Weekly Column

Sunbelt Asia Weekly Column 23 February 2018


Sunbelt Asia Weekly Column

23 February 2018

Legal status of street photography

Question 2:

What is the legal status of street photography in Thailand? I’m thinking specifically of hidden-camera, video photography. I’ve been told that it’s both legal and illegal! If this is legal, how might it become illegal? If it is illegal, why is there so much of it on the web (posted from outside Thailand, in particular)? I’m also interested in how legal the same hidden-camera, video photography is inside a freelancer bar, specifically one that does NOT have a “NO Photography” sign visible (like The Thermae…) I’ve seen someone quoting Thai law about how posting such pictures / video may constitute defamation of character, possibly criminal.

Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors responds:

The law allows pictures of unknown third parties in public places under certain conditions; the subject of the photo did not refuse or inform you that they do not wish to be part of the picture; the pictures would not affect their reputation. Also, if the photographers are not invading the subjects privacy for example taking a photo through a window or when a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. Finally, if there is nudity the photos are not legal.

If the photos fall within these guidelines the photographer can consider them personal property but if the photos are being used for commercial purposes the subjects of the photos would have a right to claim a share of the income from the use of the photos should they find out they are published for commercial purposes.

Sunbelt Asia offices will be closed on Thursday March 1 for the Buddhist holiday Makha Bucha Day. This is a public holiday and all government offices will be closed. Our offices will re-open on Friday, March 2.

Tourism revenues hit 189 billion baht in the first month of 2018 as over 3.54 million international tourists visited the country in January, an increase of 10.8% compared to January 2017. Of those 2.14 million were from East Asia, more than 900,000 from Europe and 811,000 from the United States, South Asia, Oceania, Middle East, and Africa. Tourist arrivals grew 10.87 percent year on year and South Asia showed the biggest increase, jumping 20.65 percent year on year. Domestic tourism also grew, generating 956.75 billion baht, an 8.38 percent increase over the previous year. For the entire year in 2017, tourism generated 2.78 trillion baht, up 10.51 percent from 2016.

A recent study by Google and Temasek shows that Thailand’s digital economy is predicted to 1.17 trillion baht or US$37 billion by 2025 with e-commerce sites and ride hailing constituting the major portion. The study forecasts Thailand’s digital economy reaching US$10 billion in 2017 as e-commerce and ride hailing both doubled their sizes from 2015. Thailand’s e-commerce value is projected reach US$11 billion in 2025, up 12 times from the level in 2015 of US$900 million, that number hit US$1.8 billion last year. Google predicts Thailand will have 20 million online shoppers by 2025. Online media and online travel are both predicted to continue their growth rates, reaching US$1.5 billion and US$5.5 billion respectively in 2025. By 2020 Thailand will have 59 million internet users, up from 38 million in 2015. Thailand recently came out as spending the most time on mobile internet in the world.

Thailand’s exports showed the fastest growth rate in five years as the country’s key markets showed higher purchase demand and the world trade recovery continued. Customs-cleared exports grew 17.6 percent year-on-year in January to US$20.1 billion, the highest increase since November 2012 driven in large part by cars and auto parts, computers and components, rubber products, plastic pellets, chemicals, finished oil, electrical circuitry, machinery and parts, steel and steel products. The latest Thai Industries Sentiment index showed a three-year high after several months of continuous growth, due in large part to infrastructure projects, increasing consumer confidence, and a rising global economy.

The National Economic and Social Development Board reported that 2017’s economy grew by 3.9 percent following a sustained rise in the GDP in the 4th quarter due to a rise in consumption and private sector investment. Agricultural sales grew by 6.2 percent a huge jump compared to 2016 which saw the in the red while exports reached a 6 year high, growing by 9.7 percent. The board predicts the GDP will grow between 3.6 4.6 percent.

The Thai government began accepting applications for the new Smart Visa this month, more details on Sunbelt Asia here:

Special offer on serviced officesWe are offering two types of serviced offices available at a special promotional deal

Office with space for two staff at 9,500 baht a month

Office with space for three staff at 11,000 baht a month

Happy anniversary from all of us at Sunbelt Asia!!
A “Thank you” gift for our clients new and old!

Sunbelt Asia has been offering our excellent service to our clients for 15 years! As our 15th anniversary gift we would like to offer our professional services on retirement and marriage visa extensions at the very special reduced rate of 7,500 baht as a thank you to our clients new and old for their support over the years.


Sunbelt Asia Legal Advisors can handle all your legal and business needs; from visas to work permits, prenuptial agreements to divorces, condo purchases and wills.

Be sure and contact our English speaking
legal advisors
for all your legal needs


We at Sunbelt Asia see many of our clients regularly ask us legal questions regarding living and running a business in Thailand. To help out we have set up a FREE Expert Answers for Your Questions in Thailand Facebook page;
Sunbelt Asia Facebook Expert Advice Page

Please feel free to contact us if you are in Thailand on (+66) 02-662-7004 to discuss any of these listings.

E-Commerce food & beverage site

This e-commerce site takes advantage of the booming online shopping trend in Thailand. Established 3 years ago this e-commerce food and beverage marketplace is ready for a keen buyer to grow even further. The current owners have already established many of the customers and vendors required to get the business growing but the opportunities in growing this business are huge.

The business has five employees with a total monthly payroll of 50,000 baht and the office rent on upper Sukhumvit is only 14,000 baht a month. Setting up an e-commerce site takes a great deal of time to grow the business and this business has broken even and is expected to start turning a profit next year as the hard work has already been done. Revenues last year reached 13.4 million baht; the business does not hold any stock but connects with the vendor who delivers to the customers directly.

ASKING PRICE: 5.5 million baht

Well-known, long running furniture company in great Sukhumvit location

This long-running furniture company has been in the business of importing and supplying modern classic furniture and lighting. In addition to a large showroom for retail sales to the public, the business also supplies furniture and lighting to many of the five star hotels, restaurants and property developments. The company is a mature, well-known brand in Thailand and has earned a top reputation in its ten years of business.

The showroom/warehouse/office is in a good location on upper Sukhumvit, the 1200sqm space has a 140,000 baht month a rent and a 6 year lease. There are ten full-time staff with monthly wages of 250,000 baht. There is a large database of active customers and the company is a regular exhibitor at many of the furniture fairs in Thailand.

Sales have reached an average of 25 million baht a year for the past 3 years, with yearly earnings of 5.8 million for the same period. Inventory valued at 4 million baht is included in the sale.

The owner is moving back home and so wishes to sell the business

ASKING PRICE: 16 million baht

Well-appointed spa in popular Sukhumvit hotel for rent

This beautiful spa is located in a popular and well regarded high end Sukhumvit hotel in a busy area with several other hotels as well as condo buildings. The large space is 135 sqm and has two rooms with two beds and two rooms with one bed each. All rooms have a shower for the customer. This spa is serene and beautifully decorated to ensure a quality experience for the guest. All equipment is included in the rental agreement. Five months deposit is required.

RENTAL PRICE: 100,000 baht a month

Small food shop in busy Rama 9 area

This charmingly decorated small shop is in a busy area filled with offices in the booming Rama 9 neighborhood. With a great location and near a Starbucks, this shop offers ready made snacks to go, spicy salad, salad rolls and more. There are also 8 seats for some eat in customers. The business has only just started and already sells 4,000 – 5,000 baht a day. A small franchise, this business is turn-key ready for someone looking to walk into a business that can easily grow.

Rental on the 10sqm shop is only 13,500 baht a month, great for this popular location. There are two staff with monthly wages of 24,000 baht.

ASKING PRICE: 880,000 baht

Design studio seeks investors

A top-quality design studio is seeking investors to help grow the company. Specializing in the design of lighting, acoustics, audio-visual, IT and security systems, this design consultancy has clients in Bangkok, South East Asia and the Middle East including several large projects including a contract valued at over 40 million baht. The owner of the business is seeking either a partner to grow the company or can sell outright to the right buyer.

The business has offices in central Bangkok with a monthly rent of 100,000 baht for the 100sqm space and has a highly qualified staff of 20 full time employees with a total monthly payroll of 1.2 million baht a month. The company has been in business for six years and has earned a good reputation for high quality lighting and AV designs, as well as security systems. The company is interested in opening new markets and offering new services.

There are three options for investment for joint venture:

OPTION 1: 25% for 400,000 USD

OPTION 2: 49% for 800,000 USD

OPTION 3:. 51% for 1,200,000 USD


Phuket fitness center with local and tourist customers

Set in the heart of the top tourist area of Phuket this fitness center has been open for a year and attracts both wealthy tourists staying at the many villas and hotels but also a core of local customers. The local Thai community has provided a strong market for the center as well.

The business includes a limited company that can provide work permits for two people, the business license, and includes all assets including the website and customer list as well as all fitness equipment and the fully fitted out gym. The company uses an accounting firm and a legal consult to manage all finances and legal matters for the company.

The business has been established for one year and has one full time and one part-time employee with a total monthly payroll of 30,000 baht. The lease on the building is 18,000 baht a month and expires in 2025. The owner invested 2.8 million in the business.

The owner is forced to sell as health issues keep him from managing the business full-time. A new owner can step right in and really grow this business even further with marketing and promotion.

ASKING PRICE: 2.5 million baht

Guesthouse, bar & motorcycle rental business in great Samui location

Located on the popular tourist destination of Bo Phut on Samui Island, this guesthouse and bar has been in business since 2013 and built up word of mouth for their friendly service. In addition to the guesthouse and bar the business also offers motorbike rentals bringing in a steady income.

The business brings in about 120,000 baht a month, with 75,000 baht coming from the bar, 30,000 baht from the rooms, and 15,000 baht from the bike rentals. Rent on the 420sqm building is only 15,000 baht on a 3 year renewable lease and there are three rooms for rent. Total costs average around 27,000 baht a month.

Included in the sale are all furniture, fixtures, and fittings, including televisions, and four motorbikes to rent out as well.

This is a great small business for a couple wanting to walk in to an already established business. The owner is selling as he is looking to take time off from working.

ASKING PRICE: 1.6 million baht

Long-running bar in popular Chaweng Beach location on Samui

This popular long-running bar on Koh Samui is located in the heart of Chaweng and has built up a good reputation over the years it has been open. Highly rated on Trip Advisor and with great word of mouth, this bar is one of the top nightlife destinations on Samui.

This fun bar can seat 40 and is open from 7:30 p.m. to 3 a.m. There are three full time dedicated employees with monthly wages of 37,300 baht per month. Rent on this top location is 560,000 baht a year or 46,666 baht per month and the lease expires in March 2019. This busy bar saw sales between 4.5 to 5.5 million baht in the last years with a net profit of 2.5 million baht.

The owner has owned the bar for more than ten years and is ready to retire and so is selling the business. This is a truly turn-key business. Walk in and take over a thriving bar in the heart of Chaweng.

ASKING PRICE: 1.5 million baht


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