I Went To The Expat Club For Advice – Now I Am Broke & Working In A Rice Field

 Briton Malcolm Leggett, 60, is working a rice paddy in Northern Thailand. He lost almost everything. But the cruelest cut of all came, he says, after he went to the President of the local Pattaya Expats Club for advice – A Flying Sporran Enquiry

This is 60-yr-old Malcolm Leggett. He used to be wealthy. Now he’s broke and toiling in the rice paddies in North East Thailand just for the roof over his head and food on his plate.
Why?  ‘Because I took advice from the Chairman of the Pattaya ExPats Club,’ he says.

Malcolm was a successful businessman, running M.J. Leggett Builder-Carpenter, in New Milton, Hampshire. He was happily married, it seems, for 17 years before he and his Thai wife arrived back in Thailand in 2004 and settled in Pattaya where they already had a home ready. 
With a £500,000 nest egg from his work and the sale of two houses the couple began to operate a building business there.

He built nine houses and an apartment block of 30 apartments. But, as can happen, the marriage soured. His wife Orapin who had taken over the finances, then, he says, warned him ‘ to get out of town’ and, in her words, he had now ‘lost everything’.

In desperation he turned to the Pattaya Expats Club, run by Scandinavian colourful ‘businessman’ Niels Colov, owner of the Pattaya People newspaper and television station, and the former President of two Pattaya Rotary Clubs.

Not surprisingly he felt secure amongst other expats at their meetings in the city’s Grand Sole hotel and at the recommendation of the club he went to see Mr. Colov at the office of his Pattaya People at 20/15 Soi Town in Town, Pattaya, with his problem.
Niels Colov, he said, then passed him on to his ‘wife’ Laddawan Yingyong to handle the Thai legal side of his problem.
Laddawan was the registered editor of the Pattaya People and on the ‘Board of Trustees’ of the Pattaya Expats Club.

‘She asked me about my income and I said I had none, but I had some cash reserves.  She said that for my own safety I should transfer the money to her, or our joint account, which we would set up, to stop my wife making a claim on it,” said Mr. Leggett.

‘I  agreed to use the cash to start a money lending business which she would operate.

“I trusted them completely. The Pattaya Expat Club is there to advise foreigners how to deal with local problems… to warn of us of local problems”.
By the time he had finished Mr. Leggett claims he had handed over 3.85 million baht to Laddawan to manage for her, all of which has now disappeared.

She said she had lent the cash out. But the only ‘borrower’ he could find in their money lending business, said Mr.Leggett, was Laddawan.  She has not given any details of what she did with the money.

Even a Ford Ranger pick-up truck, which she said she was buying for him and which was registered to the address of the ‘Pattaya People’  newspaper’s address, he said, was repossessed after she stopped making  the 11,000 baht monthly repayments.

He paid 50,000 baht to Laddawan for a lawyer, he said, and got inflated bills from her for services rendered, such as 5000 baht for translating a letter, and 3000 baht for a company search in Chonburi, but the lawyer complained he did not receive a penny. So he had to start again.

Despite calls, emails, and even personal appearances at the Pattaya People, Mr. Leggett said he has had no response.  Mr. Colov, he said, evenutally banned him from his office, because he was going around there so often.

Since then Mr. Leggett has been awarded some 6 million baht, plus interest, in a divorce settlement over his nine houses and home, but his wife has appealed and the cash is locked.
It was hardly a half share, he says. But his wife, he said, produced evidence of an affair he was started six months after she kicked him out and his lawyer failed to get across the reality of the situation.
Meanwhile she has sold the nine houses.
Malcolm Leggett is now also going to court over his 30 room apartment block – Orchid Apartments -which brings in a revenue of about 100,000 baht a month, none of which he is seeing, and which his lawyer had failed to include in the divorce settlement proceedings. 

Home  a long way away from home -Malcolm’s temporary home in Isaan
He cannot of course pay the lawyer until he wins and he lives out his frugal life in with his girlfriend’s family in an his Isaan house on stilts with the proviso that he works for his supper.

He has provided bank documentation, receipts for cash deposited and last July Mr.Leggett took them and finally filed a report alleging theft with Pattaya Police.
 Laddawan Yingyyong, he said, failed to turn up for three pre-arranged appointments at the police station and police did nothing else.

Police Statement
Her husband is also known for his role as chief of the Foreign Police Volunteers at the Beach Road Soi 9 Station(below right)

Meanwhile Mr. Niels Colov has not replied to allegations sent to him .

But when we contacted Laddawan Yingyong she admitted that she owed cash to Mr.Leggett but said she was unable to repay.
“I lent the money to people and they won’t give me the interest back or anything.
“But its not as much as 3.8 million baht.
“This is nothing to do with Niels. He is a man of honour. He fired me from my job and we separated when he found out about this and we are living apart although we have children together.
“Maybe this will get better next year. Maybe he will help.”
But an hour later she rang back to say:”What’s the problem with foreigners in Pattaya?
” Why are they always cheating each other? Mr.Leggett threatened my and my family. He threatened us twice. I am going to make a complaint.”
Malcolm Leggett strongly denies ever making any threats and he said it was clear to him that the last time he was in Pattaya Laddawan and Niels Colov had NOT separated.
“Yes she told me she lent the money to people who would not pay her back but she would not show me any paper work at all showing who she had lent it to.
“Mr.Colov just shouted saying ‘Its nothing to do with me!’. But it was of course, and if he was a gentlemen he would have tried to sort this matter out.”

Mr.Leggett’s contract with Laddawan
Meanwhile Malcolm is hoping that Barry Upton former member of the group ‘Brotherhood of Man’  who works  for Mr. Colov as his star DJ and  television presenter, might intercede and help.

‘I remember Brotherhood of Man. It was easily listening as I hammering away on houses back home,
“Barry seems a nice chap, perhaps if he reads this, he could put in a word for me to Mr. Colov.’
Well if Barry cannot help sit back anyway and enjoy Barry singing ‘Pattaya Wonderland’ courtesy of Pattaya People – and The Blues Factory.

 * Mr.Leggett is immaculately dressed in white at the beginning of his day in the paddy field. He probably does not look quite so smart at the end. The ‘Flying Sporran’ had flown off by this stage.
Below: A spat between Pattaya Editors.
Below: Niels Colov’s Pattaya People claims Drew Noyes’ Pattaya Times makes up stories and interviews. And another policeman denies a Pattaya Times interview.

In the interests of fairness Noyes made all sort of dastardly allegations against Neil Colov before they married.
So I should point out that on the front page of the Pattaya People website there is an advert for fellow ex Rotary Club President Richard Haughton’s company TPME, which links to Emerald Palace condos currently under investigation.
Mr.Colov, who heavily promoted TPME’s various properties, has two units at Lake Villas in Pattaya but more of that to come.
This site provides full right of reply on any subject tackled, legal considerations permitting.

51 thoughts on “I Went To The Expat Club For Advice – Now I Am Broke & Working In A Rice Field

  1. Beats me completely why anyone would want to exchange their business commonsense in beautiful Hampshire for such a scuzzy & jerry-built fantasy-world expat ghetto like Pattaya. Malcolm probably does need his brains examined.

  2. Barry still appears to churning out sickly-sweet pap. He should take a leaf out of Pete Waterman's book and reinvent himself as a stay-at-home trainspotter.

  3. Oh dear and the moral of the tale is?
    Strikes me if it wasn't Colov's wife who had compounded this chap's misery it would have been someone else.
    Divorce is bad enough but investing one's business and life's savings in the hands of a Thai wife in Thailand must surely rank as one of the most dangerous things a falang man can do.
    Knowing the Thai and their propensity for deceit it is quite credible Colov was ignorant of his wife's fraud and its extent. Not sure what I would do if it were my wife and I was subsequently informed of her scam. Boot her out and risk losing an interest in one's own matrimonial property rights? Not really surprised he is reported as saying it had nothing to do with him.
    But for the grace of God go all of us.

  4. Whilst you can feel sorry for a man who has lost everything the first part is hardly newsworthy. The wife has taken the assets as they were doubtless in her sole name as he could not legally own them in Thailand. This has happened countless times over the years and any man who builds a house in his partner's name should be prepared to lose it. The second part is about a loan sharking business with non-existent records and a flimsy story about where the cash has gone. It demonstrates why you should not give your life savings to someone who wants to operate as a loan shark. Why is it that a ""successful businessman"" left his brain at home and just brought his body to Pattaya?

  5. The story is not really about his wife. I think you rather missed the point Jules. If someone has been President of the Rotary (twice) and the President of the Expat Club which is created to help expats this is the sort of person one might reasonably to go to for help if one was conned in Thailand and did not know better.His wife who did the hands on dealing was on the Board of Trustees of the Expat Club and Editor of the local paper. Is it possible you read past these points? 🙂
    I also find it very boring that some people find that trusting types of people are just twits and seem very quick to point it out.

  6. Oh dear, this poor chap could now be arrested for working illegally in a rice field.

    Another horror story and more proof the Pattaya foreigner clubs are knowingly providing marks for cons. One similar club has just opened on Phuket, wonder if it is the same gang, or modus operandi ?

    AD please explain to us all what on earth a Flying Sparron is?

  7. Oh Dear,poor chap could be arrested for volunteering without a work permit…

    Oh,…those [ italics needed] Flying Sparrons.

    Well I want to be in that club for sure !!

  8. Becoming a money lender in Thailand after having been ripped off doesn't exactly sound like the right decision to make. And so it wasn't.

  9. The perfect scam, con someone into investing in a money lending business and then borrow the money and not pay it back.. With a non-enforcable business partner agreement for what is an illegal non-licenced business. There probably isn't a lot that can be done about this one.. Very Clever and not something I would be fooled into doing, but we are talking about a ""so-called"" respected businessman here aren't we?

  10. He's not been paid. He's a volunteer.

    The flying sporran is what it is. A flying sporran.J. K. Rowland's Hogwarts was of course based on the Abbey on Loch Ness


    and in the original manuscripts quiddich was played with a 'Flying Sporran'. (Haggrid was a Scots ghillie) To be hit by a 'Flying Sporran' meant of course not only were you thrown out of the game but also you had to do three penances to the 'Lord of the Isles' (a ghost of one in the 17th century) or you were cursed with a lifetime of bad luck. Of course the film had to anglicised so we are all made to think it happened in the Lake District. But they still had to use the West Highland Railway for the Hogwarts Express.

  11. Regardless of this gentleman's business sense or lack thereof, Colov, pillar of respectable Pattaya society that he is, should have been a million miles away from this.

  12. It seems everyone’s ""friend"" Mr Drew Noyes of Pattaya Times is making more friends. Not only has he pissed off a great many people ""in high places"" he now seems to be on some kind of self destruction campaign. Mr Noyes has become about as popular as George Bush Jnr at a Quakers convention. Memo: To Mr Noyes: It is not a good idea to piss people off in Thailand for any reason and it certainly is not a good idea to piss off the Pattaya police chief. Generally, if you are lucky, it usually means a window seat often never to return to the Land of Scams or Sin City. Clean up your act Mr Noyes. Lest you find yourself residing at the Bangkok Hilton {and I don't mean hotel} or worse, Kansas City USA.

  13. Andrew,

    I did not miss the point of his new business partner holding herself out as being a trustworthy pillar of society within the circle of a group of Pattaya residents who are trading on their media ""empires"" and associations for credibility.
    The point I was making was that this was a poor business decision with dubious aims which has gone awry. Is it particularly newsworthy?
    ""Trusting"" people seem to be 10 a penny in Pattaya. If he had stayed in Hampshire would this have happened to him?

  14. I find it remarkable that the focus is on the Baht 3.7m lost in a scam and not the loss of his real fortune (ten times this amount!). I am inclined to agree with some of the commentary here that the man is a fool and may have been better advised to retain some asset coverage in his country of birth. The amazing scam here is how his wife played the long game and fleeced him!

  15. Jules, I agree that this poor guy was headed for a fleecing and there is nothing newsworthy about that. What IS newsworthy is that it was Colov with his wife, in his capacity as a community leader, who ended up taking him to the cleaners. I confess that I get a small measure of satisfaction every time I hear that some fool has lost all of his money to his Thai wife. That's the job of many of these women, and if a guy is stupid enough to entrust his money to her, he deserves it. But it's an entirely different — and newsworthy — matter when an expat is ripped off by a fellow expat who happens to be the founder of the Expat's Club, past president of Rotary, media mogul, tourist police chief and confidant of politicians.

  16. Swede's video is worth checking out, he doesn't name names, but it's not too hard to work out who it is… And who's the Australian? Can we get the Sporran on the case please?

  17. Ah The Idle Rich Elite and their Minions in the Media.They would seek to make Peasants of us all.Be of stout heart Mr Leggett tis honest toil you do as a son of the soil.And perhaps be gladdened of body and mind.Because you can truly claim to be out standing in your field.UNLIKE Mr Colov.

  18. Whilst i agree that this guy probably was a tad naive, but he is not the first and wont be the last to fall foul of a Thai lady when she has the scent of money. Although if he was married to her for 17 years he probably and with some justification felt he could trust her. But this is totally irrelevant to the second scam. It is appalling that he went to the Expat Club for advice and was cheated in this way. What is the motto of the Expat Club, ""Expats helping expats?"" Expats helping themselves is more like it. After all if the poor guy went to the founder and leader of the expat club, a leader of the police volunteers, newspaper publisher etc, surely he was entitled to feel he could trust this man. Now it appears he has lost nearly 4 million baht, a not inconsiderable sum, to these scumbags. So the fragrant Ms Laddawan ""lent"" someone else's money and shrugs her shoulders and says "" sorry, but i cant get it back"". Not my problem. Outrageous. However i fear that Mr Colov seems to be pretty much untouchable in Pattaya, he has ingratiated himself with some powerful people.But keep on banging away Andrew, i do admire your courage in taking on these people on behalf of their victims. You are doing a sterling job.

  19. Wat Tyler: You must be exciteable today. You have posted under several different names. Can we sort of restrict you to two or three

    🙂 If you are unhappy with your original

    Wat Tyler lost too!

  20. Friend of Simon Cowell: Barry Upton is an innocent party here so no personal attacks please. We need his help.

    On the other hand I have just listened to that song again.

  21. Rob Roy and Will Smith,
    That his wife decided to leave him and take all the assets in her name is hardly unusual in the world.
    I am perturbed that you both seem to link it to being Thai and automatically assume that she spent 17 years planning a scam.
    This situation is hardly unique worldwide and asset division after divorce is a bitter business.

  22. Love the headline in the current Pattaya Times: Foreigner on Foreigner Crime Escalates.
    Noyes certainly has an ironic sense of humour!

  23. Jules: I think you will find that while many marriage break ups can be acrimonious what happens in Thailand can is often completely different to what happens back home. Death is not an uncommon result and threats of it are very common. Thats's why people seek help from expat clubs.

  24. Andrew sorry for the undeserved attack on baritone Barry unlike my friend Mr Cowell I am not a good judge of musical talent.Please assure Mr Upton as a sign of contrition I will be saving all my kisses for him.

  25. I hope that investment opportunity is made public on all the scam buster, noyeswatch sites etc with links after it to all of their associated misfortunes.

  26. Why would you use an MSN email account when the newspaper has its own website and can have 1000 email accounts?
    Also i have been told that after a recent courtcase loss of a large amount of money he is doing a moonlight move to the phillipines. Rumors are he has sold the newspaper but not yet transferred the registration?
    Is this true? i do not know but someone may do.

  27. So we In Vest and lose the Shirt off our back.Riches to Rags thanks to the Brothers Grimm.A fairy tale with a far from happy ending.Mr Colov wants our money for nothing so perhaps Mr Noyes can get his chicks for free.Leaving us the ones in Dire Straits.That would be music to their ears.But this fiddle is playing a tune we sadly by now know all too well.Thanks to Andrew we are marching to the beat of a different Drummond.

  28. Thank you Grant for your lengthy critical appraisal of my comments.Point taken though.In future I will try to pull my pun-ches a bit more. Sadly Mr Leggett is forced daily to be far more laboured.And could I imagine certainly use a lighter touch to ease his aching bones at the end of the working day.

  29. Quote, ""This is nothing to do with Neils, he is a man of honour"". I must confess this had me scratching my head in bewilderment for a while. Then the penny dropped, of course Ms Yingyong must be referring to the honour Mr Colov ( sorry i mean Sir Neils) received from The Knights of Rizal in The Philipines. I believe he received the knighthood in recognition of his superb interviewing skills on Pattaya People Television which never fail to leave me open mouthed in wonder. I am amazed that The BBC haven't head hunted him to front Newsnight when Jeremy Paxman goes on vacation.

  30. Nothing to do with this topic i know, but yesterday Thaivisa started a thread on the Pattaya forum about the Emerald Palace real estate scam. One of the posters gave a link to your site Andrew, the link was on for a while but was then removed. The moderator claimed it was potentially defamatory! How can a link to another site make them liable for any legal action? What is going on here? Are Thaivisa being leaned on, vested interests, who knows? Using this logic, Google would never be out of the law courts!

  31. Nothing to do with defamation Robroy.I am pretty well up on defamation laws have been in this game for 40 years, more than 20 here.
    More likely because I took the piss for Thaivisa hosting a Noyes legal seminar!
    Cant find the forum – can u give me a link? 🙂

  32. Hi Andrew. It is on Thaivisa pattaya forum in Pattaya news clippings at the top of the page. The subject is entitled 'Pattaya foreigners demand consumer protection'. Hope this is of some help. You are in good company, i have had a couple of posting suspensions myself, sometimes just cant resist trying to educate the buggers!

  33. This is an amusing find regarding Niels Colov:
    ""Following the beach visit I met the famous media mogul Niels Colov and got a whole hour with him where he talked about, among other things the expats club and the laws governing associations in Thailand. Niels is the owner of the Pattaya People newspaper. He has also started a TV station and a radio station. Niels is also chairman of the International Expats club. Niels has many positions of trust here in Pattaya to his credit. Niels was a former officer in the intelligence and security services in Denmark, which I myself was in Sweden until my retirement.""

    It's part of a text in this swedish blog by Ulf Larsson:

    I've translated it since I assume not everybody is comfortable reading swedish.

    Niels Colov as a retired danish MI5/MI6 officer – Who would have thought that?

    Can he really be the registered owner of the Pattaya People newspaper?

  34. Lived in Thailand for a few years, Know Niels and Drew very well.
    They say, How to make a small fortune in Thailand ? First arrive with a large fortune.
    BUYER BEWARE. Your in the real world.
    Love Drew and Neils to bits and have many wonderful times. But I would not do business with them, They are survivors.

  35. Even with a Court judgement its hard to enforce if she cannot pay. I have seen where a Belgian friend lent 450,000 baht to a German—never got nothing back, had a signed legal contract, went to court, judge said yes this guy owes the other, must pay monthly–never paid anything as he had no money–never enforced there on. Normally in such circumstances the money has disappeared, Colov's wife has hidden or spent,so what can one do, basically nothing. He has no funds to pay lawyers so they will slow down. Be it a warning giving any money to anyone—easy to give hard to get back.Unfortunately many have been tricked by wives, friends etc in the land of smiles.The Pattaya expat club attracts some who are tops in their grades— why are they here??

  36. Malcolm, my best advise to you is to go home. Working in Thailand on a rice field is not allowed and you will soon find your self in jail. With no money you could get yourself in more serious trouble. Uk embassy should be able to help you out with a return ticket to the UK. ( you will of course need to pay this back later on)

    As always, going into business in Thailand is extremely risky especially for foreigners, and if something goes wrong its almost impossible to get proper justice as the law seems to sway on the side of Thais.

    Thailand of course is a great place to come as a Tourist but other stuff forget it. I hear so many sad stories of foreigners loosing everything I have lost count.

  37. To: Andrew Drummond, email: andrew@andrew.local
    Dear Andrew Drummond,
    I am puzzled as to what your "reason" is to keep on attacking me with various false allegations on your http://www.andrew.local website.
    I once took the time to explain in details why your allegations were false, but you disregarded my explanation, and just kept repeating again and again the same falsehoods.
    What is your real "reason" for defaming me – I wonder?
    Niels Colov
    Email: info@pattayapeople.com

  38. Once again Mr. Colov please state which allegations are false and if it is so they will be removed and I will publicly apologise. I printed your last letter in full as requested. I also corrected two issues you raised. But as some people pointed out your letter did appear quite contradictory. I have no issue with you personally. We have hardly conversed much. We have had no issues against each other. You have stated that I have misrepresented your past in Denmark, but this comes from court records. If you are saying these records and your associations which you put up on your own Facebook page are 'false' you should say so.
    My only interest are public welfare and public interest issues in Pattaya – and that it becomes a safer place for foreigners, to live, do business, whatever.

  39. This is very odd…
    Money lending is illegal in Thailand unless you are a certified bank…
    So Laddawan's proposition to Malcolm is illegal. Both Laddawan and Mr. Colov should be aware of this!

  40. […] I Went To The Expat Club For Advice – Andrew DrummondDec 5, 2011 … ‘Because I took advice from the Chairman of the Pattaya ExPats Club,’ … The Pattaya Expat Club is there to advise foreigners how to deal with … […]

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