Chinese man operates illegal hairdressers in plain sight in Pattaya, Thailand

Immigration Police arrested a Chinese man and four foreign employees for operating an illegal hairdresser’s shop in the middle of Pattaya city in Chon Buri province, eastern Thailand.

The Chinese owner claims he didn’t know that hairdressing was a career strictly reserved for Thai people.

Under the Foreign Business Act, certain occupations in Thailand are strictly prohibited for foreigners and reserved for Thai nationals only, including hairdressing, barbering, or any beauty treatment. Other jobs foreigners cannot do include driving taxis, agriculture, Thai massage, tour guide, and many more.

Yesterday, Immigration Police in Chon Buri inspected a hair salon with a huge Chinese sign plastered on the shopfront in the heart of Pattaya’s tourist Nong Prue subdistrict in Bang Lamung district.

Police walked in to find a Chinese man holding a pair of clippers and giving a haircut to a customer and discovered a stateless woman from the highlands of Chiang Mai working as a beautician in the salon. In total, police found five foreigners working illegally including the salon’s 34 year owner Wang Xuping.

Wang told police that he “didn’t know” that opening a beauty salon was illegal for a Chinese person and told police he had run the business for longer than one year already, serving a mixture of Thai and foreign clientele.

Police arrested Wang under suspicion of “employing foreigners without a permit” and arrested the four foreign employees under suspicion of “being a foreigner working without a permit.”

All five were taken to Pattaya City Police Station for further questioning.

It’s a mystery how Wang got away with operating the illegal Chinese salon for so long in the middle of Thailand’s biggest tourist destination without so much as an inspection by immigration.

In February, Thailand’s Ministry of Labour issued a reminder that hairdressing is illegal for foreigners in Thailand operating after police shut down a hairdresser’s shop run by a South Korean.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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