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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.

Chinese, tourism, crime, economics, police,

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.

C and C Marine

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.

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Joe12 | 18 September 2016 - 13:51:45 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 concerns, as Thai motorists having accidents with Chinese vehicles find it difficult to claim damages. The Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation says there are now campervan parking facilities with water and power supply, as well as sanitary facilities, in five national parks around the kingdom: Khao Yai in Nakhon Ratchasima province; Hat Wanakon in Prachuap Khiri Khan; Thung Salaeng Luang in Phitsanulok; Mae Moei in Tak; and Doi Inthanon in Chiang Mai. 

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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. 

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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 enormous profits due to the tourist damaging action of thai government officials to discourage the chinese tourist to come that way.
( and just with the lame excuse:.."They not spend money on hotels"..)
The Chinese tourists now just drive to Vietnam, etc. Spend their good holiday money elsewhere.

In Europe, Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand, and now in China too, all countries with sensible and progressive thinking about tourisme, are Camper car rentals, Camper car overnight stations, Supermarkets in small towns, National Parks, all doing very well tourism income wise.( good profits) 
Actually very good, it spreads tourisme, small town shops and small town and road restaurants do good business.
Thailand miss that now.

The short sightness of thai officials cost small thai communities a lot of money.
Well, the 'enormous lost money cry' of Chiang Mai province authorities speaks for itselves.

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stegee | 15 September 2016 - 08:30:27

please stick to the topic of the article...

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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 comments like he did.

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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 you dismissed, "...longitude, and latitude, have nothing to do with it,never mind the fact roads don't go in a straight line." 

Latitude and Longitude have been around since the 3rd Century and refined over the centuries to where we now use GPS. You can even access it on your phone as well.

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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 to travel from a BKK airport to Hua Hin."
Your reply "it's only 150kms from Bangkok! therefore common sense says that such close proximity to Bangkok makes it financially unviable." comes across as countering Kurt's reference to travelling time by ROAD. Perhaps, like many of your comments, your reply isn't clear.

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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 service BKK-->Hua Hin--> Phuket v.v."

(Joe 12) .... "'s only 150kms from Bangkok! therefore common sense says that such close proximity to Bangkok makes it financially unviable."  then later: "Why would you want to travel 150kms by plane?"

Where is the reference to travelling by road in that discourse? It's about flights from BKK to Hua Hin, because people arriving in Bangkok and who live in Hua Hin would prefer connecting flights!

You were the one who brought up the travelling by road in sympathy with Kurt.."this one to support Kurt, distance from Suvarnabhumi to Hau Hin, 222Km's, travel time 3h 13m via routes 35 and 4 or 252.4 km's, 3h 49m via route 4" because you had no idea how to calculate distance between two points on the globe using simple maths utilising latitude and longitude, other than by reading the speedo on your car. How do you manage with this method to calculate the distance from BKK to Tokyo? - so, if you going to argue, at least get it right. 

To answer your question, most intelligent people will deduce - well not so much deduce - but will have confirmed from reading the article that the companies were operating illegally, "...executives had been charged with carrying on business illegally and damaging Thai tourism." Pretty straight forward really. LOL...if the evidence was put in front of you, you wouldn't understand it anyway, because you are adamant that using nominee shareholders are not illegal, even when presented with legal advice.

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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 tackle “zero-dollar” tour operations to protect Thai tourism" no mention of "illegal" companies, but "zero-dollar"(sic) tour operators, and why, simply to protect thai tourism.... notice ,Joe12, the word tourism NOT what might be an illegal company. There is also NO mention of any "alleged" illegal activity, by the companies, though 2 directors of Fuan Travel Co and Xin Yuan Travel Co, face charges of using fake Thai ID cards.

It could turn out that the raids themselves are the only thing illegal, I'd like to see what "evidence" was used to justify the raids.

To refresh your memory, go read this.

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