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The Thai navy has boarded the floating cabin of a fugitive American Bitcoin investor and his girlfriend after they were warned they could face the death penalty for setting up their offshore home.
Thai authorities revoked Chad Elwartowski's visa and charged him and girlfriend Supranee Thepdet with violating Thai sovereignty by having the cabin 14 miles off the west coast of the island of Phuket.
Cabin - World - 'seastead - Group - Ocean
The cabin had been promoted as the world's first 'seastead' by the group Ocean Builders.
It is part of a movement to build floating communities beyond the bounds of nations as a way to explore alternative societies and governments.
'I - Moment - Person - World - Elwartowski
'I was free for a moment. Probably the freest person in the world,' Elwartowski posted on Facebook on April 13, days before the Thai navy raided his vessel.
Countries can claim a 'contiguous zone' from between 12 and 24 nautical miles from shore, which allows it to apply a limited number of laws.
Customs - Immigration - Laws - Regulations - Territory
However, these can only be to prevent or punish 'infringement of its customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations within its territory or territorial sea.'
Elwartowski claims he 'did not do anything on the seastead that was not legal on land', raising doubts over whether these laws would apply to him.
Crypto - Traders - Charge - Micronations - Borders
Crypto traders are said to be leading the charge to 'establish micronations', outside known territorial borders by exploiting a loophole in international law.
It is thought Elwartowski, who was part of the first group to adopt Bitcoin and made his money trading crypo-currencies, paid $150,000 for the seastead.
Elwartowski - Board - Surveillance - Plane - Day
Elwartowski, 46, was not on board having apparently fled after a surveillance plane flew overhead the previous day.
Thepdet, whose Facebook page describes her as a 'Bitcoin expert, Trader, Chef, seastead Pioneer', was said to be with him.
US - Embassy - Bangkok - Elwartowski - Lawyer
The US Embassy in Bangkok said Elwartowski had spoke to a lawyer and was being provided...
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