Jul 08, 2016

    Thai police swoop on tour firms allegedly run by Chinese


    THAI police have seized 53 tour buses and 29 speedboats in Phuket's Muang district from companies under the network of Tranlee Travel, founded by Chinese businessmen using fake Thai nationality documents.

    The searches at three locations by 100 policemen and relevant officials took place this week after arrest warrants were issued for two Tranlee executives, Weerachai Kampaipraphankul and Krisakorn Rungmongkolnam, for allegedly being foreigners who assumed Thai nationality to register a tourist business.

    Police impounded 29 speedboats from Insee Marine's pier, 53 tour buses from TL Better Way's parking lot and seized related documents from Racha Spa to check the network's financial transactions.

    Police and officials had raided Tranlee and arrested Krisakorn on June 15 although Weerachai remains at large.

    The raid followed months of investigations that found many companies in the network allegedly had Chinese or other foreigners using fake identification cards to register the businesses and to register them as shareholders.

    Police also claimed that these companies earned over 150 million baht (S$5.7 million) in revenue but paid only 200,000 baht in tax a year.

    Besides impounding boats and buses as evidence, deputy national police chief Pol General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said the police will also check the financial transactions, particularly those linked to other countries.

    He added that the police were also probing to apprehend more accomplices, including state officials involved in the case.

    Tranlee was established in Phuket in 2001 and has 17 affiliated companies, 15 in Phuket and two in Phang Nga.

    Phuket attracts about 10,000 visitors a day during the off-peak season and up to 50,000 a day during the peak period.