Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Teeraphol Thipjaroen led a press conference at 1:30pm yesterday (Mar 2) to announce the latest proceedings in the case of illegal Chinese “zero baht” tour company Tranlee Travel Co Ltd, the alleged bosses of which are now facing fresh charges of money laundering by the Anti-Money Laundering Office (AMLO).
Tourist Police Division Deputy Commander Col Archayon Kraitong and Director of Legal Affairs Division of the AMLO Suntara Pontri were also present at the press conference at the Phuket Tourist Police headquarters in Phuket Town.
Tranlee Travel grabbed headlines in 2016 when more than 100 officers including police, military and AMLO officials raided over a dozen of companies operating under the Tranlee Travel network of businesses in Phuket after months of investigation that revealed that the businesses were illegally owned and run by foreigners have fake Thai ID cards (read here).
“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,” Phuket Provincial Police Deputy Superintendent Col Saman Chainarong explained at that time.
Tranlee's assets, including over 100 buses and more than 30 boats, were confiscated by the order of the Civil Court and later sold in a series of auctions (read here).
The Tranlee CEO, Kritchakorn Rungmongkolnam, or Mr Isam Sainglee, turned himself in after officials had a warrant out for him and raided his company. His partner, Weerachai Kampaipraphankul, fled and is still at large.
Updating the media on Tranlee's case on March 2, 2018 Gen Teeraphol announced that Phuket Provincial Court ruled Kritchakorn and Weerachai guilty of criminal association at a court sentencing on Feb 15 this year.
“They were sentenced to seven years and six months of imprisonment,” Gen Teeraphol said.
Before, Mr Kritchakorn was found guilty of using false ID cards and sentenced by Phuket Provincial Court under the corresponding article of the Criminal Code and 18 more cases are pending in the court. Gen Teeraphol also announced that on Feb 2017 AMLO filed a fresh money-laundering complaint against Kritchakorn and Veerachai.
Gen Teeraphol assured that authorities will continue their crackdown on foreigners using Thai nominees to run businesses in Phuket in violating of the Foreign Business Act and other relevant laws.