Nisa Rojrungrangsi, 61-year-old managing director of Royal Paradise Co, will be detained at the Central Women Correctional Institution while her son Wasurat, the 26-year-old managing director of OA Transport Co, was taken to Bangkok Remand Prison.
The pair were detained yesterday morning for questioning at the Phaya Thai police station in Bangkok.
Police said yesterday evening that they would be held for at least the 12-day interrogation period authorised by the court.
Police will have to release the pair or produce them in court by Sept 24 to request further detention if they wish to extend interrogation.
They were officially charged with operating illegal tour services, damaging national tourism, and laundering money. Both denied all charges.
Police then took them to the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Rd to request they be denied bail to facilitate further investigation. Detectives plan to interrogate at least 40 witnesses and to trace the firms’ financial transactions and money trails.
Relatives asked for their release and offered to pay bail of B2 million each. The court ruled they should be detained to prevent flight and witness tampering.
Police seized about 2,000 buses of OA Transport Co in Lat Krabang district, Bangkok, last Friday (Sept 9).
The Anti-Money Laundering Office last week ordered the seizure of assets from the pair’s companies worth about B10 billion, including some 2,000 tour buses. Authorities said they operated the country’s biggest zero-dollar tour network.
The zero-dollar tours enable Chinese tourists to pre-pay all costs of a vacation in Thailand, including hotels, meals and tours with the Thai companies.
According to police, these tours contained a major catch. Tourists were provided “free” tours, which included mandatory stops at carefully selected shops selling over-priced jewellery, leather bags, silk goods, snake-based medicine and other souvenirs.
The tour operators, their drivers and guides allegedly received kickbacks from the chosen shops.
Police also claim the zero-dollar tours put pressure on other shops not to sell similar products.
The arrested pair reportedly became billionaires while running the tours.
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