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'Sea home' raided of couple facing death penalty

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'Sea home' raided of couple facing death penalty

'Sea home' raided of couple facing death penalty

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.

Yahaira Jacquez reports.

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'Sea home' raided of couple facing death penalty

The Thai navy raided this floating cabin on Saturday that belongs to a couple who has decided to call the middle of the ocean home.

The Thailand government claims Chad Elwartowski - an American bitcoin trader - and his Thai girlfriend endangered the country's sovereignty by living on this floating house 14 miles off the coast of Phuket.

Now the two may face the death penalty.

The cabin had been promoted as the world's first seastead by Ocean Builders, part of a movement to build floating communities in international waters to be free of any nation's laws.

Both Elwartowski and Ocean Builders claim the vessel is outside Thailand's territorial waters.

Though Thai authorities disagree, they say the floating home sits in Thailand's 200 mile exclusive economic zone and therefore violates its sovereignty.

The couple was not on board when officers entered the structure.

The Thai navy now plans to bring it back to shore for use as evidence.

(SOUNDBITE) (Thai) CHIEF OF STAFF OF OPERATIONS SQUADRON AT ROYAL THAI NAVY THIRD AREA COMMAND, CAPTAIN PUCHONG RODNIKORN, SAYING: "We insist that once the sea house reaches shore, the owner can come inspect it as well as come forward to Thai authorities to prove themselves in the legal process." In a video posted last month - Elwartowski said 20 more similar homes would be up for sale to form a community, though when asked, Ocean Builders denied this.

Other groups - such as the Seasteading Institute, originally backed by Peter Thiel, have sought to building floating cities but with the cooperation of host nations.




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