Pattaya: one of the world's 'great escapes' for criminals
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Pattaya holds many attractions for foreign criminals on the run
Criminals have fled jail sentences in Europe, murder charges in England, paedophile charges in USA and police investigations for every kind of crime imaginable in countries around the world, then settled in Pattaya. They hope to build a new, undercover life safe from the grip of law in their own lands. Is it the free-flowing sex with young girls, the wild nightlife, drugs, weak money laundering regulations or lax policing that attracts so many foreign criminals to Thailand, and Pattaya in particular?
It's all of the above, and more. Many foreign criminals bring ill-gotten millions into Thailand to invest in business in an attempt to disguise their past. With money, it's relatively easy for a foreign fugitive to open a Thai company, get a work permit and gain yearly residence – all the necessities for a new life behind a new facade.
The (sometimes) booming property business appears to be the industry of first choice for criminals in-hiding, with bars and restaurants the runners-up. But one such British-European gang that invested a lot of loot in Koh Samui couldn't resist their criminal tendencies and bribed local officials to obtain especially valuable, but not-quite-legal, land titles on which to base their developments. Following tip-offs from foreign police, they came under surveillance, and were eventually busted and deported, while the title deeds were seized.
The arrest in Thailand of another British man by the local police was reported by the BBC in January 2011; Man accused of murdering London landlord; A British man arrested in Thailand has been charged with murdering his landlord in south London in 2008. Stuart Crawford, 44, of no fixed address, is due before Sutton magistrates on Wednesday accused of killing Michael Ryan.
With so many foreigners involved in the property, condominium and other businesses in Pattaya – who can distinguish a legitimate business person from a fraudster or murderer-on-the-run?
Does the influx of foreign criminals make Pattaya more dangerous for foreign visitors? Just how safe is Pattaya? .
This page gives a good overview of the safeties and dangers for foreign visitors in Pattaya.