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Land crackdown targets Thai shareholders

Legacy Phuket Gazette



Land crackdown targets Thai shareholders | The Thaiger
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BANGKOK: The Ministry of Interior has ordered a crackdown on property companies attempting to circumvent Section 74 of the Land Act in order to allow foreigners to control land ownership.

Section 74 states (unofficial translation): “In the process of registering [land] possession rights and contracts between parties … officers have the power to investigate both parties and call them for questioning or have them send relevant documentary evidence as is necessary. Officers will proceed as is appropriate to the case.

“In cases where there is reason to believe that the request to register possession rights will evade the law or where there is reason to believe that land is being bought for the benefit of foreigners a request for an order from the Minister will be made. The Minister’s order will be final.”

The crackdown will target Thai partners in Thai-foreign ventures, examining their income, their professional qualifications or experience, and their credit history.

In an order dated May 15 and issued to all provincial governors, the Deputy Permanent Director of the Ministry, Sura-art Thongniramol, notes, “The Ministry of Interior has received reports that there are foreigners working with Thais or [engaging] Thais to register a company with the aim of buying and selling immovable property as a business venture.

“At the initial stage a house and land are purchased for residence or [for use as] an office and later [the aims are changed] to selling and subdividing for sale to foreigners … which is illegal.”

Provincial officials are ordered, “as protection against bypassing the law”, to examine limited companies, limited partnerships and general partnerships “having the aim of carrying out business in immovable property.”

The order continues, “If it appears that an alien holds shares or is a director, or if it is reasonable to believe that a Thai holds shares as a representative of an alien, the officers shall investigate the income of Thais holding shares, delving into the number of years [they have been] in [their] current profession, and their income. The provision of necessary evidence is required.

“If a loan was taken [by the Thai] for the purchase [of shares] evidence of the loan is required.”

The order does not specify which officials will be responsible for investigating suspect companies, nor does it set out, except in the vaguest of terms, what will happen after the “investigation”.

All it says is, “If after due investigation it can conceivably be believed that the request for registration … is to bypass the law or [it can be believed] that [those involved are buying] land for the benefit of an alien as defined in Section 74 … the officers who undertook the investigation shall forward the findings to the Land Department to await the order of the Minister.”

No deadlines are set for how long an investigation will take, or how fast the Minister will be required to deliver a judgment.

Local reaction was hard to come by. The Phuket Provincial Land Office was not aware of the new order. However, one Thai involved in the property industry, who did not wish to be named, remarked that it seemed “like a good thing, as long as the application is fair”. He added that he worried that it might be used by some “for their [own] benefit”.

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand targeting specific Chinese provinces for “tourism bubble”

Jack Burton



Thailand targeting specific Chinese provinces for “tourism bubble” | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Travelwire News

Thailand’s minister of tourism and sports says his ministry will target specific provinces in China in a bid to attract tourists back to the resort island of Phuket as travel restrictions are gradually eased. Pipat Ratchakijprakarn says the ministry will not splash out money launching a tourist campaign all across China but rather target some of the many provinces that have brought Covid-19 under control.

He didn’t specify which provinces, but said Phuket is being eyed to lead the planned “tourism bubbles” comprising Thailand and its selected partners. The primary target is selected Chinese cities and provinces.

“China is the first market with potential, because flying time to Thailand is less than six hours.”

Other markets being discussed include South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and some south east Asian countries.

Before the pandemic, 1 in every 4 foreign visitors to Thailand was Chinese. There were almost 40 million foreign arrivals last year.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Officials raid 2 Phuket casinos, arresting 87 illegal gamblers

Jack Burton



Officials raid 2 Phuket casinos, arresting 87 illegal gamblers | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Phuket Andaman News

Officials have raided 2 Phuket casinos resulting in 87 people being arrested for allegedly gambling after the island’s provincial police received complaints of gambling dens operating around the clock – a violation of the current Emergency Decree which bans crowds.

The first raid took place at about 3:30 pm and was at a casino in tambon Talat Nua of Muang district. The premises provided parking spaces for motorcycles and up to 30 cars, and was fenced on all sides with metal sheets. Officials arrested 45 gamblers-30 men and 15 women. They also seized 62,420 baht that was placed as wagers and a gold necklace that was 15 grams in weight.

Around the same time, a second team raided another casino tambon Sisunthon of Thalang district in Phuket’s north. It was also fenced with metal sheets and featured an ample amount of parking space. 42 people- 22 men and 20 women- were rounded up with police seizing 64,260 baht in placed wagers.

All have been charged with illegal betting and violating the Emergency Decree which was recently extended through July.

Officials raid 2 Phuket casinos, arresting 87 illegal gamblers | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Phuket’s (in)famous “Soi Bangla” district reopens today

Jack Burton



Phuket’s (in)famous “Soi Bangla” district reopens today | The Thaiger

Today is the official reopening of Phuket’s famous (or infamous) “Soi Bangla” nightlife district, but only about 20% of venues say they’re reopening during this early stage. The Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration announced yesterday that all night entertainment venues may reopen but must strictly adhere to health guidelines set out to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, the spokesman for the CCSA, says night entertainment venues, including pubs, bars, karaoke venues and beer gardens will be allowed to open, but only until midnight. Social distancing measures will be strictly enforced, and customers must use the Thai Chana app to check in and out.

The Patong Entertainment Business Association president says only about 20% of the 324 registered members are expected to reopen initially, but he expects more to reopen soon. Among the 22 rules announced last week- to be presented to the CCSA for approval- were that all staff must wear face masks and face shields, but performers may wear face shields only. No bottles are to be served, and all drinks are to be served in glasses. No pool table games (including snooker and billiards) and no dart games are to be allowed.

The number of guests in each venue is to be restricted to cater for social distancing, with at least 2 metres between tables, or partitions must be installed to ensure patrons are seated at least one metre away from each other.

Undercutting the main reason people visit popular venues, the draft rules also call for groups to be limited to 5 people, and for guests to be prohibited from dancing and singing, gathering, shouting, or “wandering around the premises”.

“I have no idea what the rules will be, but we will open anyway. If the full list of 22 rules for pubs, bars and entertainment venues is to be applied, we won’t be able to enforce all the rules, because enforcing all these rules is impossible. But we can follow some of the rules, such as social distancing, wearing masks and checking temperatures.”

Even Patong’s mayor told The Phuket News that she is yet to receive a copy of all the rules to be enforced.

“The next thing to do is follow up with the CCSA about the rules. This is very important for the entertainment industry in Patong. I will help and consider being flexible with the rules for entertainment businesses in Patong, because the rules announced by CCSA are the general rules for many places. But some of these rules are not appropriate for businesses here. We have to apply the right rules and optimise them for businesses in Patong.”

The PEBA president dismissed a few entertainment zones being singled out in other countries as “hotbeds for starting a second wave” of Covid-19 infections.

“I do not care what some people claim is the risk of being in a bar. If the government is genuinely concerned about the risk of Covid-19 spreading, then it is not just about bars, pubs and entertainment venues. The risk of Covid-19 spreading applies anywhere where people are around, not only at bars and pubs.”

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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