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Police seize 2,155 buses, B4.7bn in zero-dollar Chinese tour network raid

BANGKOK: Authorities today (Sept 9) impounded 2,155 buses and froze bank accounts containing B4.7 billion held by the country’s biggest “zero-dollar tour” network, including OA Transport Co and 381 firms.

Chinesetourismcrimeeconomicspolice
By Bangkok Post

Friday 9 September 2016, 08:48PM


Tourist Police Commander Maj Gen Surachet Hakpan (centre) leads authorities to seize the tour buses of OA Transport Co in Lat Krabang district of Bangkok on Friday. Photo: Tourist Police (via Bangkok Post)

Tourist Police Commander Maj Gen Surachet Hakpan (centre) leads authorities to seize the tour buses of OA Transport Co in Lat Krabang district of Bangkok on Friday. Photo: Tourist Police (via Bangkok Post)

Tourist police and officials from the Anti-Money Laundering Office and the Revenue and Business Development departments swooped on the premises of OA Transport Co in Lat Krabang district of Bangkok after its executives had been charged with carrying on business illegally and damaging Thai tourism.

The action followed Tourist Police searches of OA Transport and four affiliated companies in the Lat Krabang and Jorakhae Noi areas of Bangkok last month.

Two OA executives, Nisa Rojrungrangsi and Wasurat Rojrungrangsi, turned themselves in at the Phaya Thai Police Station for questioning late last month.

Tourist Police moved the buses to the nearby Airport Rail Link station of the State Railway of Thailand. Land Transport Department officials will check if any of them were used illegally. An initial examination found that some of the buses were unregistered, police said.

OA Transport operated the bus that came crashing down Kata Hill in Phuket in March last year, killing three Chinese tourists and injuring 15 more.

The bus crashed through a guardrail while descending the hill to Chalong and came to rest only after slamming into trees halfway down the steep slope, preventing the vehicle from tumbling into a house just metres below. (See story here.)

Gen Surachet said the Land Transport Department was deploying buses to serve tourists who were clients of OA Transport and the 381 related companies as their operations must stop.

New Paths Retreat

The raid was part of attempts to tackle “zero-dollar” tour operations to protect Thai tourism, Gen Surachet said.

Raided last month were OA Transport Co, a vehicle-rental firm, Bangkok Handicraft Centre Co, which sells leather goods; Royal Gems International Co, a jewellery firm; Royal Thai Herb Co, which sells herbal products; and Royal Paradise Co, which runs restaurants. (See story here.)

The five companies operate stores in tourist destinations nationwide, including Phuket.

Zero-dollar tours are so named because they offer very cheap package deals in which tourists, mostly Chinese, are pressured to buy overpriced goods and services on which the operators make big profits.

Authorities have long alleged that the money Chinese tourists spend in Thailand on zero-dollar tours mostly goes to Chinese-operated tour firms owned by Thai nominees.

 

Read original story here.

 

 

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Rorii | 20 September 2016 - 18:20:08

Joe12, oh dear, now you can't even remember what you originally commented on, you really are "ED" twisting things to suit your own agenda, well mate, all I can say is, we ALL know what you wrote, you can't hide from that.

Joe12 | 18 September 2016 - 13:51:45

Kurt...you best make yourself familiar with the reasons why. It's not just money as you suggest, but the backlash from the local people themselves wanting action to be taken as they were frustrated with the boorish behaviour of Chinese tourists. They park their left hand drive campervans in seemingly inappropriate places like temples and curbsides, thus creating saftey concerns. Also insurance...

Joe12 | 18 September 2016 - 13:04:38

Rorii...When you state, \"longitude, and latitude, have nothing to do with it,never mind the fact roads don\'t go in a straight line\" if you are not disputing the flying distance what exactly are you saying? Basically you have no idea what you are saying. 

Kurt | 15 September 2016 - 09:56:48

Is .."damaging thai tourisme".. a new fresh chapter in the thai law books?

I know a very good example of how thai officials damage thai tourisme:
That are the rules to make it unattractive for Chinese people to visit North Thailand with Camper cars.
The visits by chinese camper cars dried up in such a way that the thai Chiang Mai area is complaining and crying because of the lost of...

stegee | 15 September 2016 - 08:30:27

please stick to the topic of the article...

Rorii | 14 September 2016 - 18:00:11

Joe12, oh dear, go back an read my comments, they are NOT disputing any flighing distance at all, in fact my comment supported Kurt's calculation on road distance, I really don't think you are so dumb, so you must be just an angry old man, bit like a certain ex-editor, in fact you twist peoples comments around, just like he did, at least on PN you can't "change/edit" peoples ...

Joe12 | 13 September 2016 - 20:00:30

Rorii...unbelievable... Kurt is ruing the fact that in the absence of an airline service - ("from BKK airports ... just to travel from a BKK airport to Hua Hin.") - as it is a long journey by road in terms of distance and time. However, to fly 150km is unviable as a business proposition. 

You then went on to dispute the calculation of the distance to fly from from BKK to Hua Hin which...

Rorii | 13 September 2016 - 16:18:39

Joe12, once again you are suffering from selective reading/quoting, go back and read all comments, you will see, like all of us have, that you replied to Kurt's comment, in particular where he wrote "Imagine, right not from BKK airports you have to take a taxi first to BKK south bus terminal (= 1 hour), than 3 hours in a bus to Hua Hin. Plus the waiting times, makes it 5-6 hours, just t...

Joe12 | 12 September 2016 - 21:34:47

Rorii...this is start discourse from the article: 

(Kurt).. "Why is Hua Hin Airport not in commercial use? ... Sure many people, arriving by air at Bangkok, like such flight connection, when they live in Hua Hin." Then later, "And as Hua Hin has a good infrastructural airport there is no reason not to have a kind of air service with turbo prop aircrafts. It could be a flight serv...

Rorii | 12 September 2016 - 17:32:15

Joe12, the discussion was on travelling time/distance from Bangkok to Hau Hin, by ROAD, remember, you ridiculed Kurt for suggesting why not have flights from Bangkok to Hau Hin. Hope this helps jog your brain.

"Simple maths" as I have already told you would have people driving through the gulf of Thailand. 
Now just what can we deduce from this "The raid was part of attempts to ...

Joe12 | 12 September 2016 - 14:55:22

Rorii...no, you go an look you idiot. The discourse was about flying from Bangkok to Hua Hin, not driving. You were the one speaking of driving to calculate the distance between the two places using google, because you didn't know how to calculate the distance using simple maths that has been around since the 12th Century using latitude and longitude.

You wanted to know "just what is &...

Rorii | 11 September 2016 - 16:40:00

Joe12, oh dear, here you go again, you must think we have short memories, the distances that were quote, go back and look, where by road, you fool, geez, someones dementia is getting worse.

Joe halfwit, go and read the LAST paragraph, which is the ONE I referred to, once again you show your foolishness. I didn't say anything regarding the legallity of any company, ythis is once again, entre...

Joe12 | 11 September 2016 - 13:18:52

Kurt...swerv's private affairs are that.. PRIVATE. You don't need to know. 

This is not legal tutorial or a forum for others to teach you the the law. Firstly find out what a nominee shareholder is and why they are used. You will then have your answer. It doesn't have to be a foreign company.

swerv | 11 September 2016 - 12:46:28

Kurt: I am not misunderstanding anything. This is what you wrote, your words, not mine.

Wow, send 1000 of these busses to Phuket and set up a public bus transport as Singapore has.
Of course set up a 30 minute bus service from Thalang beach coastal wise all the way to Kata beach!

And Kurt: How my company is set up is none of your concern.

Kurt | 11 September 2016 - 11:46:27

swerv: did the thai nominees/shareholders buy shares in your company, or were you obligated to give them shares?

Why a foreigner, owning a company must have nominees/share holders?
Why a thai, owning a company, does not need?

Also my yesterday's question you not yet answered.

swerv | 11 September 2016 - 11:11:56

Kurt: Thai shareholders owning 51% is required by law, however they can be preference B shares which have no voting rights.

Joe12 | 10 September 2016 - 23:03:51

Rorii...geez you still at it...unbelievable. Even the PH Editor referred you to a legal article concerning illegal nominee shareholders. And this from someone who can't find the distance between two points on the globe, without having to read his car's speedo! Aeroplanes tend to fly in a straight line you goose. Well, unless the onboard navigation fails and the pilot has to fly to "FT...

Kurt | 10 September 2016 - 16:32:39

And swerv: why you need to have thai shareholders? ( 51% ?)
Don't tell me that it is because of the thai law.
Tell me what purpose it serves. Thanks.

swerv | 10 September 2016 - 16:00:22

Kurt: NO, as reported..."Zero-dollar tours are so named because they offer very cheap package deals in which tourists, mostly Chinese, are pressured to buy overpriced goods and services on which the operators make big profits.

Authorities have long alleged that the money Chinese tourists spend in Thailand on zero-dollar tours mostly goes to Chinese-operated tour firms owned by Thai nominee...

Rorii | 10 September 2016 - 15:59:19

Joe12, something simple, for you... the last sentence, in fact the whole article, does not say what is "illegal" about zero baht tours, in fact there isn't anything "illegal." Perhaps, you, in your usual "wisdom" can tells us. oh wait, you NEVER provide "proof" only illogical statements based on your limited, vague, imagination.

Now, just what is &quo...

Kurt | 10 September 2016 - 15:54:09

swerv: Are you playing you not understand, or you really not understand my writing?
Of course the 1000 busses for service all over Phuket from 5am to 2 am next morning.
The suggested, long time wanted route from Thalang coastal wise to Kata is just 1 route.
Do you get it now?

And swerv: Yes! Singapore again!  Nothing wrong to 'copy' some good things of Singapore.
Law enforcement, sy...

Joe12 | 10 September 2016 - 13:51:37

Rorii...read the last sentence of the article. 

swerv | 10 September 2016 - 13:30:19

Kurt: Singapore again? Phuket is NOT Singapore and hopefully never will be.
I can see you are not a business man, 1,000 buses operating from 5am to 2am between Thalang and Kata? That's a wage bill of 40mthb a month ( 2 x drivers per bus) plus fuel.
And, these buses will operate every 30 minutes...so that should do a lot to help the traffic congestion on the island.
The mind boggles as to wh...

Kurt | 10 September 2016 - 12:02:13

May we think that the 'zero dollar' tour operations actually ment that no money was flowing to receiving thai 'kick back institutions'? 
With other words, there was no corruption?
An uncomfortable situation , must be stopped. :-)

And that last paragraph about thai nominees.
Foreign companies by thai law must have thai directors, right?
When do we call a thai director a nomin...

peter rawai | 10 September 2016 - 12:02:06

not much use for a bus service starting at 5am majority of people do not get out of bed till 8am or later.
a connecting bus service could be a good idea but it may end up like the airport bus service which few people use but a lot asked for on internet sites
The people who complain on the internet about airport taxi prices are not usually tourists and all the genuine expats i know personally hav...

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