Big Joke crackdown on illegal Chinese businesses in Chiang Mai

Photo by Michael Coghlan via Flickr

The Deputy Commander of the Royal Thai Police, Surachate “Big Joke” Hakpark, announced plans to crackdown on illegal businesses in Chiang Mai, which are believed to have Chinese nationals behind them. Big Joke revealed the crackdown operation would begin within a week and focus on five to six businesses.

During a press conference at Chiang Mai Provincial Police Office yesterday, Big Joke disclosed that plots of land, approximately 300 to 400 rai (480,000 to 640,000 square meters) in size, were purchased by Chinese businesses.

These lands are located in San Kampaeng, Hang Dong, and San Patong districts and are intended to be transformed into illegal businesses like housing estates, retail shops, factories, and private schools.

The businesses would be operated by Thai nominees, with Chinese nationals behind them, to avoid high taxes. Additionally, the schools would provide student visas to Chinese nationals, allowing them to stay in Thailand longer.

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Big Joke urged the relevant departments, including Chiang Mai Provincial Commerce Department, Immigration Bearue, Revenue Department, and Lands Department, to investigate and gather evidence by March 10. He said…

“The law must be the law. By March 10, we must know the identities of the suspects. I would like to tell those businesses that were operated under the Thai nominees to stop. If not, you will be prosecuted. Locals in Chiang Mai who have useful information should notify the officers.”

Big Joke continued talking about the former foundations and immigration authorities that offered a special dispensation to Chinese businesses saying…

“We have prosecuted over 100 officers from the Immigration Bureau, from the high-ranking officers to operation staff. We also closed down nine foundations that took Chinese citizens as volunteer members for those Chinese people to extend their visas and operate illegal businesses in Thailand like online gambling websites, nightclubs, and bars. We will hand the evidence to the National Anti-Corruption Commission and prosecute them no matter whether they were business owners, nominees, or foundation founders.”

Kom Chad Luek reported the real estate situation in Chiang Mai to the President of the Chiang Mai Real Estate Association, Non Hirunshadesakun.

Non explained that Chinese nationals had been buying houses and accommodation in Chiang Mai for more than 10 years, owning over 1,000 units of housing estates in the province. Each house was worth 3 million baht or over which made the total value to 3 to 5 billion baht.

Besides buying houses, Non stated that Chinese investors had bought several plots of land and invested in real estate construction using Thai nominees. Over 20 housing estate projects in the province were owned by Chinese investors.

Non urged the government to take this issue seriously, emphasizing that Thai nationals may have to rent houses from foreigners if the situation is not addressed.

Big Joke crackdown on illegal Chinese businesses in Chiang Mai | News by Thaiger

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

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