourbon, as all the Sunday meetings are.  I'll be speaking this Sunday there about changes in China I observed up close and personal when I lived in the Northeast 1985-88 (when it was still very Stalinist), then in the Portugeuse colony Macau 1990-94, and finally when I lived in Daliang, a small city about 90 kilometers north of Macau 1999-2000.  And I'bb bring in the fact I was married to a native of Beijing for some years; getting married in The People's Paradise proved to be an epical adventure!  So drop on around, if you like!

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Dear Kurt,

Thank you for your relpy.

Say hello to young Doug for me - great Guy at B.Street. Heard he opened another branch....in BKK.

On week-ends I am in Kan, so no chance for any week-end mettings for me.

Wish you all well.

Warm regards

Kan Win

:cool:  :D  ::o:

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