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Thailand Has Message for Pair in Hiding Over 'Sea Home'

'Fight the case'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2019 10:44 AM CDT
This April 13, 2019, photo provided by Royal Thai Navy shows a floating home lived in by an American man and his Thai partner in the Andaman Sea, off Phuket island, Thailand.   (Royal Thai Navy via AP)

(Newser) – Chad Elwartowski and his girlfriend remain in hiding, possibly in Thailand, after that country's government accused them of building a "sea home" that violates the country's sovereignty. It's a charge that can carry a death sentence, and on Friday, a Thai official urged the couple to get a lawyer and "fight this case." The deputy provincial governor of Phuket tells Reuters "we are not threatening them." Elwartowski, an American bitcoin investor, has been making his case on Facebook, where he on Thursday posted a map showing the GPS coordinates of nearby land and the sea home. "This proves that the seastead was outside of Thailand territorial waters. The law Nadia and I are accused of violating (which carries a death sentence) only applies in Thailand's territory and within it's [sic] territorial waters."

He links to a longer technical post from the Ocean Builders group that he's a part of. The group elaborates in a second post: The sea home "is clearly outside the 12 miles-zone. Here are the coordinates: 7.487162, 98.581792. Everybody can check this on his or her own." The sea home in question was the first built by Ocean Builders and has been up since February. Elwartowski claims he did not construct it and lived in it for just a few weeks. CNN credits Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel with getting the "seasteading" movement off the ground in 2008 when he co-founded the Seasteading Institute. That group is in talks with French Polynesia about putting up homes in its territorial waters. (Read more Thailand stories.)

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