Elite Card under fire over scandal

Elite Card under fire over scandal

Tourists visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok on Jan 7. Photo by REUTERS
Tourists visit the Grand Palace in Bangkok on Jan 7. Photo by REUTERS

Tourism and Sports Minister Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn asked the police to investigate reports of members of Thailand Elite Card that have been linked with shady Chinese businesses.

Mr Phiphat said the case badly affected the image of the Tourism Ministry and Thai tourism industry.

He said during the application process, Thailand Privilege Card (TPC), the operator of Thailand Elite Card, will check personal data of applications for criminal records.

"If any of them are reported acting illegally, the minister will urgently withdraw those memberships," said Mr Phiphat.

As there was a report about Thailand Elite Card being sold overpriced abroad, Mr Phiphat said the ministry and TPC cannot be responsible for this issue as they cannot interfere with foreign businesses.

Mr Phiphat added that in the case of tourists using electronic cigarettes, which are illegal in Thailand, police cannot directly fine tourists. They can only submit the lawsuit to the court.

The Phuket Tourist Association said in addition to the current application process of Thailand Elite Card, TPC should consider connecting a digital database with international organisations, such as Interpol to verify criminal records.

The Thailand Elite Card has been popular among foreigners, particularly high spending tourists from Europe, Australia and China, who regularly visit Phuket since reopening last year.


  • application: a formal request for permission to do or have something - การขอ
  • criminal: illegal; against the law - ผิดกฎหมาย, นอกกฎหมาย
  • criminal record (noun): a police record of arrests and/or crimes that a person was found guilty of -
  • elite: (1) of a highly trained group, powerful or influential group - ซึ่งดีที่สุด, ยอดเยี่ยมที่สุด (2) the richest, most powerful, most influential group (in this case, in Thai society) อำมาตย คนที่มีอภิสิทธิ์ที่สุด
  • fine: to be required to pay an amount of money because you have broken the law - ปรับเป็นเงิน
  • image: an opinion that people have about someone or something - ภาพลักษณ์
  • interfere: to deliberately become involved in a situation and try to influence the way that it develops, although you have no right to do this - แทรกแซง
  • Interpol: an international organization that enables the police forces of different countries to help each other to solve crimes - องค์การตำรวจสากล
  • lawsuit: a case that a court is asked to decide involving a disagreement between two people or groups - คดีที่ยื่นฟ้องต่อศาล
  • overpriced (adj.): too expensive; costing more than it is worth - แพงเกิน
  • privilege: a special benefit that is available only to a particular person or group - เอกสิทธิ์
  • withdraw: taking or move out or back - การถอนตัวจาก
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