Fmr. coffeeshop owner to appeal Thailand money laundering conviction

Johan van Laarhoven, former owner of coffee shop The Grass Company, is filing an appeal against his money laundering conviction in Thailand. The Thai court sentenced the Dutchman to 103 years in prison last week. He has to serve 20 of those years.

Van Laarhoven's lawyer Sindey Smeets confirmed this to BNR, adding that the decision on whether or not to appeal was a difficult one to make given that the Dutchman will not be allowed to leave the country as long as the appeal is ongoing.

According to Smeets, the verdict contradicts international law. Van Laarhoven was convicted of money laundering for money he made in the Netherlands by selling soft drugs through a legitimate business, without taking the Netherlands' tolerance policy into consideration.

"We initially hoped that the Thai judge would simply administer justice. He did not do that", the lawyer said to BNR. "If you read the verdict, it says that the Netherlands tolerance policy does not matter to the Thai court. The sale of cannabis is punishable in Thailand. And if you've done it in the Netherlands, you then committed an offense under Thai law and laundered money. Every Dutch coffee shop owner is therefore in great danger when they come to Thailand."