Tough penalties for foreign nominees

Tough penalties for foreign nominees

The Department of Business Development is warning Thai citizens who are acting as nominees for Chinese-owned businesses along Yaowarat Road that they face up to three years in prison and/or fines of up to one million baht.

Thosapone Dansuputra, director-general of the department, yesterday reminded the public of the penalties for violating restrictions on foreign-run businesses in Thailand.

The reminder followed a complaint by a food vendor along the road, known as Bangkok's Chinatown, who alleged Chinese nationals on tourist visas are using Thai nominees to run shops and eateries in the area, hurting the businesses of local operators.

In response to the complaint, Mr Thosapone said foreigners must obtain the required permits from the department before they can run a food and beverage business in the country, and the use of a local nominee to run a restricted business would violate regulations.

Any Thai co-investors must show valid documents from their banks to prove they really do have the means to invest in such a business, he said.

Officials from the Department of Business Development and Labour Ministry regularly inspect foreign-owned businesses to ensure their compliance with the regulation, Mr Thosapone said.

"Thai citizens 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 Road was ranked eight on the list of the world's "coolest" streets by Time Out magazine for its charming mix of history, food and local activities.

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