Police swoop on operators of illegal guesthouses, hotels

Police swoop on operators of illegal guesthouses, hotels

Police are going through the top two backpacker areas to shut down unregistered hostels and guesthouses in a pre-Songkran security sweep. (File photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
Police are going through the top two backpacker areas to shut down unregistered hostels and guesthouses in a pre-Songkran security sweep. (File photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

Twenty-four operators of guesthouses and hotels in downtown Bangkok have been arrested for operating without licences during security control crackdowns Thursday ahead of the Songkran festival.

Tourist Police Division chief Surachet Hukpan said the operators on Khao San and Tha Phra Athit roads did not have hotel operating permits when authorities raided their offices. Four were found to have ignored previous warnings to register with authorities.

Authorities wanted to check whether the operators were legally operating their businesses; whether the accommodation venues had been registered; whether they had kept records of their guests; and whether their guests had overstayed their visas, Pol Maj Gen Surachet said.

Khao San and Tha Phra Athit roads are the busiest areas in the city during Sognkran. Hundreds of tourists are expected to take part in water throwing activities during the Songkran festival from April 13 to 15.

The division earlier launched a security control campaign to help keep locations in the city centre safe and secure during the festival.

A team of tourist police has been promoting legal hotel and guesthouse operations in the city centre. According to the Hotel Act, violators will face a jail term up to one year, a fine up to 20,000 baht or both.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Vocational Education Commission (Ovec) plans to launch 250 "fix it centres" nationwide to minimise road accidents during Songkran.

More than 250,000 students from 250 vocational institutions nationwide will offer free basic check-up services for cars and motorcycles under special purple tents along the four country's main highways.

The services run from 8.30am to midnight from April 11 to 17, the period known as the "seven dangerous days of the Songkran festival". Refreshments will be available.

Ovec's secretary-general Chaipreuk Sereerak said the project aims to utilise the knowledge of vocational students while helping the community.

Ovec expects to set up 250 service points and service more than 70,000 vehicle owners.

Road Safety Directing Centre figures show 364 Thai travellers died and 3,559 were injured during the seven dangerous Songkran days last year.


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