A recent study by Khon Kaen University has found that about 15 percent of all marriages in the northeast of Thailand are between Thai women and foreign men.  The common sterotype of relationships of this sort are Thai women marrying European men, often 20 or 30 or even 40 years older than they are, because of the economic advantage, while the men do so to receive companionship, an easy life in a country very cheap by Western standards, and somebody to look after them as they age.  Oftentimes, the men leave behind unhappy marriages in the West, while the women come from poverty-stricken backgrounds or failed marriages themselves.   While many of the marriages are peaceful and happy, some locals say they have witnessed terrible endings.  For example, houses and land, by law, have to be owned by Thais, and there have been cases where Thai wives simply expropriated the properties built for them by their foreign husbands whom they expelled, and then invited their Thai boyfriends to move in with them. Also, some women who are married to Thai men tell their foreign boyfriends that they are their brothers. So they sit together and eat together, and the foreigner even buys a motorbike for the Thai 'brother,' according to retired Austrian international lawyer Christoph Killy.