In false arrest, Uncategorised by Andrew Drummond8 Comments


“I sympathize with tourists for having to face many difficulties, such as scams, crime, accidents, injuries and even death”. – Tourism Minister


Mark Berchowitz, the South African owner of ‘The Green Gazette’ which publishes South African Government notices, was today promised the return of 100,000 baht (over US$3000) bail, part of 150,000 paid to a Mo Mohammad of Unity International Law in Pattaya.

This company is allowed to tout for business in the police station in the Thai resort of Pattaya – and in the lock up below Pattaya court.

But he only got the cash back after ‘Mo’ was summoned to the court and made to admit that the cash paid over belonged to Berchowitz, not Mo or Unity Law.

Mo was confronted with the evidence of a bank transfer and withdrawal from Berchowitz’s account while Berchowitz was in custody.

One again the case was postponed – this time for three weeks – seemingly making a mockery of the creation of so-called Tourist Courts. No attempt was made at resolving the issues despite widespread statements from authorities in setting up the courts to deal with minor matters involving tourists and allowing tourist victims to testify without having to spend a long time in Thailand.

Berchowitz is charged with being illegally in Thailand and ‘robbery by night’.

Immigration records and Berchowitz’s passport both show he was legally in Thailand and had several weeks to run on his visa.

And the ‘robbery by night’ was holding onto the ID’s of two Pattaya based prostitutes from Lisa’s Coyote in Pattaya 2nd Road  (though this shows up on police records as Walking Street)  after a dispute with the intention of reporting to the police with them the following day – which he did shortly after 10 am.

So far it has cost him 350,000 baht (just under US$10,000), 2 days in a police lock-up in Pattaya Soi 9 police station where he was charged 100 baht for a bottle of water..And so it goes on.

Heralding the creation of the Pattaya Tourist Court, the country’s first, Tourism and Sports Minister Somsak Pureesrisak told the Pattaya Mail:

“I sympathize with tourists for having to face many difficulties, such as scams, crime, accidents, injuries and even death. I want to help those tourists receive justice as fast as possible, which is important in helping tourists feel confident and better after a disastrous event.”

And added Virit Chinvinitkul, secretary-general of the Courts of Justice:

 “Tourists have a limited amount of time here and regular court processes usually require a longer amount of time. Hence, we have pushed for this court to open as fast as possible to begin tourists’ cases and for tourists to receive justice.” 

Pattaya’s Chief Judge Apichart Chepnu told the newspaper:

 “This tourism court is expected to do good and create confidence for tourists”

And the newspaper reported:

‘Public employees, including interpreters, already have been stationed at the office to take complaints from tourists. Cases may go to court the day after a complaint is filed.”

Below – from the Pattaya Mail


Footnote: The Pattaya Court initially refused Berchowitz bail on the grounds he was a flight risk.  This compares strangely to Drew Noyes who has been convicted and sentenced to two years in jail for a real crime – EXTORTION – and who has been given permission while on appeal to go to the United States.


  1. Bob Kneale

    I know that there is a principle involved here and that you are highlighting the Tourist Court issue but surely there must be cases more deserving of your championing than this sex tourist who brought his troubles on himself by being an idiot?

    If there aren't, and this is the only case, then perhaps you shouldn't be giving so much coverage to a solicitor of prostitutes who clearly broke the law himself by depriving the prostitutes of their ID cards. If he kept the ID cards solely in order to make a complaint to the police why didn't he make the complaint there and then and not wait until the next day?

    1. Lancashirelad

      "…solicitor of prostitutes…"
      Interesting term. Can it be used here?
      I'm not sure, but don't think so.
      A prostitute can and does, of course, "solicit" customers.
      Not sure that the reverse applies though.
      But no matter Bob; we all know what you mean and, for what it's worth, I concur with your views.
      This chap was well out of order in: –
      (a) taking the I.D. cards off these women and;
      (b) thinking he could negotiate a refund for the bar fine from the bar management.
      That does NOT excuse the Thai authorities, however, for not checking carefully whether or not the man had a valid visa to remain in Thailand.
      And it would seem from this article that he did so have.

    2. Mark Berchowitz

      It is the policy of a number of establishments in Pattaya for ID cards of locals to be handed over prior to entering the premises as visitors with tourists or residents.

      In Thailand, a bar fine is seen as a form of security for both the customer and bar personnel. If the girl changes her mind during the night, the bar fine is returned to the customer. The girl is under no obligation after a bar fine to engage in sexual intercourse. – Wikipedia

      Upon leaving the premises 19 May after 22:39 at the Northpoint security gate, Mark asked the ladies to accompany him back to the bar to arrange for a refund or exchange with the bar. They went their separate ways.

      Cards were obtained since there were at least 3 prior crimes committed against Mark in Pattaya, where offenders were either not investigated or disappeared including i) group assault leaving a permanent indentation on the back of his skull, ii) identity theft, and iii) damage to property.


      At approximately 22:00, on 19 May en route from the bar back to the room, the Police ticketed Mark for not wearing a helmet and the ladies were permitted to pass.

      The officer informed Mark his Thai driving licence would be available at the Pattaya Police Station the following morning post 09:00 when the ticket was settled. Mark left Northpoint at 10:18, en route to the Station in the morning on 20 May to pay for the ticket and resolve the dispute.

  2. Author
    Andrew Drummond

    Well I think you have a valid point there. But the reason is this. As an exercise in following justice in the Pattaya system this is relatively easy. Whether he was legally in Thailand is a black and white issue. The records show he was legal. Now as a matter of face saving one reaction of the authorities would might be to throw dirt back. CCTV cameras and a computer programme which shows every time someone visits his apartment seem to preclude this. Thirdly Mr.Berchowtiz is not afraid to protest. Its an opportunity. It is unfortunate of course but I do not think the circumstances dictate a robbery by night charge. This site does not support sexual tourism as is plain to see. I am of course a little surprised like many that he believes there are any trading standards which apply to his predicament. But I believe the overriding issue takes precedence.

  3. Andrea Sisaran

    Thats great that the Thai police sre anxious to help tourists but their charging og 100 baht for a bottle of water is bar prices. If they were to maybe drop this to maybe 7/11 prices then I am sure the imsge of Thailand will be restored much quicker and parents wont need to worry about their kids being set up.raped or murdered anymore. The Thai police do a wonderful job and I am sure the world feels safer knlwing they will be there in our hour of need.
    After all. How long is it since someone hss been founf tied up in a cupboard with both hands tied behind their back. throat cut wit a bullet in their head with a recorded verdict of suicide?

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