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Famous Thai Woman sues government in Great Britain

 

Sunday 17th April 2011 9:56pm

Thai Bride pressed wrong internet button

A Thai women with society connections has become a Thai Chat show star and her book a bestseller after her marriage to a Scottish man hit the rocks.

The story of Konokrat Nimsamoot Booth and her elderly kilt maker husband Dennis Booth is already well known to Thai women in Thailand contemplating a foreign husband but it is about to get more serious as lawyers for Mrs. Booth are taking her case to the European Court of Human Rights and UN Commission for Human Rights over her treatment last year at Glasgow Airport by British authorities.

On the face of it the Thai woman may well have a case. Konokrat was arrested at Glasgow Airport, held overnight in a Police holding cell after British Immigration authorities summarily cancelled her residency permit after a phone call with he Scottish husband who told them that the marriage was over (even though they were not divorced). She was also accused of having an affair with a Maltese waiter who was waiting to collect her at the airport. Konokrat was questioned extensively about her travels without her husband. Mrs. Booth says that the man was a boyfriend of a friend who agreed to meet her after he husbands said he was too busy at work. She strenuously denies ever having an affair.

Konokrat Nimsamoot Booth was no stereotypical Thai Bride and highlights the complex nature and new dangers relationships between Thai women and foreign men. Konokrat was a university graduate who had been a crime reporter of one of Thailand's leading daily newspaper, a magazine editor, government official and was a person of high standing in Thailand. Since her ordeal she has received overwhelming support in Thailand including from many in high places.

Konokrat is pursuing her case at the highest level against the British authorities although a tribunal in the Britain has upheld the decision of the Immigration authorities to revoke her permit on the grounds that the marriage was over. She is angry at the way she was treated by Immigration officials: 'My husband knew I was coming back but he said he could not pick me up at the airport because of his work,' she says. In a press interview she was visibly angry at the actions of officials who placed her in a holding cell and refused her requests for a Doctor after having an anxiety attack. She says that Thai officials at Suvarnabhumi Airports were shocked on her return after hearing of the treatment saying: 'We never thought that could happen to you.'

Konokrat's story began after she tried internet dating for the first time.'I met Dennis after joining an internet dating service for a laugh. An actress friend had joined the site, but wanted to stop. So I agreed that she could put my photograph up instead,' she said. 'Dennis wrote to me and we began a correspondence. I had been married but divorced in 1999. I had two young boys, one autistic. Dennis was also divorced with two daughters. I thought why not? We appeared to have a few things in common.'

Dennis visited Thailand and Konokrat says that she borrowed friends Mercedes and treated the Scotsman like a king. 'I could get him special prices and even free accommodation in the best resorts,' she said. After they became engaged she visited him in Scotland. 'I did not need him to sponsor me. I went on a tourist visa because I am a Thai journalist but also at the time I was working on E-procurement for the Thai government, so I had no problem getting a visa from the British Embassy.'

The couple was married in Galashiels in Scotland in April 2008 after a marriage blessing in Thailand. 'I told him I would need to get a job in Scotland so I could send money home, but that I could write for Thai magazines for extra money.' However Konokrat says that this was not possible as her Scottish husband wanted to set off on holidays to Europe particularly Greece. Her husband agreed to give her an allowance each month ($400) to send home for her children. After this her husbands business experienced difficulties and Konokrat stayed at his home in Scotland. 'I cooked him his breakfast and prepared his evening meals. Then normally when he came back in the evening he would drink with a neighbour while I watched television upstairs.

'I wanted to work, no matter what. I told him I could work at Tesco's, or even wait at a Thai restaurant.' However Konokrat said Dennis didn't want his wife working like that. She also says that her husband began to suspect her of having an affair when she sought out Thai friends.

Konokrat said he husband once demanded her e-mail account password and he used it to send out e-mails that were unfavorable about her. The couple traveled often between Thailand and Scotland but an incident occurred on holiday in August 2009 which spelt trouble for the relationship. 'We went on a sailing holiday in Greece. He really wanted me to sit in the sun on the deck or on the beach with him, but of course Thais do not do that. We stay out of the hot sun. We got back home to Scotland and he returned to Greece and Turkey without me and I went back to Thailand to see my children. I expected him to join me for Christmas but he never came, saying he had problems with his business.' There then followed a dispute over an airline ticket and Konokrat returned to Britain but stayed with friends there. Later in May last year, on another trip, the incident took place where she was held by British Immigration authorities.

Despite everything that has happened Konokrat is not bitter with her husband: 'He is a good man. He just does not understand Thai culture' Her anger seems to be directed to the UK authorities.'It is appalling that officers can accuse me of having an affair and that is all agreed without going through the judicial process. I have just been treated like a prostitute.' She attributes the problem in her marriage to cultural differences. 'I believe cultural differences were at the heart of our problem. In Thailand we have freedom not available abroad. It is not a good life sitting home all day and I would prefer working than to be on holiday all the time.' However Konokrat's current status means that she encounters difficulties in Thailand. 'As a result of my marriage I have lost all my rights in Thailand. Thai law dictates that I must have my husbands signature if I buy a house or take out a loan. Dennis will not give me a divorce and I cannot go to the British courts to apply. He says he is not going to waste his money.'

Now Konokrat's book 'Miracle of Love - my husband came from the wrong button' is a best seller in Thailand. 'The sub title of my book 'My husband comes from the wrong button' is what Dennis said to me during our relationship. He says he clicked the wrong button on the internet and unfortunately got me.'

The preface to her books was written by a former Ombudsman in Thailand Theeradet Meepian who wrote: 'How many people dare reveal their own mistakes to help protect people from making the same mistake themselves? May her good intention, to give warning lessons to other Thai women, be accomplished.' Konokrat's lawyer Namchai Rithampi from Thailand's Royal Council said 'My concern is less about marriage issues, but more about human rights. We believe she was deprived of them and that is the issue to be resolved.'

This is not Konokrat's first book. Konokrat is also the author of 'I am She Daeng's child' which is a book about the plight of the wife and daughter of the red shirt general who was shot dead during Bangkok's deadly riots last year.

In addition to her legal action she has also started an organisation to assist spouses involved in foreign relationships and is expected to get government funding.

Meanwhile Dennis Booth denies that he discouraged his wife from working in Scotland and says that the marriage ended after she avoided his attempts to contact her while traveling around Europe. He says that he has no objection to straightforward divorce and is disappointed with the portrayal of the marriage.

A spokesman for the British Border Agency was also stranding firm in defence of their actions: 'The decision to revoke Mrs. Booth's right to stay in the UK were given to her at the time in line with agency policy. The case has been carefully reviewed by an immigration judge who upheld the agency's decision.'

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Thai Bride sues Great Britain
A high profile Thai Woman whose foreign marriage to a Scotsman hit the rocks is taking a case against Great Britain after being held by Immigration authorities at Glasgow Airport in Scotland.
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