June Bahtra tour boat seized

PHUKET: Phuket Marine Police and officers from the Bangkok-based Economic Crime Investigation Division this morning seized one of Phuket’s best-known tourism icons, the junk June Bahtra 2. The officers seized the 16-meter wooden boat from the Yacht Haven marina on allegations that the owner, East West Siam Ltd, had presented forged documents when registering the boat eight years ago, in order to avoid paying import taxes. According to the police report, which was shown to journalists, the documents presented to the Harbor Master when the boat was registered in 1994 purported to show that the hull and engine were bought in Thailand and that the boat had been built in Thailand. The June Bahtra 2 will be kept at the Rattanachai Boatyard in Koh Sirey until the owner pays fines and taxes owed. In the event that the taxes are not paid, the boat will be put up for auction. The penalty for non-payment of import taxes is a fine of four times the value of the boat, or a prison term of five years, or both. Officials are understood to be investigating the other three boats the company operates out of Yacht Haven. These are the June Bahtra 1, the Jit Jai and the Suwan Macha. East West Siam Managing Director Vincent Tabuteau declined to comment on the seizure beyond saying, “We must first try to find out exactly what we are accused of doing. “That boat was acquired in Thailand six or seven years ago, and I have no precise recollection of how we did this, so I have to check with the administration. I’ll have to wait until I have the elements to comment.”

Phuket News
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