Flying Sporran's Bangkok Midweek Diary
I am going slightly off my beat today to say hello to the fine residents of St. Vincent in the Grenadines. Apparently I was a little bit famous last week after local journalist Luzette King re-broadcast my piece on Harlequin Properties operations in Thailand and half the island tuned in.
The report is now being broadcast island to island in the Grenadines by steel drum.
St. Vincent, an independent commonwealth democracy with a population of 120,000, a Prime Minister and Parliament, does not of course have the resources to maintain a fraud squad.
Which is unfortunate because it does however accommodate the Buccament Bay Resort which is just about the only resort the Essex, England, based company Harlequin has built.
Well actually it’s still not finished and a couple of weeks ago there was a fire, which apparently had to be doused by workers in a bucket line.
According to St. Vincent’s ‘I Witness News’. The fire may have been started by disgruntled workers who had not been paid.
Journalist Luzette King from bds ‘Nice Radio’ has been on to say that not only are Vincentians disgruntled with Harlequin. It seems they are hopping mad.
Harlequin's executive have been playing the game of high-rollers, turning up on chartered aircraft, visiting and providing hospitality to Caribbean politicians, posing in the House of Commons in the UK and even putting in bids for minor football clubs.
In Thailand, Richard Haughton, former President of Pattaya Jomtien Rotary Club, played a similar regal role, before and after he transferred the Harlequin projects (most of which bombed) to his TPME - Thailand Media and Property Exhibition Company...Now he is allegedly consultant to Harlequin Property Maintenance Company
Harlequin supremo David Ames, a former bankrupt double glazing salesman from Essex, who brought Harlequin to Pattaya and Phuket had been trying to put a lid on all negative reports of his companies activities by using Britain’s most famous libel lawyer Carter Ruck, called naturally Carter-Fuck, by the satirical magazine Private Eye.
But not even these legal eagles, who have represented our very own ‘Tesco’s’, have been able to beat off the continuing negative publicity surrounding Harlequin, much of which is being posted on the www.harlecon.net website.
Former project manager Kevin Webster has been on to both me and Harlecon to complain that there was no fire-fighting equipment and in any case the local fire station is 25 minutes away and it only has one vehicle.
He also complained about Harlequin’s treatment of its local workers. On its website Harlequin boasts about what it is doing for the local community.
Kevin Webster says he resigned on a point of principal after he was ordered to replace local staff with new workers being imported from Prague.
Well there’s the height of tact. But all par for the course. David Ames plays on being ‘British’ on his promotional videos, even on one produced by Pattaya People Television.
Meanwhile Harlecon has been comparing Harlequin’s responses to ‘buyers’ to those provided by Harlequin (Thailand).
The similarity of behaviour is uncanny and is recorded here.
Haughton, a former Tupperware salesman and video store owner sold fictitious homes to foreigners in Pattaya and having taken the money for the build of one genuine build -‘Emerald Palace’ – hawked the property deeds to a local bank for a 71 million baht loan.
Anyway I have been also getting calls from people with a gentle Caribbean patois also asking about our chums Neal Davies and Peter Simmons in Phuket, whom we featured here most recently.
These guys have been hawking ‘Harlequin’s’ fictitious portfolio as their own and attempting to raise cash for the Harlequin Income Fund – which really should be named the Davies & Simmons-Lifestyle-Fund.
They have been kicking about the bars in Rawai while operating non-functioning companies based in Mauritius.
Most of their funds have been suspended. But they still advertise them.
That of course may be a little immaterial because nobody is policing these guys anyway.
Actually they could have made lots of fast bucks and kept their heads down and got away with it – but, driven by greed, apparently they have taken a few locals to the cleaners.
But word on the block is that they have been given the cold shoulder by the Grumpy Old Men Society?
What? Yes on Phuket there is a group called ‘GOMS’. I think they are retired chaps with a bit of cash for good causes.
Anyway let’s hope that someone in authority catches onto their scams. I mean there has to be a worse penalty than being frozen out by the ‘Grumpy Old Men Society’. But if any of you GOMS get to read this, GOMS sounds like a society I could be a mascot for.