I got fined in Pakse many years ago. I was not busted but asked by one of our staff that the police would like to see me. Went to the police station and they asked for $300. I asked for an official receipt which they were unhappy to supply, as they wanted to pocket the money for themselves,but after a bit if a stand off and an offer from me to spend time in their cells, they got the money and I got the receipt. I was married so no problem putting my name in the family book to register our daughters birth even though she was born in Thailand and had a Thai birth certificate. . Back then there were no birth certificates in Laos. I agree with timmurray in that it is nothing too much to worry about, everything is negotiable and that way not one loses face, everyone goes away happy. Keep us in the loop as to how you get on.
I agree that the law is not enforced to the point of deportation or jail time, but it is used regularly by police to raise funds through a fine. They can get you in 2 main ways - the first is that some villages within Vientiane have occasional nighttime "raids" where the police get the addresses of all houses where foreigners are known to live with Lao partners from the Nai Ban or village mayor. A group of around a dozen armed police then wake you up, let you know that you have been busted, and tell you to come to the station the next morning. You then get fined. Some Nai Ban's will leave you off the list that they provide to the police in return for gifts. The Nai Ban in one village I lived in would leave us off the address list provided to the police in return for 3 beers and a BBQ duck. The other way that they get you is if you are going through the marriage process. When you go to the foreigner control police for your "interview" as soon as they ascertain that you have a child but are not married, you get a fine. Generally this is $500 with no receipt, or if you want a receipt you pay the official fine which can be up to $5000. The $500 is negotiable also - I got them down to $150, but then the boss came in and insisted it be $500. But it is really nothing to worry about and certainly should not stop you coming to Laos. They will not stop you at immigration, and if you are not planning on getting married, you may never get caught. The very worst thing that can happen is losing $500, which stings for a few days, but isn't the end of the world.
Thank you stumpy! I have seen you been giving very helpful advise on this forum. thank you. Can I ask, you say you have not heard any cases of this law for some time. Do you consider yourself have a good connection and know quite some about "the foreigner community" in Laos? I also read, beside fines, you pay the police, you can also get jailed. Have you ever heard of this? I mean, what can the consequences be? my relationship with my girlfriend is very good. I'm just worried that everything will so difficult for us. But I will try my best. In general, how do you get your name on the family book? Is the family book more importent then the birth certificate? Can you maybe describe what a family book is? Thanks
Although there is a law in place forbidding sexual relationships between unmarried couples I have not heard of it being enforced for a long time now. How is your relationship with your Lao girlfriend ? If is is shaky and she wishes to keep your daughter and have nothing to do with you, then it would be easy for her, or one of her friends, to go to the police. On the other hand, if all is well and you do not spend nights with her and she is amenable to your daughter getting citizenship, all should be okay. As your name is not registered as the child's father in the family book you will have to go to court.
Hello, I'm a Swedish citizen having a Lao girlfriend and daughter. Now, we are planing for our future togheter. But have many concerns. I have not been back to Laos from the time I meet my girlfriend. By that time, for many reasons we decided to live seperate life's. And I was not in Laos when our daughter was born. This mean, I do not have my name on my daughters birth certificate. I have been told by the Swedish embasssy, I will need to go to court in Laos to get an official court decision on my status of father to my daughter. As this will be needed somehow if I would like to apply for citizenship for my daugther. But actually more importent. I am very worried about the law forbidding foreigner to have relationship with Lao citizen. I'm quite afraid of going there for this reason. From what I have read, you can be fined for this. But even jailed and deported! As I have a daughter. How serious is this? Me and my girlfriend are not married. Even if I do not cross the line this time, do not spend nights with my girlfriend or anything sexual. Can the police arrest me for having a daughter? Thank you for sharing your experience.