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Thai woman mulls suing UK for B100m


Thai woman mulls suing UK for B100m

• Published: 29/11/2010

          A Thai woman is considering filing a 100 million baht lawsuit against the UK Border Agency, accusing of it "unfair" rejection of her re-entry into Britain to extend her residence permit and divorce her millionaire Scottish husband.
Kanokrat Nimsamoot Booth, a former journalist in Thailand, claims immigration officials from the agency, part of the UK Home Office, confiscated her marriage certificate and other official papers when she arrived at Glasgow airport in May. They also terminated her residence permit without explanation.
Ms Kanokrat, 41, has since been forced to return to Thailand and put her bid to divorce her husband on hold.
She was speaking at a panel discussion organised by the Foreign Ministry at the weekend about the life of Thai women who are married to foreigners.
Ms Kanokrat said she married Dennis Booth, a 67-year-old Scottish businessman, three years ago.
Their relationship deteriorated over the past year because her husband had become upset about her regular trips to Thailand and suspected she was having an affair.
She said she had only come back to take care of her parents and her two sons from a previous marriage.
Ms Kanokrat flew back to Glasgow on May 6 to extend her residence permit before it expired and to divorce her husband, only to be denied entry, she said.
An officer asked her routine questions and then informed her he needed to search her hand luggage. She said he took away her belongings and official documents, including an original marriage certificate.
Ms Kanokrat said she was then taken for an interview during which her requests for an interpreter and for contact with the Thai embassy were rejected.
"Most of the questions they asked me involved my relationship with my husband," she said.
She was formally rejected entry after the interview and then sent to a police station where she was locked up. She was told she would be sent back to Thailand. She was handed back most of her belongings but not her documents.
Ms Kanokrat said she asked the officials about the papers, to which one replied: "You should ask your husband about them".
Ms Kanokrat has filed an appeal with a British court since her return to Thailand, demanding that the Home Office extend her residence permit so she can proceed with the divorce.
She has also asked the court to order the UK Border Agency to return all her papers and grant her entry to the country.
She plans to file a civil suit against the immigration office with legal support from the Lawyers Council of Thailand, she said. Thai authorities including the Foreign Ministry and public prosecutor have turned down her request for legal aid, saying they lack understanding of British law.

Lawyers back effort to sue UK agency
• Published: 30/11/2010 at 12:00 AM
• Newspaper section: News

The Lawyers Council of Thailand has weighed in to a Thai woman's battle to sue the UK Border Agency for violating her human rights by jailing her.
The council has taken an interest in the case because Kanokrat Nimsamoot Booth claims her freedom was violated when the UKBA jailed her for one night before deporting her to Thailand in May this year.
Council member Namchai Ritkhampee said the council was not concerned with Ms Kanokrat's bid to seek a divorce from her Scottish husband. It is interested in her one-night detention without a proper charge and the confiscation of her marriage document, which was sent back to her husband. The two are in dispute over the divorce.
Ms Kanokrat was detained in May as she entered Scotland to extend her residence permit and to prepare divorce proceedings. She plans to file a 100 million baht suit against the British agency for what she considers to be "unlawful detention".
Mr Namchai said the UKBA might have acted improperly.
"This case might take time because it is fighting with another country," the lawyer said.
"The LCT (Lawyers Council of Thailand) has to translate all related documents into English and the litigation might need to be [heard] in a British court."
He also questioned Thailand's National Human Right Commission for not offering to help in this case. A commission spokesman told Ms Kanokrat it was a family matter.
The commission could not be reached for comment.
A diplomat at the Thai embassy in London told the Bangkok Post the office had received a letter of complaint from Ms Kanokrat a few months ago and tried to pursue the matter with the UKBA but had not received a response.
Ms Kanokrat sent another letter to the embassy last week through the Consular Affairs Department in Bangkok asking for help with legal issues. She also asked the embassy to help retrieve her marriage certificate from the UKBA.

• Discussion 1 : 29/11/2010 at 04:48 AM1

This should be an interesting case to follow as it will certainly highlight the vast differences in immigration laws that affect Thais married to foreigners especially in terms of PR which is granted to Thais married to their western spouses after a short interim. If only there was such parity in Thai immigration law for westerners married to Thais in the kingdom, with the mountains of rules and regulations that restrict the western expat in Thailand. Bring it on and with all the noise maybe the differences can finally be brought to light showing how in most cases, Thai people have it alot better under western immigration law and they surely know it.

• Discussion 2 : 29/11/2010 at 08:32 AM2

The foreign ministry does not need any knowledge of British law since there is not such thing. English law and European law would be enough since the entry was denied in England and the property (documents apart from a passport are the personal property of the holder) were taken off her. The woman should have got a receipt on what grounds they were confiscated. (Fakes, stolen etc)
If here marriage took place in the UK the original certificate will be in the registry office at the location the wedding took place and she can ask for a copy of that document. She can also employ an English solicitor and apply for legal aid there (she does not need to be present) who will represent her case to a court. Should that fail she can ask the European Court of Human Rights to look at her case since they have very strong views what emigration can do or not if a spouse is married to a European Citizen.

• Discussion 3 : 29/11/2010 at 05:16 PM3

Yet another case of some hapless farang being sucked in and subsequently exploited by a coniving Thai ying ... Far better had the besotted old fool lavished his love on a dog... At least it wouldn't have bitten the hand that fed it.

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