Integrity Legal

29th Jul 2009

The Nation and Thai Visa are reporting some interesting developments with regard to Thailand’s Legal environment. First off, the all-but-abandoned Thailand Elite Card program is apparently still alive, but on life support. To quote the Nation via ThaiVisa:

“In November 2003, Mr Thaksin proudly presented 80 gold Thailand Elite cards to international VIPs and eminent people, including Japanese trade chiefs and US banking and financial supremos. The cards promised fast-tracked immigration, discounts at luxury resorts and golf courses, and many other perks. The optimistic estimates to attract the world’s wealthy were mind-boggling; a million subscribers to generate a trillion baht in revenue. But early signs were not encouraging. After four months, a meagre 400 memberships had been sold, barely a dent in the 100,000 target for the first year of operation. Panicky officials talked of targeting China’s nouveau riche, and predicted they would attract 30,000 Chinese within 12 months. But six years later, the total number of members is a risible 2,570, and the Thailand Privilege Card Company (TPC), set up by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), to run the scheme has a crippling net loss of 1.4 billion baht.”

As stated previously on this blog, the current government of Thailand has opted not to continue the Thai Immigration benefits accorded to Elite Card holders. As a result, the central pillar of the scheme has been toppled resulting in nearly no demand for the card. It will be interesting to see what the ultimate fate of the Elite Card will be, but at this time it appears that card holders are attempting to get as many benefits out of the card as possible in order to offset the cost of acquiring it.

In further reports from the Nation and ThaiVisa, it would appear that the Thai government is looking to crack down on Karaoke bars in Thailand, “The [Thai] Cabinet has approved new regulations that prohibit karaoke parlours from providing drinking or singing partners to customers, with their business licences being revoked if they do.” It will be interesting to see if these provisions will be stringently enforced and, if so, what effect this legislation will have upon the already crippled Thai tourism industry.

The government also is proposing regulations to limit the amount of time that Thai children can utilize computer gaming facilities. This seems like an attempt to reign in children who play computer games virtually non-stop. Finally, a proposed film rating system. The system would impose rating categories upon Thai films. The categories would span the spectrum from films which would be “encouraged” to those which would be “banned.”

(This post is merely opinion, no attorney-client relationship is created from reading this piece.)

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