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Large number of arrests over ‘unlicensed’ Chinese tour guide training

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Police joined tourism officials in a raid on a venue allegedly used to allegedly train almost 150 people as guides for Chinese tourists without being issued a licence to do so.

The raid at noon on Sunday resulted in the arrest of the woman who allegedly organised the training.
Along with being charged with hiring foreigners workers without a licence to do so, she was charged with selling food and cosmetic products without a licence from the Food and Drug Administration.
The products were allegedly sold to Chinese tourists.
Acting on a tip-off, police from the 191 Patrol and Special Operation Division, the Tourism Police Division and the Consumer Protection Police Division joined officials from the Tourism Department of the Tourism and Sports Ministry in the raid on the Orchestra Ballroom of the Jassotel Hotel near the Maegjai intersection in Bangkok’s Wang Thong Lang district.
Officials arrested 66 Thais, 62 Chinese, eight Taiwanese, six South Koreans, four Myanmar nationals and one Malaysian who were allegdly receiving training inside the ballroom.
Maj-General Surachet Hakpal, commander of the 191 Patrol and Special Operation Division, said police received a tip-off that the venue was being used to organise tourist guide training on Saturday and Sunday.
Surachet said authorities had learned the alleged organiser of the training, Sirikorn Thanachaipornsakul, 53, had briefed the trainees about products that would be offered to Chinese tourists. 
They include face cleaning gel, rubber pillows and skin treatment cream, he said, adding these products had not been approved for sale by the FDA.
He said authorities found that most of foreigners doing the training had passports that were stamped with tourist or student visas. As a result, they would be charged with seeking to work in a profession reserved for Thais.
Some of the Chinese arrested were found to have no passport and some had overstayed their visas. They were handed over to immigration police for deportation.
Those with passport with valid visas were released after police recorded their names. 
Surachet said these foreigners were prohibited from leaving the Kingdom until police finished the investigation.
Surachet alleged the people paid Bt2,000 each for the training and their mobile phones were taken away by the organiser to prevent them from taking photos and shooting videos.
Authorities seized training documents that were printed in Chinese.
Sirikorn told police she had not organised tourist guide training but had simply invited the 147 people to a banquet after the long Songkran holiday.
She said she owned the seized products but she simply introduced them so foreign tourists would buy them in their home countries.

Published : April 24, 2017

By : The Nation