PHUKET: Officials today moved to have Lifestyle in Asia – the company at the center of the “sex cruises” scandal – struck off as a registered tourism business. The move comes after allegations that one of the company’s boats was illegally registered, and after a raid on the company’s offices that allegedly uncovered pornographic videos and sex “toys”. Prachuab Tangka-arree, Director of Phuket’s Tourist Business and Guide Registration Office (GRO) told the Gazette, “We are preparing an application, which will include police reports, for the Director of the GRO to cancel the company’s [tourism business] registration.” K. Prachuab explained that the GRO in Phuket has no authority to cancel the license because the company was registered in Bangkok. The move follows a series of police raids on the company that started on Friday, when officers raided Lifestyle in Asia’s Boat Lagoon office. Police in Phuket and Bangkok yesterday coordinated raids on properties registered as owned by Lifestyle in Asia’s managing director, William Ranauro. No incriminating evidence was found at any of the properties. Speaking after the raid on Mr Ranauro’s Boat Lagoon residence, Pol Maj Supamit Sukjaroen, Inspector of Phuket Tourist Police, said, “We found no evidence in the room and the receptionist told us that he hadn’t seen Mr Ranauro for about a week.” The Nation newspaper reported today that the Bangkok raids, on a house in the Chatuchak area and a condominium in Klong San, had failed to produce either evidence or any sign of Mr Ranauro. Pol Maj Supamit also said that Phuket Tourist Police had applied for an arrest warrant for Mr Ranauro, but that this had been rejected by the court on the grounds that there was insufficient evidence. “We are continuing our investigations to gather enough evidence for a warrant to arrest Mr Ranauro,” he said.
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