Phuket police crack down on foreign-run businesses

Picture courtesy of Eakkapop Thongtub

A crackdown on foreign-operated car and bike rental businesses suspected of using nominee shareholders has been initiated by police in Phuket. The campaign was inaugurated with a raid on a rental enterprise in Moo 7, Srisoonthorn, yesterday, March 19.

This operation, led by Region 8 Police Commander, Surapong Thanomjit, saw more than 100 vehicles confiscated. Surapong Thanomjit revealed that five such rental businesses are currently under investigation, involving more than 1,000 vehicles. The suspicion is that these businesses use nominee shareholders to establish and run their companies, a report shared by Region 8 Police indicated.

“The foreigners involved in the rental businesses even had family members and friends arrive in Phuket to take part in operating the businesses.”

However, the police refused to disclose the nationalities involved.

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According to the report, the foreign culprits entered Phuket as tourists and then established companies with assistance from people knowledgeable in the law. While the companies are initially set up with the correct proportion of foreign ownership, shares are later transferred to make foreigners the majority shareholders, in violation of the law, reported The Phuket News.

Surapong, speaking at a meeting before yesterday’s raid, stated that 614 foreigners had been apprehended in the last six months, with 98 of them deported for committing crimes. He assured that the police are taking firm action against foreigners engaged in illegal activities in Phuket.

In related news, Phuket Provincial Tourist Police arrested two foreigners for running their businesses, a money exchange shop and a travel agency, without licences. The arrests stem from a crackdown on illegal foreigners and their businesses following the Swiss man scandal.

Prompted by the conflict between the Swiss man and the Thai doctor, as well as complaints from locals, all Phuket police departments launched investigations into illegal foreigners and foreign-owned businesses operating in the province.

Crime NewsPhuket News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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