Michigan man faces death penalty in Thailand for building seasteading home

24-Apr-2019 Intellasia | MLive | 6:38 AM Print This Post

A Michigan man is on the run and hiding from Thailand police as he and his girlfriend are wanted by the Thai government for violating that country’s sovereignty by building a floating home off the nation’s coast.

According to the Associated Press, Chad Elwartowski and his girlfriend, Supranee Thepdet,also known as Nadia Summergirlhave been charged by the Thailand Navy after they had been living on a small floating house anchored outside Thailand’s territorial waters. The seasteading home was approximately 12 nautical miles from shore.

Seasteading is a movement popular among those who wish to live free from the laws of countries by living in international waters. Elwartowski was living in a home built by a company known as Ocean Builders, which also picked the location.

“I was volunteering for the project, promoting it with the desire to be able to be the first seasteader and continue promoting it while living on the platform,” Elwartowski told the AP.

The company hoped to use the first house as proof that it worked and to sell more units based on that success.

However, Thailand officials say Elwartowski’s home threatened national security.

Rear Adm. Wintharat Kotchaseni told Thai media last week the floating house also posed a safety threat to navigation if it broke loose because the area is considered a shipping lane, the AP reports.

Elwartowski has documented part of the issue on his Facebook page, saying he did nothing wrong and asking for help. However, those pages have been removed. Elwartowski spoke with the AP last week about the issue.

“Being a foreigner in a foreign land, seeing the news that they want to give me the death penalty for just living on a floating house had me quite scared,” Elwartowski said. “We are still quite scared for our lives. We seriously did not think we were doing anything wrong and thought this would be a huge benefit for Thailand in so many ways.”

He went on to say he hopes his lawyer can hash out an agreement with the Thai government.

Elwartwoski graduated from Tecumseh High School in Tecumseh, MI and attended Michigan State University. In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, one of Elwartowksi’s sisters said her brother made a significant amount of money by being an early investor in Bitcoin.



Category: Thailand

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