Illegal Condo Committee Members?
I was directed to a thread on Thai Visa last week where an interesting discussion was taking place involving their resident Thai legal adviser and a couple of foreigners. The topic at hand was the legality of foreigners on a condominium juristic committee. According to the lawyer, he guarantees that it is illegal for foreigners to hold a position on a condominium committee as it’s seen as ‘working’ and unless they have a work permit allowing them this role, then they would risk arrest and possible deportation.
The lawyer actually cited a case that they had dealt with where a foreign committee member actually was arrested. I found this quite alarming as most condominium buildings in Pattaya have elected committees that are comprised of at least a couple of foreigners. This is not their job – they are co-owners in building with a juristic committee that has been formed to comply with Thai law and they are acting on behalf of building and its residents for free. I really do hope this is untrue and I’d love to hear from anyone, foreign or Thai, that has any insight into this matter.
When I first moved here in ’01, like many foreigners who weren’t working, we did the monthly visa run to Cambodia. At that time we got 30 days on entry and then another 10 day extension for 500 THB at immigration (when it was down off Pattaya Soi 7 – which seems like a lifetime ago) and paid around 2,000 THB for the run to Cambodia – happy days. When the law changed around a year later, anyone who had done more than two back to back runs couldn’t come back in for something like six months. Thankfully around that time I became gainfully and legally employed where my non ‘B’ visa prevented my unfortunate departure. But I did know some people who started having to travel more – do a month here, a month in Malaysia, back here, etc., while they waited for the rules to loosen yet again – which of course they did.
A similar shake up seems to have taken hold yet again with cross-border land visas apparently not being issued. This has certainly caused a frackus and there are only a handful of clients the past month who haven’t brought this up to me. All I can say is – like the coup, this is nothing new. Already they’ve pacified it a bit by saying that 30 day visas can now be extended a further 30 days which is great news. I do expect some additional leniency to come forth as well.
While at times it may seem to the contrary, I do believe the Thai government want us here. They are simply trying to find ways to squash the negative element that has unfortunately sought refuge here for too long. This is not going to be an easy process and I believe they are just figuring out how to do it. If you’re here in Thailand and you are not living off the Thai people or working illegally, I truly believe there is nothing to worry about – just be patient.
Much has been made of the ‘clean-up’ in Patong involving taxi drivers (both car and motorbike) and now the beach vendors. In a bid to restore the country’s image, food stalls, massage huts and other illegal vendors are being swept off the beach in a very swift manner.
I can only assume this is a precursor to a broader country-wide campaign that will most certainly include Pattaya. Patong is a relatively small town compared to Pattaya. I believe that the Phuket clean-up has been sort of a proving ground before the main offensive (Bangkok and Pattaya) and that the hoards of taxis, beach-chair vendors, food vendors, and hopefully the dreaded jet ski operators will most certainly be in for a major shake-up.
How this will affect the average tourist or expat has yet to be seen, but I think having proper licensed anything is better than the current situation. I certainly don’t want to see increased unemployment, but my sympathy card is very unlikely to include most vendors I’ve crossed paths with over the years. Squatting on public land and earning a tax-free living while acting like they own the place has never gone down well with most.