Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce will launch an investigation into the two operators of the capsized tour boat to determine whether they are illegally owned by foreign entities.
Director-General of the Department of Business Development, Kulanee Issadisai, revealed that both companies in question are legally incorporated and are conducting business in accordance to their stated purpose.
However, she said her department will visit Phuket, along with relevant agencies such as the Tourism Police, the Department of Tourism, the Revenue Department, the Anti-Money Laundering Office and local agencies, to expand on the investigation of the two companies to determine whether they are owned illegally by foreign entities.
If found in violation of business statutes, the foreign owners and Thai nominees will be subject to imprisonment for no longer than three years, a fine between 100,000 to one million baht, or both.
Failure to comply with a court order is punishable by a fine of between 10,000 and 50,000 baht per day of the outstanding violation.
Kulanee blamed the capsize on a failure to comply with government regulations and lack of concern for tourist safety.
She urged businesses to follow the guidelines of relevant state agencies strictly, in order to mitigate any damage caused by unexpected events. – NNT