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PM orders strict checks on Thai nominees facilitating foreign businesses
THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2023
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has instructed government agencies concerned to strictly check if any Thai tourism-related firms nationwide were nominees of foreigners, a senior official said on Thursday.
Government spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri said Prayut has been closely monitoring the issue of foreigners using Thai nominees to open businesses prohibited for foreigners or who avoid registering their businesses.
“The prime minister has instructed government agencies concerned to closely follow up on the issue by sending officials to check firms and strictly enforce the laws to prevent foreigners from carrying out businesses reserved for Thais,” the spokesman said.
He said Prayut asked for more checks now, as Thailand has fully reopened to foreign tourists.
The spokesman said the prime minister instructed the Commerce Ministry to ensure that its commercial offices around the country and the Business Develop Department carefully checked registrations of companies and partnerships so that they would not violate the Foreign Business Act of BE 2542 (1999).
“The prime minister wants checks in all provinces, not only in major tourism provinces. The checks will focus on businesses related to tourism, such as restaurants, hotels, resorts, car renting services, souvenir shops, spa and massage parlours.
The spokesman said Prayut had been informed of the Business Development Department’s ongoing operation to check some 200 businesses in four major tourist destinations in Bangkok — Yaowarat or China Town, Huai Khwang, Samphanthawong and Ratchadaphisek.
Senior officials from the department and the Commerce Ministry announced on Monday that the ministry is checking some 200 businesses in the four areas to find out whether they are nominees of foreigners or whether they are foreigners running businesses reserved for Thais.
Earlier last month, the Business Development Department warned Thai nominees of Chinese-owned shops in Bangkok’s Chinatown that they could face up to three years in jail and/or a maximum fine of one million baht if they were found to be acting as nominees.
The warning came after some food vendors in Yaowarat alleged that Chinese nationals were using Thai nominees to run shops and eateries in Chinatown and competing with local operators.
The spokesman on Thursday listed nine types of businesses reserved for Thais:
– Newspapers, radio and TV broadcasting
– planting and gardening
– Animal raising
– Reforestation and logging
– Thai herb extraction
– Trading of Thai antiques or or historical products
– Making Buddha images and bowls for monks’ alms
– Land trading