By Andrew Batt: Thailand's Ombudsman and Auditor-General Siracha Charoenpanij has revealed he is drafting new laws aimed at protecting the Kingdom from illegal foreign nominee ownership of land, with harsh penalties for offenders including deportation for any foreigners found guilty of illegal ownership being proposed.
Under the new law, punishments would also be handed out to companies and law firms who offer advice to foreigners on how to hold Thai land, he said.
Existing laws require foreigners who are found to be holding Thai land to sell or transfer it within 180 days.
"The new law includes a reward to anyone providing information about foreigners owning land through nominees. They will get 20 percent of the market price of that piece of land as a reward after the plot is sold," Siracha told The Bangkok Post at a seminar on foreign property ownership.
The draft bill is expected to be submitted to parliament by the end of the year.
Several months ago, Siracha suggested that one-third of land in Thailand was owned by foreigners – a claim that was widely ridiculed by industry experts.
Andrew Batt, Regional Group Editor of PropertyGuru, said: "At a time when neighbouring countries are looking to relax their foreign property and land ownership laws, Thailand could run the risk of losing out on property investments from overseas buyers. There is no indication that Khun Siracha's views are shared by the Thai government, and it will be interesting to see whether these suggestions have widespread support. I believe these proposals are a long way from becoming law." Related Stories: London's Providence Tower launches in Singapore
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