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Phuket 'zero baht' tour company bosses sentenced to over 7 years in jail, face fresh charges

PHUKET: The CEO of the now-defunct Phuket-based 'zero-baht' Chinese tour operator Tranlee Travel Co Ltd and his partner, who remains at large, were sentenced to seven years and six months of imprisonment with more cases pending in Phuket Provincial Court, local police confirmed.

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By Eakkapop Thongtub

Saturday 3 March 2018, 01:36PM


Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Teeraphol Thipjaroen announced that Kritchakorn Rungmongkolnam and Weerachai Kampaipraphankul were both sentenced to seven years and six months in jail. PhotoL Eakkapop Thongtub

Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Teeraphol Thipjaroen announced that Kritchakorn Rungmongkolnam and Weerachai Kampaipraphankul were both sentenced to seven years and six months in jail. PhotoL Eakkapop Thongtub

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.

 

 

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Asterix | 04 March 2018 - 12:56:20

Section 41 (Under sections 34, 35, 36, 37): Directors, partners or person with the authority to represent the juristic person who connive at the commission of such offences or fail to take action in preventing such offences shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to a fine of 100,000 Baht to 1M Baht or to both.

Asterix | 04 March 2018 - 12:48:58

Section 36-FBA: A Thai national or a juristic person who assists in or aids and abets or participate in the operation of a foreigner's business where a foreigner is not permitted to operate that business and who acts as a foreigners's nominee in holding majority shares in Thai company shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or to a fine of 100,000 Baht or both.

Jor12 | 03 March 2018 - 20:28:58

Try reading the article to get your answers

Kurt | 03 March 2018 - 16:38:36

So, the big question is: How about the thai nominees?
In so many thai law settings the thai initiate thai nominees
You buy a house, put house on your name, the land ( just a small garden) will be put with nominees on your company
And than your company takes over/neutralize the rights of the nominees Everybody happy
And so on in many ways. Not legal? Than many thai Transport bureau act illegal

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