Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Superintendent Col Saman Chainarong called the Phuket media to the head office of Tranlee Travel Co Ltd on Sri Suthat Rd in Rassada at 4pm yesterday.
“Today we arrested the Tranlee CEO, Krisakorn Rungmongkolnam, one of the two people behind these operations,” explained Col Saman.
“The other suspect is known as Weerachai Kampaipraphankul. He escaped arrest as he left before officials arrived. We already have a warrant out for him,” he added.
Tourist Police officers and officials from the Phuket Department of Business and Development and the Revenue Office raided Tranlee after months of investigation, leading officials along a paper trail linking 18 companies in four locations, Col Saman explained.
“Once we knew our targets, we obtained warrants from the Phuket Provincial Court and investigated these companies,” he said.
“These companies had Chinese or other foreigners using fake identification cards to register the businesses and had nominees using fake IDs to register as shareholders. The ID cards were obtained from a province in Northern Thailand,” Col Saman said.
“These companies have been registered in Phuket for over 10 years. They were registered illegally and more than 50% of their shareholders are foreigners. Their revenue each year was more than B150 million, but in total they paid only B200,000 in tax per year.”
Krisakorn in particular was a prominent member of Phuket’s Chinese tourism industry, Col Saman said, noting that Krisakorn had served as a member of a tourism and business association in Phuket and was well known in the tour industry among Chinese tour operators.
Among the other businesses raided by officials carrying out the investigation were tour boat business Insee Marine Co Ltd, registered at the same address as Tranlee, and another business at Phoonphol Night Plaza in Phuket Town.
“All these companies operated in the same network with one giant company,” Col Saman said.