Jail threatened for Thai nominees of foreign-owned businesses in Chinatown

Jail threatened for Thai nominees of foreign-owned businesses in Chinatown

Crowds of people enjoy foods in the famous Yaowarat area aka Bangkok's Chinatown on Saturday night. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
Crowds of people enjoy foods in the famous Yaowarat area aka Bangkok's Chinatown on Saturday night. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The chief of the Department of Business Development has warned Thai nominees of Chinese-owned shops in Yaowarat, aka Bangkok's Chinatown, that they are liable to up to three years in jail and/or a fine of up to 1 million baht plus daily fines.

Thosapone Dansuputra, director-general of the department, on Sunday emphasised the restrictions on foreigner-owned businesseses in Thailand – and the punishments for violations of law. 

The statement came after a complaint from a food vendor in Yaowarat that Chinese nationals who hold tourist visas were using Thai nominees to run shops and eateries in the area, hurting the businesses of local operators.

Mr Thosapone said his department required foreigners to obtain its permission before running a food or beverage business in the country, and the department would pursue illicit businesses using local nominees.

Any Thai co-investors must show written documents from their banks to prove that they could really afford the co-investments they claimed in the business, he said.

Officials in the department and the Labour Ministry regularly checked to see if any nominees were being used to run businesses in the field, Mr Thosapone said.

"Thai people who are foreigners' nominees and act as co-investors without any actual investment ... are liable to a jail term of up to three years and/or a fine of 100,000-1 million baht. There is also a daily fine of 10,000-50,000 baht until the violation stops," he said.

Last year Yaowarat was rated the world's eighth "coolest" street to visit for its history, food and activities.


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