DSI to probe Phuket businesses over potential labour law evasion

Photo courtesy of Achadthaya Chuenniran

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has disclosed that a rigorous probe will be undertaken into nine Phuket-based businesses suspected of employing Thai nominees to evade labour laws limiting specific industries to Thai nationals only. Among these organisations is the Green Elephant Sanctuary Park, managed by Urs Fehr, a 45 year old Swiss national known for an incident last month involving an alleged assault on a female doctor near his leased villa at Yamu Beach in Thalang district.

An initial examination conducted recently suggested these firms are compliant with Thai law that restricts foreign ownership to no more than 49% of shares in a Thai-registered business. However, Yutthana Praedam, the acting DSI director-general, declared a more comprehensive investigation is essential to ascertain that the Thai shareholders are not merely figureheads.

Furthermore, the legitimacy of these companies’ business operations will be evaluated by various state agencies to verify whether they possess the necessary permits for their services, such as tour guides. This collaborative effort sees the involvement of the Department of Business Development, Department of Tourism, Immigration Bureau, and the Tourist Police Bureau alongside DSI, reported Bangkok Post.

In a separate development, an inquiry into potential inconsistencies in the allocation of land title deeds for plots situated along Yamu Beach is in progress, according to an anonymous source. Aerial assessments of the location reportedly revealed an absence of previous agricultural activity, originally stated as the reason for issuing Sor Khor 1 land occupation documents back in 1974. These titles were later upgraded to Nor Sor 3 Kor certificates in 2005, the source added.

In related news, in fiscal year 2023, the Business Development Department investigated 439 companies suspected of acting as nominees for foreign corporations.

Legal entities potentially involved in nominee activities were found in Chiang Mai and Chon Buri provinces. Ongoing analysis aimed to evaluate investment values and obtain more business information, while warnings were issued against aiding foreigners in circumventing business laws.

Crime NewsPhuket NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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