Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thursday, July 05, 2012
19
Niels Colov, Pattaya Publisher and police volunteer
From Andrew Drummond, July 4 2012


The Pattaya People was today found guilty of criminal libel and has been ordered to pay compensation of 500,000 Thai baht to an Australian managed property company which a court ruled the newspaper had defamed.

The CEO of the ‘Pattaya People’, Copenhagen man-about-town and one time pimp turned crime fighter's assistant Niels Colov and Editor  Laddawan Yingyong were however found Not Guilty of the same libel at Pattaya Provincial Criminal Court.

Niels Colov, and his former squeeze, mother to his sons, it seems thus walked from the court without a stain on their characters, but the runaway newspaper is in the do do. I am not sure that can be right if they actually control the newspaper but perhaps all will be clear when the full judgment is translated.

It was stated in court that the ‘Pattaya People’ had campaigned against a condo being built by the Indo-Chine Asset Management Co. by Dongtan Beach saying the building was illegal.
Niels - Laddawan
This apparently conflicted with the interests of another condominium close by – the Jomtien condotel. The Indo-Chine condo was however quite legal the court seems to have accepted.


But as a result of the newspaper stories, saying the Indo-Chine condo was going to be blocked because it was in breach of all sorts of regulations, the company lost clients and income.

The Pattaya People has been ordered to apologise frequently, I gather. The newspaper however was unavailable for comment.

Trevor Dick boss of Indo-Chine was cautious. He said: “I wish to reserve judgment until I have read the judgment in full.”

But there was certainly no hand shaking picture taken outside the court.



Here’s the latest picture of Niels Colov this time with Pattaya Police and also CSD, issued by local police, opening a community watch programme to invite the public to assist in crime fighting. Spot the stalking crime fighting duo.

 

COMMENT


This is an interesting judgment.  How does one collect 500,000 baht from an abstract and inanimate object when the directors of that object are not guilty?

Moreover, as has been pointed out already, Laddawan Yingyong appears to be no longer the editor of the Pattaya People, even though the newspaper has not removed her name.

 


Picture - Pat Angko


 

That of course may be because every newspaper in Thailand must be edited by a Thai national and no replacement has been found.  I do take the point however that it’s unlikely she ever knew what was going into the newspaper.

But, more to the point, how does a foreigner remove a Thai national (see above) from a newspaper which she majority controls and ban her from publishing houses in Pattaya?

Could today's judgment be, a correspondent points out, a sort of Nuremberg judgment. That was when the Nazi Party, the Gestapo  and SS were deemed illegal bodies guilty of war crimes, whereas individual members were not necessarily.

However in this case there has been no 'I vas acting under orders!' defence by anybody.

One cannot of course jail an organization or inanimate object or rather perhaps commit it  to a life sentence gathering dust in the Pattaya Immigration office, so how can one order it to pay cash?  And how come the stories, there were several of them, got into the newspaper without the publisher/ceo or editor knowing?  There has to be a better explanation.

This rings a bell. A few years ago I was convicted of libel by the Pattaya Court but the newspaper, editor and features editor of the newspaper which published the story were found not guilty, which posed the question raised by the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand how did did they not know about the story they had commissioned and put into their own newspaper?

This recent case could be just a charming Thai judgment aimed to please or either piss off both parties equally, something we do not get for instance in British courts and  which few foreigners can really understand. Moi aussi.

Legal note: While I have made a few abstract observations I cannot take comments critical of a judges ruling in Thailand.

19 comments:

  1. Well, after this new situation, it must be very clear to all of us that the sum of the matter is greater than its parts.
    We just have to accept, that Thai culture and Law will not convict long term INFLUENTIAL expat businessmen, married to Thai Nationals, employing Thai people.
    NC has once again jumped the legal fence and can still roam free despite his mis adventures.
    I have a horrible feeling that Drew Noyes will also be spared judicial discipline or penalty ( oh maybe a few hundred thousand Baht) but with little real conviction.
    Law in Thailand unfortunately doesn't work the same way as we expect in other Nations, and probably won't for some time to come. It's ludicrous, and ridiculous, but it is what it is. So advice to all out there who get in loved in local issues.........DON'T .... it'll just get your blood pressure up, and that's not what you went to Thailand for in the first place. Sad really.

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  2. A Thai verdict that few farang can ever fathom. Thailand sometimes seems to be in a different solar system

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  3. Batman and Robin are there I see... Nice to see Drew has splashed out 3000 Baht on a new suit, also nice to see Noyes in a police photo where he's not being pointed at.

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  4. A friend to honesty and a foe to crimeJuly 6, 2012 at 5:26 PM

    NC couldn't be convicted as that would be admitting in a court of law that he runs a newspaper which is totally illegal in Thai Law and cause a severe loss of face.
    Will be interesting when Bangkok authorities examine the ownership issues and management of this 'publication'.
    On another note, this gentleman appears to claim that he represents the 'ex-pat' community. Maybe he represents the Danish contingent, but believe me our Thai hosts, he in no way represents Americans, British or Australians (can't comment on other nationalities)

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  5. Is this a new law that newspapers have to be edited by a Thai? In my time at the Bangkok Post the editors were, in order: S.M. Ali (Bangladeshi), Nick Nagle (British) and Graeme Stanton (British).

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  6. Well the Bangkok Post was founded by an American. But as far as I know all editors now have to be Thai. Opinions on this welcome.

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  7. From letters received he does not appear to represent the Danish contingent either.

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  8. Ever seen Colov have his photo taken with The Danish Ambassador or any other Danish Official... I think not.. Hmm! Wonder why?

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  9. QUOTE Will be interesting when Bangkok authorities examine the ownership issues and management of this ‘publication’. UNQUOTE

    They won't! Parliament's nattering nae'cods of nepotism are currently fat too heavily engaged in the usual biannual constitution 'fix'. Unless the Shinawatra-allied Khunpleum clan or the local plod perceive some collateral damage far beyond the usual day-to-day Sodom and Gomorrah stuff, there will be no plea from those two groups to the government to do anything. And there is no precedence for that.

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  10. As far as I am aware still a foreigner cannot be the Editor of a publication unless Yingluck has changed it. One does however require an ISSN number to start the publication but this is no big deal. So don't hold your breath on any judgement--- is it against an individual or company or what??? & if NC's name is not noted in the judgement who will carry the bill????

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  11. Pepe- If I/when see the full judgment I will let you know

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  12. Persona_non_grataJuly 8, 2012 at 3:47 AM

    Who has interests in the other Condo in this conflict?
    The Jomtien Condotel.

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  13. The Frying ScotsmanJuly 9, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    Some naughty boy passed round a copy of this article at Sundays ex-pats meeting. I was amazed at how many fellow ex-pats were ignorant of this person and his ''friend'' were, at dodgy dealing. Opened quite a few eyes it did. I think this web site may have a few new viewers this week. Sadly it appears there is no mechanism in place to remove him as President, or to remove a certain Khun Laddawan Yingyong from the board.Pattaya Ex-pats Club. Motto:- ''Ex-pats Helping Ex-pats to live legally and safely in Thailand'' Aye. Right

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  14. A friend to honesty and a foe to crimeJuly 10, 2012 at 5:39 PM

    @The Frying Scotsman- I too have found how many people are also unaware of 'dodgy dealimg'. Btw- are the accounts of the Ex-Pats Club ever independantly audited? Must have made a fair bit of money over the years?
    Well, I would think it would be easy to set up another club if it came to that. Actually, maybe thats a good idea- one with a charter, run by commitee, with no figurehead who uses the position to gain credibility?

    @Sunovabeach- you are likely correct, unfortunately :-(
    @Persona_non_grata- good question, think it may be possible to guess

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  15. A Thai Limited company is anything but an abstract and inanimate object, it is a legal entity in its own right and has very similar rights and obligations as that of a Thai citizen and considerably more than foreign nationals. The summary of judgement should describe the basic reason, principals of law, for the ruling and matters that pertain to the finding for and against the various parties. The question of should be asked did the plaintiff specifically name Mr Colov and Khun Yingyong as co defendants through direct association with the company, if yes then the ruling could be argued to be correct as without actual physical proof that Mr Colov or Khun Yingyong wrote the article(s) or made the same claims in public there is really only the company to blame.

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  16. Lloyd: Therefore the editor does not edit and the publisher does not publish. But I can undestand your answer.

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  17. "how many fellow ex-pats were ignorant of this person and his ”friend” were, at dodgy dealing." Many members also don't know the Pattaya Expat Club is a Company Limited (set up by a disgruntled founder member), which needs to do book keeping and pay taxes. Wonder who is in charge of that. This was the main reason the original Pattaya Expat Club changed it's name to Pattaya City Expat Club, they did not want anything to do with NC business. The PEC is still claiming to be the first and original club, which is a lie. Of course we know that DN became the first self appointed chairman of the PCEC, of course when voting for that position was introduced DN was dumped.

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  18. Yes Pat is right, at the first vote at the PCEC he lost the position resoundingly. They had had enough of his lies.
    History repeated years later when he formed an Optimist club. At the first election we threw him out and he still owes money to this day. Of course we all knew he was being voted out before the result was read out but Drew was completely blind sided. The look on his face, a classic moment. Then, instead of accepting the defeat, he went around asking who didn't vote for him. It was sad and embarrassing to watch him, but also very funny. We had a good night when he left.

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