living in the ‘Land of Smiles’

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Thailand – Hangover from Hell: Hundreds of Westerners Living on the Streets of Thailand

Via: Time


A Thai charity has revealed that a growing number of Westerners — around 200 at present — are sleeping rough on the streets of the Southeast Asian nation, in areas from Chiang Mai to Phuket, many doing so as a result of alcoholism, drug use or having spent all their money on local women.

“We are starting to see more and more homeless foreigners, many of whom have separated from their Thai wives and now have no money,” said Natee Saravari, secretary-general of the Issarachon Foundation. “They walk or sit in shopping malls during the daytime and scavenge through garbage for food at night.”

Foreigners seeking a little companionship become easy prey, Bonney says. Unfamiliar with Thai bureaucracy, they get pressured into buying cars in their girlfriend’s name. “The reality is that there’s no difficulty to do it in their own [name],” he explains. Next they buy a house in her name with the proviso that they will share everything equally, but no legal documents are signed to that effect. “And when they’ve paid the money the girlfriend can just kick them out,” Bonney adds.

Some help is available, however. The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok “is definitely one of the busier posts out there” says spokesman Walter Braunohler, who, while unable to provide precise figures, tells TIME repatriation requests from destitute Americans is “more than a trickle.”

Sending somebody home costs around $2,000, the majority spent on airfare but also on temporary lodging, meals, medical treatment and immigration fines.

Friends and family back home are sounded out for a loan, but should none be forthcoming the government will stump up the cost to be repaid upon return.

Other embassies work on a similar basis.


personal thought:

Chiang Mai

I’ve seen very few foreigners, as the photo shows, sleeping on park benches.

I believe many can round up enough, somehow, to rent a 75-100 baht room ($2.35 – $3.12 USD per night).


September 14, 2013 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , ,

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