Russian arrested acting illegally as tour guide

PHOTO: Foreigners are barred from being a tour guide in Thailand, but a Russian man was arrested in Phuket for leading a group. (via Felix Wong)

In Thailand, many jobs are earmarked as being only for Thai people. Even if a foreigner or expat had a business visa and a work permit, they are barred from certain fields. But in Phuket this week, a Russian man was arrested working as a tour guide which is forbidden for foreigners without any visas or permits.

Pavel Maslennikov, a 29 year old Russian man, was arrested in Phuket when he was caught serving as a tour guide. The arrest took place at Soi Romanee by Phuket Tourist Police officers on Thursday, though the time of the arrest was not disclosed.

Police received a tip-off about a foreign man acting as a tour guide. The complaint said they had witnessed the man leading a group of 11 Russian tourists. The unlicensed and illegal tour guide led the group of Russians to visit several popular tourist destinations in the area.

They were seen visiting Big Buddha before heading off to an elephant camp and Wat Chalong Temple. After that, the group of Russians led by the illegal Russian tour guide made their way to Phuket Old Town for a city tour.

But the Old Town tour didn’t go quite as planned. After witnessing the illegal guide in action, the Tourist Police officers stepped in. They approached Maslennikov and took him into custody, abruptly ending the tour for the 11 Russian travellers.

It was uncovered that the Russian man had been staying long-term as a tourist only. He had been making the border run to Malaysia and back to renew his permission to stay in Thailand. He had crossed the border into Malaysia at Satun four times to get new stamps.

Some have questioned how these continual back-to-back border runs did not raise any red flags with the Immigration Police at the border crossing in Satun.

The illegal foreign tour guide was released on bail and is now waiting to go to trial. The arrest comes on the back of dozens of tourists being taken into custody for driving motorbikes without a proper license. Phuket has been making efforts to tighten up restrictions and foreign nationals are warned to be aware of the restrictions and regulations in Thailand, as violators may face legal consequences.

Russian arrested acting illegally as tour guide | News by Thaiger

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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