PATONG: Shockwaves ran through the Patong end of Phuket’s timeshare industry yesterday after six men and two women were arrested following complaints from tourists. Seven of the eight face expulsion from the country for working without work permits. The eighth is Thai. Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi said yesterday that the seven foreigners did not have work permits. They were named as Britons Robert Stedman, 50; Steven Peter Coster, 26; Kevin Michael Moss, 40; David Lee Homes, 26; and Denise Marie Mulvaney, 37; Maggi Antonio, 26, an Italian; and Alice Ruth Ne Arif, 30, an Indonesian. The eighth person, Thanit Tantiwit, 35, owner of the business, was also arrested and fined 50,000 baht for assisting the illegal immigration of the seven to Thailand. Pol Col Apirak Hongthong, Superintendent of Phuket Provincial Immigration Office, said officers went to the fifth floor of Patong Tower following complaints and took the seven foreigners to Kathu Police Station in Patong, where they were charged with working without work permits. “We have fined them 5,000 baht each and they will soon be deported,” Col Apirak said. Governor Pongpayome said there had been many complaints from harrassed tourists, and added that timeshare businesses would be watched more closely from now on. One of the seven, Ms Ne Arif, said, “I don’t think the timeshare business is illegal in Thailand. Well-known, reputable resorts have been doing this, too. If it was illegal we would not be here. We have more than 2,000 members, and membership fees are at least 175,000 baht.”
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