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ResourcesCorporate and Tax AdvisoryThailand Corporate LawAccident Prompts Examination of Corporate Nominees in Thailand

Accident Prompts Examination of Corporate Nominees in Thailand

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests we are going to discuss the rather tragic news of a boat crash down in Phuket that resulted in a number of deaths of foreign nationals, foreign tourists, but I am not really going to go into the details of that. Those who are interested in that can check out many other stories on the internet, videos etc. But there was sort of a knock-on, or sort of an unforeseen ripple effect that has occurred as a result of this.

Quoting directly from the Bangkok Post, bangkokpost.com, the headline is Phuket Tragedy Sparks Foreign Owner Sweep. Quoting directly "Deputy Tourist Police Chief Surachate “Big Joke” Hapkarn that AMLO, that is the Anti-money Laundering Office, will examine the assets of the two companies based on initial findings they are being run by foreign interests. According to Police Major General Surachate Hapkarn, these two companies are also allegedly linked to Tranlee travel, a company which offered tour services in Phuket and was raided in 2016 on suspicion of being illegally owned and run on behalf of behalf of foreigners. He said police will launch a crackdown against 12 foreign nominees found to be operating in Phuket, Phang-gna and Krabi and will coordinate closely with Chinese tourists authorities to tighten controls over China based tour operators.

Now I am not going to get into the whole issue of China based tour operators, that is not really the subject of this video, but the issue here is that is of foreign nominees and the Thai authorities get rather bent out of shape when people flaunt or circumvent the Foreign Business Law  here in Thailand, the Foreign Business Act, especially when it is done, in my opinion this is especially the case when it is done in what the Thai authorities s consider the more sensitive business areas  and Travel and Tourism are considered very sensitive by the Thais. 

As I have noted in another video on this channel, the Prime Minister some time ago basically made it abundantly clear that tour operations were not going to be ever opened up, well not in the foreseeable future, to foreign ownership or foreign control. The Tourism Authority of Thailand and the licenses associated therewith have to go to Thai Nationals only. Another thing, Logistics and travel or shall I say land transport or any kind of transport, is pretty closely guarded by, I should say zealously guarded by the authorities  is in Thailand and I think that this boat operation coupled with the fact of this tragedy, there were clearly safety issues at play here and I'm not going to go into all of that, but sort of a perfect storm brewed up with respect to this as it now would seem  that there were foreign interests that were basically being obfuscated through use of nominees here in the Kingdom.

The thing to take away from this video is, just be circumspect in one's dealings here in the Kingdom and understand that there are restrictions and basically such restrictions are not circumvented easily, often times legally or lightly, and doing so can cause serious problems. So the thing to keep in mind for those who are watching this video is, basically be careful with one's business dealings as the Thai Authorities take the Foreign Business Act very seriously here in the Kingdom.

Now there is good news as we have discussed in another the video on this channel. There has been serious discussion about relaxing certain aspects of the Foreign Business Act. There are certain business activities that many foreigners engage in here in the Kingdom that are not covered by the Foreign Business Act.   Moreover, there are various Foreign Business Licenses that can be granted. The Board of Investment, the BOI here in the Kingdom, is one such place where Foreign Business licenses can be issued. Things like the US - Thai Treaty of Amity can be very beneficial to American citizens doing business here in the Kingdom. So it is not all gloom and doom with respect to the Foreign Business Act but the thing to take away from this video is understand it does exist and they do take enforcement of it seriously.