(WXYZ) — A Michigan man and Bitcoin fan who wanted a life free of international laws is on the run from the Thai government for living in the first seastead off the country’s coast.
Chad Elwartowski and Supranee Thepdet (AKA Nadia Summergirl) are facing criminal charges – punishable by death – related to living in the waterborne structure, according to the Bangkok Post.
Chad and his wife Nadia were meant to be pioneers of “seasteading” an idea popular in the Libertarian culture, which advocates for societies to be set up on floating structures in international waters.
Instead, the couple, who say they’ve made enough with Bitcoins to retire, is on the run.
They're accused of trying to lay claim to Thai maritime territory with their seastead, according to the Bangkok Post, that also reported that their source said officers "found evidence which led them to believe the couple was engaging in the setting up of an independent state. Such an act would have a negative impact on the country's shoreline."
They moved into the floating six-meter wide structure, located 12 nautical miles off the coast of Phuket, Thailand, in March.
Trouble started when the couple saw media reports about the government cracking down, and then on Saturday, the Royal Thai Navy attempted to make radio contact with occupants of the seastead, but nobody replied, the Bangkog Post reported.
Shortly after that, Chad posted on his public Facebook page.
"I'll say it right here. Nadia and I did not design, construct or pay to have the seastead constructed. We promoted it and lived on it. We helped out by giving the builder updates and we participated in the launch. We did not decide where to put the seastead."
Yesterday, Chad updated his friends saying he and his wife are safe and in hiding.
“But as long as Nadia and I are able to live through this that is all that matters to us right now. We just want to live,” he posted.