By PETCHANET PRATRUANGKRAI
THE COMMERCE Ministry's Business Development Department plans to focus its investigation on the use of Thai nationals as nominees of foreign-controlled companies in 10 business sectors where it believes the illegal practice is widespread.
Deputy director-general Chainarong Chochai said under a 2016 plan the department would tackle this practice vigorously through stringent law enforcement in a bid to prevent problems occurring under the Foreign Business Act.
The 10 sectors to be inspected are food and beverage, tourism, property rental, the property trade, car rental, spa, handicraft and souvenir retail, Internet retailing, direct sales, and education consultants.
Chainarong said that those sectors would be targeted because it was believed that a high proportion of their businesses were foreign controlled through the use of Thai nominees. He said the department would stringently investigate those businesses in an effort to prevent Thai enterprises and consumers being impacted negatively as some foreign-owned businesses were engaged in unscrupulous activities to lure consumers.
The inspection would focus on a business’ share structure, investment capital, and technology transfer.
The department reported this year it had investigated six sectors – food and beverage, tourism, car rental, property rental and sales, and spa.
It said it investigated 6,175 firms in six provinces – Bangkok, Chon Buri, Surat Thani, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chiang Mai, and Phuket – and found 13 firms were suspected of breaching the Foreign Business Act through the use of Thai nominees.
Those firms have also been probed by the Department of Special Investigation and the Revenue Department.