I was watching a TV show the other night called The Embassy. It is about the Australian embassy in Bangkok and how they deal with the various problems travelers run into. Anything from lost passports, to Aussie blokes having money troubles with their Thai girlfriends.
Towards the end of one episode, there was a story about an Australian guy who was in jail in Phuket. He was in jail for fraud. His son was featured in the story trying to raise the bail money to help his dad get out of jail.
The strangest thing though was that I had met this guy in Bali. I won’t write his name here, but if you watch that TV show, you can find out who I am talking about. He leased a hotel for a while in Bali near where I live.
He was a friendly guy and quite welcoming. He ran a hotel in Thailand before coming to Bali so had many funny stories to tell. He did have a lot of trouble employing people for his hotel in Bali. Staff would barely last a few weeks before so they were fired or they moved on.
He had quite a bit of trouble with the owner of the hotel who he was leasing it from and it even went to court. I know some other expats tried to give him advice, but he wanted to handle everything himself. The hotel was very run down so he did do his best at trying to fix it up.
He joined various ‘hotel clubs’ to get guests to his hotel. I had never heard of this before, so looked it up online and found that it was some kind of timeshare type of arrangement. I read a complaint from one of his guests that he tried to sell them some kind of ‘fractional ownership’ in the hotel. This was also new to me, but later found out it is similar to a timeshare arrangement. I have written about these schemes before on this blog and I have never been a fan of them.
I then heard one day he had some kind of disagreement with a local what I believe was over a small amount of money. I think I saw him one more time and then never again. His father continued to run the hotel for a short while. Then, one day I found out he had returned to Thailand and was arrested in Phuket for fraud. Apparently, he was wanted in Thailand when he came to Bali. According to the television program, he spent about 10 months in jail in Phuket and is now living back in Australia.
Part of the fun of living overseas is meeting other foreigners from different countries and all walks of life, but if they start to mention investing in some kind of property or business deal, run like the wind.