THAI GOVERNMENT TO CRACKDOWN ON FOREIGN MAFIA – Look up the words ‘paranoia’ and ‘xenophobia’ and it’s likely you’ll see a picture of the Thai Cabinet beaming from ear to ear.
In a recent cabinet meeting the Tourism and Sports Minister, Somsak Pureerisak, has instructed the Department of Special Investigations (DSI) to root out and stamp out foreigner mafia groups in key tourist areas; notably Pattaya and Phuket.
According to Somsak Pureerisak, he has received numerous complaints from foreign tourists and foreign ambassadors regarding the level of scams, rip-offs and violence from criminal gangs operating in the tourism sectors.
He went onto say that mafia-style gangs have been forcing tourists to use ‘unlicenced’ taxis charging them extortionate rates and is damaging the reputation of Thailand’s tourism.
The crackdown is mainly targeting one group of foreigners; the Russians, who have continuously in one form or another, featured in the news for so-called ‘mafia’ activities and locals Thai taxi groups took to blockading roads with their taxis and tuk tuks recently in protest that the Russian mafia groups were stealing all their business.
According to Thai officials Russians and other foreigners have been setting up Thai companies, within the tourist sector, using Thais as nominees. Under Thai Law a foreigner may only own 49% of a company with the remaining 51% and controlling interest in the hands of Thais.
Thai nominees are normally a few Thais within the lawyers’ office who set up the company on behalf of foreigner investor. These nominees have no interested in the company and while technically they own 51% they derive no benefit from any profits the company may make from its operations.
The setup is almost identical to owning Thai property and whilst thousands of foreigner own property and business using the Thai nominee company it is in fact illegal and subject to closure and confiscation of assets.
There are two things a foreigner should never engage in, these being running a business and owning property. Both are highly perilous and often leave foreigner penniless.
If you are considering either running a business or buying property in Thailand then check with your doctor first because it’s likely you are in need of a frontal lobotomy; in plain speak you would have to be completely and utterly off your rocker.
Let’s try to examine this latest ‘crackdown’ and unravel the pieces to see what this is really all about. The fact is you don’t need to dig very deep as this situation is primarily about two issues, these being Money and Fear.
For some reason the Thais fear the Russians. I suspect they’ve been watching far too many ‘cold war’ movies. It certainly isn’t due to an educated opinion as the Thais in general have an education standard of a two year old – this is obvious when you look at the recent and on-going use of Adolf Hitler as a mascot in Thailand’s top and most prestigious University and businesses.
The underlining issue here is ‘money’. The Thais feel as if they are missing out. Even the Tourism Minister pointed out that the money foreigners make is not used in Thailand but rather filtered out to their home countries and therefore derives no benefit for Thailand.
This statement, for anyone with a reasonable education, clearly shows the level of Thai ignorance and paranoia. The so-called mafia element lives and works here. They employ Thai staff, rent Thai houses, buy cars, buy food and engage in entertainment and therefore, just taking these few elements alone it can be clearly determined that money does flow into the Thai economy.
There is another aspect here; one that the Thais don’t like to talk about, this aspect again involves money but this is fuel by pure unadulterated greed.
The stark truth is that there is a large mafia presence, not just in Phuket or Pattaya but indeed blanketing the entire country but this has nothing to do with foreigners. It is run by Thai officials, Governors, Politicians and above all the Police.
Look closely at the evidence. Note that the Tourism Minister remarked on ‘illegal’ taxis and extortionate fares. This subject alone has been a bone of contention from tourist and foreigner ambassadors, as the Minister rightly pointed out, but this has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with foreigner operators but rather crooked Thai mafia groups.
How bad is the extortion? Taxi rates in Phuket are currently 10-20 times higher than in Thailand’s capital Bangkok. The tuk tuks, taxis and even illegal taxis have a clear monopoly and therefore charge whatever they like and these extortionate fares are even sanctioned by the local authorities.
The truth is there are foreign criminal elements in Phuket and Pattaya but these are insignificant compared to what and how the Thais are ripping off, scamming and even murdering foreign tourists.
For the Thai authorities to accuse Russians or indeed any other foreigner group of engaging in mafia-style operations is clearly a case of the pot calling the kettle black and many suspect this is another attempt by the Thai Government to subvert the issue of tourist and ambassador complaints against Thais firmly towards foreigners.
Thailand tourist industry is in serious decline; although you wouldn’t think so with the amount of propaganda that the Tourism of Thailand Authority (TAT) continuously churn out which attempts to paint a very rosy picture on the level of foreign tourists flocking to Thailand each year.
We spoke to a number of hoteliers and small businesses and each are giving the same account; in that Western tourists have almost abandoned Thailand due to the continuous scams and rising levels of crime; all of which is perpetrated by Thais.
The tourism market now rests with the Chinese but at they are now experiencing, with a huge number of deaths due to the lack of basic safety standards, it’s likely that the Thais will soon kill off this market sectors as well and no doubt when the Thai Government come out to report the issues all blame will be squarely laid at the feet of the evil foreigner.
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