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About nikster

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    Chiang Mai

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  1. That is the issue; they go and think they will work in a bar or massage parlor where they can leave any time On arrival they're told they now "owe" whoever arranged this trip a large sum of money that they have to work off... and because they're there illegally they can't turn to police etc, they're told they'll rot in jail for 10 years and so on. Lots of deception and lies, all possible because it's being kept quiet by all involved. Those who don't run away eventually get out of debt and can work for themselves and are then sent back to recruit more, and cash in a nice finder's fee (which the next girl has to work off). It's a pretty dumb scheme but also pretty clever. The more people know about all of this the better.
  2. Well physical access, sure, how else are you going to take the cash? You have to be there. Other than that, no. I remember a Defcon demonstration a few years back, showing how easy it is to make ATMs dispense cash. I don't recall the exact details how the hacker got the malware on the machine but I think there was one using a USB stick (meaning you have to get to the USB ports which may be difficult) and one that worked completely remote, over the ATMs phone line. ATM ended up dispensing all its cash in one go. Add to that that these things run Windows XP (I've seen many blue screens)... crappy software on top of a crappy OS. Banks are clueless on security they just take the hit and pass on the fees to the customers, just like the Visa card system and so on. None of this relies on secure technology, it all relies on a certain overhead for theft, plus law enforcement.
  3. I think recently there was actually an article that was pretty accurate - mentioning that sex trade in Thailand is 90% or more domestic. And the vast majority has nothing to do with underage or forced labor. This one's pretty much the opposite, full of total nonsense, poorly disguised morality piece.
  4. Interesting. House visits are normal in Chiang Mai. When they came to my house they found my wife and asked her all sorts of questions about me. Then they made it clear that they would cause problem if not given money. Had to go through a lot of phone calls and an amazing Visa service agent to save the day and make them go away without paying. BTW never pay off immigration officials. If you do, you're on the hook for the rest of your life. Never give them anything. Any problems they may cause or threaten are still smaller problems than if you pay. This sounds like a good thing overall. No idea on sham marriages - our immigration officials tried to rip us off regardless, we have been married over 10 years and 2 kids so pretty obviously not a sham marriage. Didn't stop them making trouble.
  5. I think that's only when Thailand would actually want to try him - long time ago so chances they have very little interest. Also they would only return him once he's been tried back home. This case is pretty much the reason European countries have these laws to persecute sex tourists who are also pedophiles. I'd give the guy the benefit of the doubt - he probably believed she was 16; (hold on I thought the legal age is 18?). Also the main blame is on the <deleted> bar owner who hired teenagers - what a dick! Norway guy paid for her child so how beneficial for her would it be to throw him in jail now? It's a messed up situation but not, to me, a clear cut pedophile, like a guy who goes after little girls and boys. I guess the main benefit of a conviction would be to warn off others to do the same. Which makes sense. If you're a sex tourist, just leave girls alone that look super young - how hard is it? Thirdly, and this is what people forget: Consider the big picture. Imagine this girl ended up in a girl bar at age 13. So clearly a lot has gone wrong with her life already; her parents are either drug users or dirt poor, or otherwise incapable of taking care of her. Her relatives are incapable of taking care of her. Of all possible outcomes in this situation, is it really the worst outcome that a Swedish guy comes along and ends up supporting her for 8 years? I'd think, of all possible scenarios, it's maybe not the best, but certainly it could have been way, way worse.
  6. This and the other "cynical" posts here: Yup. I REALLY want to see the TV posters who take the time of their day to ride up to and make hundreds of cars move out of the way for several Kilometers of Bangkok traffic jam, in a country where people are simply not used to make way for the Ambulance, and where everyone's simply on the way to work. Do that, then come back and be cynical. But I guess it's a lot easier to write a whiny post on TV.
  7. nikster

    Farang beach rubbish collectors wowing Thais

    They didn't think of it. But some foreigners taking matters in their own hands is exactly the right way to get Thailand to change in this way - and then the locals will also enjoy the clean beaches much more. I saw a guy in Hua Hin doing the same - he was just going along the beach picking up garbage - every morning around 6:00 am. Not asking questions, not complaining - just picking up garbage and putting it in the bins. This, folks, is the way to effect change here. Really happy social media caught on to it.
  8. So why don't you just go and install street lamps then? I am sure you could find others to share the cost. And such things are pretty easy to do in Thailand, generally speaking all you have to do is go to the electricity office or land department or whoever is responsible for street lights, and offer them to pay for it.
  9. This was not a soi dog attack so I have to wonder why everyone here is talking about soi dogs. What's it got to do with it? Soi dogs didn't attach this girl. If you killed all soi dogs tomorrow, this attack would not have been prevented. Not even expressing an opinion on soi dogs here - why? It's got nothing to do with the topic. IMO Thais are OK taking care of soi dogs - some feed them, others poison them when they get too unruly. It's a balance. Out in the country all dogs are pretty well behaved. When they misbehave they suddenly get very ill and disappear. This seems to have been an unfortunate accident, not reflective of "all dogs" in general, or all dog owners (also got nothing to do with soi dogs, as a reminder). I agree with those who say the owner should be made to pay ALL expenses, plus a significant amount of damages, and his dog needs to get a restraining order, e.g. has to remain inside or on a leash. He got away with too little, it's not right. Putting the dog down or not could be debated - it's pretty harsh, I think it deserves a life sentence instead - just remain inside, so it cannot hurt people anymore. BTW as horrific as the incident was, I am sure the girl will make a full recovery, in time. I've seen people recover from worse, our human healing powers are pretty amazing.
  10. Translation: Motorcycle taxis are run by some sort of mafia and they don't like it when there's competition. Doesn't really matter if it's government mafia or regular - it's the same everywhere, somebody is making money off of allowing others to be a taxi. I love that Thai authorities are so naive about this - don't they read the news? Uber has legal trouble everywhere they go, and it's always for the same exact reason: Some incumbent lobby which benefits from the current, significantly worse taxi scheme, doesn't like it. Be it the NY licensing scam, protected workers in Paris, or whatever is going on in China, Uber is fighting uphill battles everywhere. And they're winning most of the time. I am sure in Thailand they'll eventually pay off the right people enough to make it all go away. Took my first Uber in Bangkok recently, it was awesome. It was late and we were in a popular tourist spot and nobody would take us for a fair rate and/or with meter. Uber took 1 minute to arrive, and got us to our destination for all of 71 baht, and I didn't even have to produce a wallet, wait for change, etc - just get out of the car. The car was also nicer than most taxis.
  11. 10 rai lol - look at the picture!! This is way way bigger than 10 rai - 100? More?
  12. nikster

    Chiangmai Water Park

    keep going, please... zoo is government owned, not sure about night safari... thai cycliing association does NOT sound like a private enterprise to me... I am impressed with your ability to find the other three places that have double pricing, maybe you can name a handful more... out of tens of thousands... thanks, this is amazing, we should keep it going.
  13. nikster

    Chiangmai Water Park

    Wonderful. I'd like to go there if they do not charge "Farang Price". In the Hot season a similar facility would be welcome, in Chiang Mai. Nasty, see the enclosed tube will get very hot from sunlight and if typical the water will be highly chlorinated for obvious reasons, chlorine evaporates quickly and will become a gas in the tube, you will be happily sliding in a hot chlorine gas environment. Many people are sickened and puke at these types of water parks. The grand canyon old quarry looks nice, how is the water quality? Oh, I had no idea we had a water park engineer on the forum. The enclosed tube does not get hot, it has water running through it continuously at a fairly steep angle. It's really just fine. All if it is rather nice, clean and well maintained actually. And no double pricing, which is worth a mention. For all those reasons it's really quite a bit above the usual modus operandi for attractions in Thailand. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kd6KTPvfy5U?t=43s (Start at 45 seconds or so) (And the 'grand canyon' quarry does not look nice, although that's a matter of opinion. It's an artificial pit filled with standing water in deep holes and trenches left over after quarrying sand and rock out.) LOL... not sure he's a water park engineer or a comedian... "Hot chlorine gas environment" wouldn't have been able to make this up, thanks for the laugh... It's worth noting the entire Vana Nava water park is using salt pools, or something similar there is no chlorine smell and it's very clean. To those who have not yet realized this: Double pricing is the exclusive domain of the Thai government. Normal Thai businesses are smarter than that.
  14. @tropo what you believe to be a feature - PCs running the latest OS - is more of a bug, really, as Desktop computers have completely stagnated the last 7 or so years. I have a 4 year old laptop with a Quad core i7 - the latest model of this same laptop is something like 15% faster. A low end core i7 (mobile) is slower than my 4 year old one... I can't remember that ever happening before... we're in the middle of a dramatic slowdown in progress as desktop computing is concerned. Operating systems have progressed even less, both Mac and Windows. A short history would be Windows alternates between totally useless and kinda-OK releases, whereas Mac OS X adds lots of features that are useless or changes features that remain useless in every release. In mobile, hardware moves along as it has in the past on desktops, doubling the speed about every 18 months (sometimes even faster). At least Apple's A... series processors have been doing that the last few years. The competition isn't too far behind either. There are no (**ok: hardly any) 6 year old Samsung phones around, quality was never a priority at Samsung. This is not bashing Samesung - I don't think they need to last a lot longer, and longevity simply is not a consumer priority. Going to sell an iPhone 4 today, it still works perfectly. It has a retina display which still looks better than any cheapo phone you can buy now, 6 years later. It might actually be a really good deal for the few thousand baht I am expecting to get for it. I would really like to see some statistics on how many of those old iPhones are still running... But what I really wanted to ask: What's up with the iPhone SE in Thailand? I can get all the way to buying it in the Apple online store Thailand, but then the "buy" button is disabled.... very weird.
  15. nikster

    Chiangmai Water Park

    Wonderful. I'd like to go there if they do not charge "Farang Price".In the Hot season a similar facility would be welcome, in Chiang Mai. Vana Nava is expensive - it's 1,200 per person except for smal kids but then small kids are not allowed on any of the big slides so it's not worth it for them. Enjoyed a day there, some thoughts - expensive but worth it - awesome slides - scary slides (even more awesome) - high level of safety awareness- staff is well trained like you would find in the US. There's water guards everywhere. Negatives: - Lack of shade, renting a hut costs extra - food and beverages slightly overpriced - nothing to do for kids < 120 cm. a wave pool and a water playground that's it Sure would like to have this in Chiang Mai.