Has One Of the Region's Worst Con Men – Been Conned?

May 15 2012

Seems Michael Helsby Knight wants his life back.

New Zealand con man Michael Helsby Knight who pulled off various cons in Pattaya after being banned from ever trading in New South Wales, Australia, is apparently whinging about his reported death.

He has been circulating an email showing himself holding up a copy of the May 12 New Zealand Herald, still alive and whining.

Thankfully the background shows that when it was taken he was not in Thailand – the world’s final destination for those of his ilk – but in more temperate parts.

He claims a couple of people have successfully put in claims on his life insurance – Knowing his past I guess they could well be him – and he wants to know where he was buried or cremated.  He apparently also wants his car back.

Tiny tears are running down my cheeks as I write this.

Says MHK who also has a penchant for wearing ‘Polo’ shirts:“Now I understand there is a couple of nasties hit men in Auckland running around trying to knock me to make this go away. Sorry, I have notified the organised crime police almost daily and they are aware of all the players. “Next, Bo and his boss Mu are looking to set me up with a murder on Mae. Bo you are a sick psycopath that needs to be locked up. Mu you paid the 6 million to have him in the job unquestioned…. but I have the info on the murders you have done which will see you both die in custody. Leave Mae alone she is a nice girl.” (sic)

Helsby Knight ran several scams out of Thailand. One last year was a website called ‘’ which offered €300 return tickets from 60 destinations to Thailand, provided you stayed in certain hotels (for which he charged up to triple the rack rate).

This was promoted on Pattaya People TV. His company in Walking Street, Pattaya, went under the name  Thailand Tourism Development Centre and all members of his staff had official looking uniforms. Strange nobody noticed.

Other scams included and to link rich Asian businessmen with businessmen in Australia, the U.K. and Europe.

The idea was that the Asian businessmen would buy up foreign companies and obtain citizenship of the countries where those businesses were.  Aha! That was not the scam. The scam came when the businessmen had to pay all the translation costs and fees -several. thousands of dollars on pain of losing their customer.

Several Embassies in Bangkok, including the British Embassy, were alerted to the scam.

Helsby Smith has convictions dating back to 1985, been bankrupted twice, and banned indefinitely in New South Wales from being involved in business – even a corner shop. In Pattaya no doubt he can open a department store.

In 2002 and 2004 Mr Knight, while bankrupt, was convicted of offences against the Fair Trading Act; in 2005 was sentenced on four charges of using a document for pecuniary advantage; and in 2005 he pleaded guilty to managing a company while bankrupt.

Below is the story published by the New Zealand Herald, clearly his most favourite newspaper, when he was banned from NSW.

Colourful Auckland businessman Michael Helsby-Knight has pledged to fight his unprecedented ban on ever doing business in New South Wales and prove himself to New Zealand consumers.

Mr Helsby-Knight is the first man to be permanently barred from trading in the Australian state.

Its Department of Fair Trading dubbed him the worst conman it had ever dealt with.

A department spokesman told the Herald yesterday: “We don’t want him back,” and Consumers Institute chief executive David Russell said similar banning laws should be passed in New Zealand.

But Mr Helsby-Knight – back in Auckland setting up a company selling refurbished Australian computers – yesterday vowed to fight the ban, and apologised to anyone who had lost money doing business with him.

He said he would return to Sydney to contest the New South Wales Supreme Court injunction, but only once his new company, Computer World, was running smoothly.

“It’ll be a good two or three months before I will finish delivering all the products I said I would here so I can hold my head up to the New Zealand public and say ‘I do what I say I am going to do.’

“If I had done all these things [the NSW department says], I would be in jail. I have never been spoken to by police.”

Mr Helsby-Knight, who has also been a repeat subject on television’s Fair Go programme, added: “I have done things wrong in the past.

“There have been things I have done that I am not very proud of and to anybody who has lost money or a product or whatever, I apologise and will reimburse that as I can.”

He said the NSW department’s action was heavy-handed.

He had been convicted only of one charge of misleading advertising in New South Wales, in 1995.

He was also fined $25,000 in Melbourne last February for misrepresentation.

Mr Helsby-Knight said his new venture had a “few” customers who had already paid some money for refurbished computers that he was waiting to have delivered.

The NSW fair trading spokesman said about one person a month was banned from doing business in the state, but usually only for a set amount of time.

“It took us a lot to convince a judge that someone is so bad that they have no possibility of reform,” the spokesman said.

“He’s an absolute menace.”

Told that Mr Helsby-Knight intended to fight the ban, the spokesman said: “He can come back and do anything he wants, but until the court makes any other decision, he’s not operating a corner store or a newspaper stand. Nothing.”

Mr Russell said the Consumers Institute would cite Mr Helsby-Knight’s case when it renewed its lobbying for the introduction of similar trading bans here.

Consumer Affairs Minister Phillida Bunkle said the possibility of introducing similar bans for motor vehicle sellers and in the consumer credit industry was being investigated.

But they would not work against all traders.

Conmen would be able to dodge such bans, and the Government wanted to target bad business practices rather than individuals.

Michael Helsby Knight also used the names Michael Wright, Michael Kain, and he had a side kick in Pattaya called Ann Khochidglang!

This (right) is how he looked at the time on the NZ Herald story. Is he a master of disguises as well?

 Below –  The Commercial Section of the British Embassy in Bangkok replies to one victim of Michael Helsby Knight

Dear xxxxx,

Your e-mail has been passed to me from our Visa Section.

Please kindly note that you are not the first British companies contacted by Asia Business Partner.  Below is the content I sent to one of the companies.

We are not at the position to confirm whether this is a scam.  But there were 2 British companies contacted us in October regarding Asia Biz Partners wanted to buy their companies and the address below was given by one of the enquirers.  Further information on Asia Business Partners can be accessed from

About the Author

Andrew Drummond

Andrew Drummond is a British independent journalist and occasional television documentary maker. He is a former Fleet Street, London, journalist having worked at the Evening Standard, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, News of the World, Observer and The Times.

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