World: Thai navy boards cabin of fugitive 'seasteaders' facing death penalty - PressFrom - US
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WorldThai navy boards cabin of fugitive 'seasteaders' facing death penalty

13:10  20 april  2019
13:10  20 april  2019 Source:   reuters.com

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Thai navy has accused him of breaching kingdom's sovereignty with sea home. He claims the platform is 13 nautical miles from shore and in international waters. ' Seasteaders ' Bitcoin Girl Thailand and Chad Elwartowski enjoying the golden beaches of Thailand . The kingdom has accused the coupe of

The Seasteading Institute is a nonprofit think-tank promoting the creation of floating ocean cities as a revolutionary solution to some of the world’s most pressing problems: rising sea levels, overpopulation, poor governance, and more… What Do Seasteaders Want? We want free seas .

Thai navy boards cabin of fugitive 'seasteaders' facing death penalty© Reuters/HANDOUT Floating home is pictured in the Andaman Sea, off Phuket island

BANGKOK (Reuters) - The Thai navy on Saturday boarded the floating cabin of a fugitive U.S. bitcoin trader and his Thai girlfriend, both prominent members of the "seasteading" movement who possibly face the death sentence for setting up their offshore home.

Thai authorities have revoked the visa of American citizen Chad Elwartowski and have charged him and his partner, Supranee Thepdet, with violating Thai sovereignty by raising a small cabin on top of a weighted spar 14 nautical miles off the west-coast of Thai island of Phuket.

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Photograph: Royal Thai Navy Handout/EPA. An American bitcoin entrepreneur could be facing the death penalty after Thailand ’s navy accused him of The structure, which was rooted to the floor but could be floated to new waters , was placed in the sea near Racha Yai island in Thailand in February

The couple could face life imprisonment or the death penalty under the country's Immigration Act, but authorities told CNN they are unaware if the pair are still in the country The Thai Navy had previously posted a video of the home on Facebook, writing that "the navy is required to resolve the problem."

The cabin has been promoted as "the world's first seastead" by the group Ocean Builders, part of a movement in tech and libertarian circles to build floating communities beyond the bounds of nations as a way to explore alternative societies and governments.

"I was free for a moment. Probably the freest person in the world," Elwartowski posted on his Facebook on April 13, days before the Thai navy raided his floating home.

Elwartowski, 46, and Supranee, whose Facebook page describes her as a "Bitcoin expert, Trader, Chef, seastead Pioneer", apparently fled after a surveillance plane flew over the cabin the previous day.

The Royal Thai Navy task force had planned on Saturday to seize the structure and tow it back to shore for use as evidence, but by the afternoon it was still studying how to move it without destroying it, the navy said.

Thailand says US man's seasteading home violates sovereignty

Thailand says US man's seasteading home violates sovereignty Thai authorities have raided a floating home in the Andaman Sea belonging to an American man and his Thai partner who sought to be pioneers in the "seasteading" movement, which promotes living in international waters to be free of any nation's laws. Thailand’s navy claims they endangered national sovereignty, an offense punishable by life imprisonment or death.

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Thailand , as of 2018, is one of 58 nations that retains capital punishment. Of the 10 ASEAN nations, only Cambodia and the Philippines have outlawed it. Thailand retains the death penalty , but rarely employs it.

In a video posted last month detailing the raising of the floating home, Elwartowski said 20 more similar houses would be up for sale to form a community.

Elwartowski and Ocean Builders say the spar was in international waters and beyond Thailand's jurisdiction. Thai authorities say the structure is in its 200-mile exclusive economic zone and therefore a violation of its sovereignty.

A Thai navy task force was sent out on Saturday to tow in the structure which will be handed over to Phuket's police to be kept as an exhibit for the legal action, the navy said in an official statement.

"EXCITED VOLUNTEERS"

The navy said they have evidence that the floating home was built in a private boatyard in Phuket and said the couple wanted to establish a "permanent settlement at sea beyond the sovereignty of nations by using a legal loophole".

It said the action "reveals the intention of disobeying the laws of Thailand as a littoral state and could lead to a creation of a new state within Thailand's territorial waters... undermining Thailand's national security as well as economic and social interests of maritime nations."

Thai navy tows floating home of fugitive U.S. 'seasteader'

Thai navy tows floating home of fugitive U.S. 'seasteader' Thai navy tows floating home of fugitive U.S. 'seasteader'

Thailand 's navy says an American man and his Thai girlfriend have threatened national sovereignty by living in a floating "seastead" home off the coast. Thailand ’s government says the two seasteaders were living as a micro-nation inside its sovereign territory in violation of the country’s criminal code.

A US man and his Thai partner could face the death penalty after a home they lived on in the Andaman However, Thailand 's navy claimed the couple "endangered national sovereignty" by living on the They added that Mr Elwartowski was a fugitive of Thailand , and has had his visa revoked

In an email reply to Reuters, Elwartowski referred all questions to the Seasteading Institute and pointed to online statements from the Ocean Builders website.

Elwartowski and Supranee are members of Ocean Builders, which has denied allegations that they were planning to set up an independent state or "micro nation", according to its online statement.

The group said that the pair, both active bitcoin investors, did not build, invest in or design the floating home themselves but were "volunteers excited about the prospect of living free", documenting their lives as "pioneer seasteaders" off the coast of Phuket.

The U.S. Embassy in Bangkok told Reuters that Elwartowski had engaged a lawyer and was being provided with appropriate assistance.

According to Ocean Builders, the concept of "seasteading" has been discussed for years but the cabin Elwartowski and Supranee lived on was the first attempt at living in what it described as international waters.

Other groups, such as the Seasteading Institute, which was originally backed by PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, have sought to build floating cities with the cooperation of host nations.

(Reporting by Juarawee Kittisilpa and Panu Wongcha-um. Editing by Kay Johnson and Nick Macfie)

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