Author Topic: Swede lives on streets of Bangkok ♦ allegedly swindled out of his life savings  (Read 949 times)

Offline thaiga

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Swedish tourist is homeless after being 'swindled' by a Thai woman

Lief Christer (Photo by Pemika Jiawong)

The story of a Swedish tourist who lost everything in a bar-girl swindle and lives hand-to-mouth on the streets of Bangkok because his embassy won't fly him home has drawn widespread public sympathy online with many people wanting to donate money to help him.

The pitiful existence of former chef Lief Christer, 45, became public after images of him sleeping on a footpath in the Soi Nana (Sukhumvit Soi 4) area went viral on the internet earlier this week. 

Mr Christer arrived in Thailand in May with his life savings of more than one million baht, hoping to settle down with an unidentified Thai woman whom he had met late last year. But the woman swindled him out of his money, leaving him with only his passport and a few belongings, according to Pemika Jiawong, 40, who has tried to help Mr Christer. 

He previously visited Thailand in November last year and January this year to stay with the woman at a condominium in Soi Nana. 

Ms Pemika said he could not ask for financial assistance from the Swedish Embassy to fly home because he had lost other documents. He had sought their help several times.

With no money and no resources, he has since been forced to live on the streets, using the footpath in the middle section of Soi Nana as his bed for the past few months.

Ms Pemika, who works at a pharmacy in the area, said she befriended Mr Christer after he tried to break into a condominium room in Nana where her colleague lived, a few months ago because he mistook it for the room of his girlfriend. He went there to ask for his money back from the woman, she said.

He was deceived by the woman — who is thought to work in a bar in Soi Nana — into thinking she lived in the room, Ms Pemika said. Mr Christer has not been able to make contact with her ever since.

“He wants to go home but has no money because he sold everything in Sweden to come here,” Ms Pemika said.

Mr Christer had tried to earn money by working as a hired hand and is reduced to begging with a tin can when he cannot make ends meet.

Ms Pemika described Mr Christer as a “nice person who does not want to trust anyone” after his nightmare relationship with the Thai woman. Ms Pemika said she and two colleagues take turns to visit him every night after they finish work so that Mr Christen can feel a bit better and can “release his depression”. The three women have to walk past him to reach their apartment nearby.

Mr Christer recently underwent an operation for a urinary bladder problem and still has to use a urine catheter.

The Swede worked as a chef in his hometown. He separated from his wife, with whom he has two children, five years ago.     

Ms Pemika said Mr Christer is reluctant to take money from her so she can only help by providing him with urine catheters and accompanying him after work. 

Sittipol Chuprajon, who runs the Mirror Foundation's "Patients on Streets" project, said he met Mr Christer on Aug 13 before his story became public and learned he did not want to be sent back to Sweden under immigration procedures because his parents had died and he had no relatives there. if picked up, he would be held in custody for a long time pending deportation. In addition, he did not want to be blacklisted and banned from re-entering Thailand.

Mr Sittipol said Mr Christer was “depressed and suspicious of strangers”.   

Mr Sittipol said he would contact the Swedish Embassy on Monday to ask about its policy of assisting Swedish citizens who face such harrowing circumstances as Mr Christer and seek details of his previous contacts.

Many internet users have expressed sympathy for the Swede and condemned the woman who deceived him. They have also criticised the Swedish Embassy for turning down his request for a plane ticket home, saying the man should receive help because he was swindled and has no intention of overstaying his visa.

They want to donate money to Mr Christer but have no idea where to start. Some have called the Mirror Foundation and other concerned agencies to launch a donation campaign so that people can help him.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.