By Suriya Patathayo
Zero-dollar tours refer to the illicit practice of promising tourists low-cost packages and then offering them products and services for inflated prices from shops in their network during the tour.
A Wankua Kuajee International Co executive identified as Kao Lian was arrested in Soi Yoo Chaoren in Bangkok’s Din Daeng district under an arrest warrant issued on Thursday on charges of fraudulently applying for a Thai ID card by presenting fraudulent evidence to officials.
Chaiwat said a police investigation had found that the suspect had submitted an application for a Thai ID card on July 24, 2001 in Nakhon Sawan’s Muang district under the name of “Wisanu Rattanasaeng-ngam” with false information regarding his year of birth.
He allegedly renewed the ID card in 2004 before abandoning the identity of Wisanu in 2007 when he applied for another Thai ID card with a new identification number, with his “father” providing evidence to prove his Thai nationality. He was granted a new ID card number that he had used until now, Chaiwat said.
Kao admitted that he had assumed Wisanu’s identity when he was 18 to operate a business selling computer parts in Thailand, adding that he had later also worked for a “zero-dollar” tour business network just two months before a police crackdown and his arrest.
The suspect’s action had negatively affected the real Wisanu, who initially had a problem with his birth certificate. Officials were eventually implicated in issuing his identity to Kao.
Wisanu later filed a complaint, leading to the arrest warrant for Kao, Chaiwat said.
Police would ask the Interior Ministry to cancel Kao’s Thai ID card, the Commerce Ministry to cancel the licence for his company and the Tourism Department to cancel his tour business licence, Chaiwat said.
Chaiwat also said police were hunting for two more Chinese men who had Thai identities – Ayeenoi Saenmee, who fled to China in September, and Jong Songpaisalkit, who fled to Malaysia in March, both of whom had worked as executives at two separate tour companies established in 2012 in Thailand.