BMA calls on districts to investigate foreign-owned businesses
After a meeting with Bangkok's administrative heads on August 3, Governor Chadchart Sittipunt announced that all district offices must thoroughly investigate foreign businesses, especially Thai nominee shareholders and shareholders using false names.
“This operation is not focused on catching individuals. Our overall aim is to increase foreign tourists. But if nominee shareholders are found, we will liaise with the Ministry of Commerce. We will also investigate illegal imports into Thailand.”
Huai Khwang district has numerous Chinese-owned businesses, four of which have been found to be in violation of the laws. These include selling products without labels and not having adequate licenses. Samphanthawong district, which is home Yaowarat Road, is another point of interest for investigations.
Numerous nominee shareholders found in Huai Khwang
Gen Nipat Thonglek, advisor to the Bangkok governor, said that BMA officials and the police had been invited to the meeting to discuss their strategy to manage areas with several foreign businesses. The high number of these businesses has caused netizens to label the district as “a city of this country or that country.”
It emerged from the meeting that almost all foreign businesses in Huai Khwang utilised Thai nominee shareholders, or had a Thai national holding shares for a foreign national. Samphanthawong also has many of these cases, the district’s chief claimed.
Officials have advised district directors in other areas to review section 42 of the Ministry of Commerce's regulations regarding local judicial authority. It was discovered that many unlawful businesses have used Thai citizens to register gift shops, even though the workers are not necessarily Thai themselves.
The meeting determined which authorities would handle the violations in different areas. Huai Khwang and other districts with high numbers of foreign businesses have many officials equipped to handle such cases. Relevant agencies include the immigration police, the Commerce, Labour and Public Health ministries and the BMA. Huai Khwang also has five police stations.
The meeting concluded that district chiefs must be responsible for their administrative areas. So far, Huai Khwang district officials have shut down four illegal businesses with incorrect licenses. Huai Khwang will serve as an example for other districts to follow, said Bangkok's governor.