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Triads targeted in crackdown on foreign businesses using Thai nominees
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2023
Triad grey businesses are among 325 foreign companies being investigated on suspicion of using Thai nominees to register in Thailand, the Department of Business Development (DBD) said on Monday.
The investigation is part of a Commerce Ministry crackdown against criminals using Thailand as a base for their illegal business operations. The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) is cooperating in the crackdown.
The DSI has targeted 325 companies in nine provinces – Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, Surat Thani, Chonburi, Rayong, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Phetchaburi, and Bangkok – said DBD deputy director-general Jittakorn Wongkhetkorn.
Of the targeted companies, 161 are in the tourism industry, 123 in property, and 41 operate hotels and resorts, he added.
Jittakorn said investigations in Bangkok will focus on suspected triad operations, especially in the Yaowarat and Huai Khwang areas.
Since the crackdown launched in 2015, a total of 191 foreign companies have been investigated leading to 66 prosecutions.
The number of companies being investigated this year has more than doubled from the previous high of 145 in 2021. That year, the property industry accounted for most nominee probes, followed by tourism and services.
Jittakorn said DBD data on suspected companies are supporting in-depth investigations by the DSI.
Companies caught using nominee as shareholders face a maximum 1-million-baht fine plus a daily fine of up to 50,000 baht until the issue is fixed, he warned. Meanwhile company directors and nominees are also punishable with a maximum fine of 1 million baht and 3 years in jail, or both.
The DBD said it will also advertise requirements for business registration, prohibitions and other regulations under the Foreign Business Act of 1999, to ensure that all foreign businesses comply with Thai laws.
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