Thais and expats scammed by Hua Hin British property developer

Published:  25 Jun at 6 PM
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Expats and Thais scammed by illegal British housing estate developer.

Thailand’s Department of Special Investigation is examining five Moo Baan housing estates developed by an illegally working British expatriate. The developer was claiming ownership of the housing complexes in the popular beachside town of Hua Hin via a Thai nominee, but was in violation of Thailand’s foreign business laws and evading taxes by failing to obtain a special permit. The investigation was the result of complaints by at least 18 foreign and Thai purchasers of the properties who’d been sucked into the scam via the use of false information about the developments.

Once the victims had signed the agreements to purchase and moved in, it was clear they were not getting what was promised. Complaints included behind schedule completion of the homes, with deadlines continually pushed back and a lack of installation of public utilities such as electricity and water as well as delays in allocating address numbers. Apparently, no permissions of any kind were given for any of the five developments. In addition, the income from the sales wasn’t allocated to the payment of taxes due, a development which is being considered as tax avoidance on the part of the developer.

As part of the investigation, some 240 million baht in assets has been identified by the authorities, including financial information, contracts for construction and land transfer documents. The scam is being treated as a special case as damages in the amount of over 100 million baht were caused by the developer and money laundering is suspected. Unfortunately, the above scenario isn’t rare in Thailand, as the use of Thai nominees by foreigners is illegal.

The not unfamiliar practice creates a loophole allowing expats to own businesses in contravention of Thai law, with other examples including buying condominiums as well as houses off-plan or being persuaded to invest in a new development. New expat arrivals in the country are being urged to use a reputable Thai lawyer to check out any seemingly legitimate property deal.
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