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Chinese tour company money-laundering raid hits Bangkok

BANGKOK: Tourist police raided a Chinese tour company on Rama IV Road in Bangkok Thursday (Aug 4) and found a Chinese operator using a fake Thai identity card to run his business in Thailand.

Chinese, tourism, crime, police,

Bangkok Post

Friday 5 August 2016, 08:48AM

Thursday’s Bangkok raid followed similar raids in Phuket on the large Tranlee Travel Co (above) where they turned up Chinese executives using ID cards of dead Thais.
Thursday’s Bangkok raid followed similar raids in Phuket on the large Tranlee Travel Co (above) where they turned up Chinese executives using ID cards of dead Thais.

Surachet Hakphan, commander of the Tourist Police Division, said he led the Thursday raid conducted by a group of 50 police and tax officials at the Xinyuan Travel Co.

Police seized a pile of business documents and travel promotion brochures, Pol Maj Gen Surachet said.

Police are checking whether Ms Thanwan was involved in providing fake ID cards for executives of Ufun Store, a transnational Ponzi scam which conned about 120,000 people out of more than B20 billion.

Pol Maj Gen Surachet said the company had caused financial damage to the tourism industry.

He said authorities were collecting evidence and tracking the money trail of Xinyuan Travel Co to see whether it was connected to money laundering activities.

The raid Thursday followed a police investigation into a group of tourism business operators suspected of being an illegal nominee tour firm for foreign interests, said a senior officer.

Meanwhile, another firm, Tranlee Travel Co, is one of the targets in a stepped-up crackdown on foreigners using Thai nominees to run businesses in Phuket. The aim is to make sure foreign investment complies with the Foreign Business Act.

Earlier, deputy provincial police chief Pol Col Saman Chainarong said the investigation into the alleged use of nominees by Tranlee Travel Co was expected to be wrapped up in a couple of months.

Zurich Bread

The authorities said there were 17 companies in Tranlee’s network, operating tourism-related businesses such as hotels, tour buses, ferries, restaurants and souvenir shops.

In June and again last month, authorities raided and then confiscated 29 boats and 53 buses belonging to companies operating under the Tranlee Travel network.

Authorities found Kotchakorn Rungmongkolnam and Weerachai Khampaiprapankul were registered as co-owners of Tranlee.

Both men face arrest warrants for allegedly posing as Thai citizens and illegally securing Thai citizenship cards used for registering the company five years ago. They were accused of stealing the identity of two dead people in Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai.

Police also discovered Tranlee was still operating despite a closure order. The company said it needed to remain open to cater to customers who had booked a tour before the crackdown.


Read original story here.



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