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Former NZ Olympic champion busted for working illegally at Bangkok fitness studio

Maya Taylor

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Former NZ Olympic champion busted for working illegally at Bangkok fitness studio | The Thaiger
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PHOTO: Olympic.or.nz | Bangkok Get Fit Cycling Studio

A former Olympic champion from New Zealand has been arrested for working in Thailand without a work permit. The Nation reports that 37 year old Kiwi, Marc Ryan, was arrested yesterday at the Bangkok Get Fit Cycling Studio in the Sukumvit district. The arrest came after police received reports of a number of foreign coaches working at the fitness centre.

Ryan is a champion racing cyclist who took bronze in team events at both the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics.

It’s understood he entered Thailand on a tourist visa and has now been charged with working illegally and handed over to Immigration Police for processing. He will likely be deported and put on the Immigration blacklist for re-entry into the Kingdom.

SOURCE: The Nation

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Visa

Government to raise 5-year Elite visa fee by 20%, as foreigners flee Covid countries

Maya Taylor

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Government to raise 5-year Elite visa fee by 20%, as foreigners flee Covid countries | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.thailandelitevisa.com

As more foreigners opt for one of Thailand’s “elite” visas, allowing stays of between 5 and 20 years, and costing anything from 500,000 baht to 2 million, the most popular version is in for a price hike. The cost of the 5-year “Easy Access” visa will go up by 20% from January, to 600,000 baht.

It’s understood there were a record number of new applications for the visa this year, as foreigners sought refuge in a country that appears to have pretty much suppressed the Covid-19 virus. Nikkei Asia reports that an additional 2,674 applicants signed up for an elite visa during the company’s 2020 financial year, which ended in September. That’s an increase of nearly 25%, with the scheme generating revenue of 1.6 billion baht.

Somchai Soongswang from Thailand Privilege Card, which sits under the umbrella of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, says applications were received both from tourists stranded in Thailand, and people overseas who wished to escape Covid-19 in their own country. To date, Thailand has recorded just over 4,000 cases of the virus, significantly lower than the numbers logged by other south-east Asian countries.

It’s understood that as of the end of September, over 11,100 people hold an elite visa, as part of 9 different packages offered by Thailand Privilege Card. Most of them are from China, Japan, South Korea, the UK, and the US. The company plans to sign up at least another 2,700 for the fiscal year 2021, and is currently working on its latest offering, which will be the 10th visa package in the scheme.

The “Flexible One” elite visa is aimed at property investors who spend at least 10 million baht. For their investment, they will be offered a 5-year visa, either for free or at a discount, in a move aimed at boosting the Kingdom’s flailing property market.

SOURCE: Thai Visa | Nikkei Asia

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Expats

Ban on sales and promotion of alcohol online starts December 7

The Thaiger

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Ban on sales and promotion of alcohol online starts December 7 | The Thaiger

From December 7 you’ll no longer, officially, be able to purchase alcohol online in Thailand, according to a posting in the Royal Gazette back in September, the Thai government will prohibit the sales and promotion of alcoholic drinks on every online platform from December 7.

The ban includes direct sales, promotion and introduction of alcoholic products online, but will not include electronic payments of purchases at retail stores, restaurants and bars.

Selling and buying beer, wine and spirits online has become more popular, but the Thai PM says that internet alcohol sales are harder to control than sales at local liquor stores. The announcement said that it’s difficult to check that the provisions of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Act are being followed online, like no alcohol sales before 5pm or on certain holidays (although many local stores didn’t follow the rules anyway).

“The Royal Gazette had published the announcement of ‘Prohibition of the sale of alcoholic beverages via electronic sales nationwide’ on September 8 noting that alcohol has become more easily accessible online due to the popularity of social media platforms and specialist Apps.

“No person shall sell alcoholic beverages or provide services related to alcoholic beverages on electronic channels. Online payment for trading such beverages at actual stores are excluded.”

With Thai officials obsessed with the perceived evils of alcohol, Thailand already has a ban on the sale of alcohol before 11am, between 2 – 5pm, and after midnight. It’s also illegal to brew your own beer at home or to post pictures of branded alcohol online, either as a private citizen or as a company. But the government’s latest announcement, that drinkers won’t be able to purchase alcohol online that really ignited the Twittersphere and social media.

Deputy PM and the Minister of Public Health, Anutin Charnvirakul, told AP after a meeting of the alcohol control committee on November 7, that they’d agreed to draft guidelines, under the revision of the Public Health Ministry, to inform the Public regarding the Royal Gazette announcement of banning online alcohol trading.

“Violators of the new ban will be subject to up to six months in prison and/or a fine of up to 10,000 baht.”

People will still be able to use electronic methods of payment, like bank transfers, when buying alcohol at stores, restaurants or other establishments, just not purchase from online portals.

The Ministry is going to launch a publicity campaign about the new bans in the week leading up to December 7.

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Economy

Government aims to offer work permits to foreigners who invest at least US$1 million

Maya Taylor

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Government aims to offer work permits to foreigners who invest at least US$1 million | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.pinoythaiyo.com

Probably the most expensive Work Permit in the world. The Thai government is considering offering work permits to foreigners who invest at least US$1 million in Thai property or businesses. The Centre for Economic Situation Administration has approved a proposal to grant work permits to eligible Elite Card holders. In order to qualify, they must have the top-tier Thailand Elite visa card, which costs 1 million baht and is valid for 5 years. They must also be prepared to invest their funds for at least 5 years.

The governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Yuthasak Supasorn, says it’s hoped the move will boost foreign investment in the Kingdom. It’s hoped the plan could generate 31 billion baht for the economy, 1 billion of which would come from Elite card fees, with the remainder being generated by foreign investment.

PM Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed the TAT and the Foreign and Interior Ministries to work together on the proposal, before submitting it to Cabinet for final approval.

The CESA has also approved the proposed partnership between the TAT, Thai Airways, and local hotels, in which tourism packages inclusive of quarantine, can be offered to foreign arrivals. It’s understood the packages will be available from December 1 until March 31 next year. The government is targeting 2,000 visitors, generating revenue of 200 million baht every month.

Just another ‘proposal’ we have to keep track of as the visa situation in Thailand becomes increasingly complex.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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