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Tour officials being asked to explain at a meeting this afternoon

Phuket Officials, Military Seek 40 Million Baht from Chinese Tour Company

Monday, September 8, 2014
PHUKET: A well-known Chinese business operating in Thailand was being given one last chance today to pay 40 million baht owed to smaller Phuket tourism-related companies or face being closed down.

Phuket police and Royal Thai Navy personnel were delivering the ultimatum to Thai Xin Ya Zhou Tour (Thailand) Co Ltd, whose 40 or so buses are regularly seen carrying tourists around the holiday island.

According to the operators of about 10 Phuket businesses - including Simon Cabaret, Aphrodite Cabaret and Sea Star Tour - a change in management at the Chinese company has led to them severing all connections with their former business partners.

''What we have been told is that we will need to seek the money we are owed from the people who were previously behind Thai Xin Ya Zhou Tour,'' said Keangsak Klongsamut, marketing manager at Sea Tour.

He said that Sea Tour was owed five million baht, accumulated since April, although the change at the top of the Chinese business took place in June. About 40 million baht in invoices to Phuket companies was outstanding, he added.

There was great alarm because it was believed that the ''new'' Thai Xin Ya Zhou Tour was buying its own boats and restaurants and looking at investing in its own resort, Khun Keangsak said.

Thai Xin Ya Zhou Tour operates throughout Thailand, not just on Phuket.

Today's investigation by police and the Royal Thai Navy also involves Santi Pawai, chief of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and now taking a serious approach to his new role as Director of the Business and Guide Registration Branch.

With a crackdown underway, the Chinese business may have chosen the wrong time to change investors and neglect to cover outstanding debts.

The companies who are owed money are anxious to achieve an outcome that allows them to recover what they are owed. Officials were hoping to be able to quickly mediate the dispute with quick payment of the outstanding debts.

In the broader context, officials are concerned that a change of this kind within Thai Xin Ya Zhou Tour could also be attempted by Russian and Korean companies who also cater to large numbers of package tourists.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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I can't help but to wonder how K. Keangsak can possibly know what this Chinese tour company owes beyond his company. We also do not know if his claim of 5m is undisputed or not. The figure of 40m surely sounds convincing when trying to sell this story to the military and media. With AEC approaching fast, a major rethink of pricing and customer service levels will be crucial for the survival of many Thai companies.

Posted by Herbert on September 8, 2014 15:23

Editor Comment:

There's a tall pile of documents from all the Thai companies, Herbert. Today's action wouldn't have been taken without evidence. Do you have some particular reason for calling the investigation into doubt? You don't have a record of springing to people's defence.

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The report is one-sided and does not make any mention of the records or present the Korean side of the story. Do you have some particular reason to omit such information ?

Posted by Herbert on September 8, 2014 16:01

Editor Comment:

What Korean side of the story? You are very confused, Herbert.
It's Chinese, not Korean. The article was published before the mediation session took place but the essential facts remain unaltered. The non-payment of the debts are attributed to changes at the company, as the article says. Unless you have some personal knowledge of the case, it seems to me unreasonable to complain that we deliver the news with speed and accuracy. The historical accounts will appear in a day or two.

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"I bought the company, ask the others for your money, nothing to do with me." How audacious by new management to claim they are free of this debt. The company is liable. If the new owners have a problem with it, they have to settle with the old ones, not the debtors. They have to pay its debt or go bust.

Posted by Lena on September 9, 2014 00:49

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So confusing in Thailand...Is this not a civil case? Why is Phuket gov/admin involved? Has some law been broken? Certainly unethical business practice but it does beg a few questions..

Posted by david on September 9, 2014 06:50

Editor Comment:

Martial law trumps everything right now. Without prejudging this case, the total sum and the apparent circumstances are clearly cause for intervention. The first serious attempt to clean up the Phuket tour industry has already been announced. Now it's happening, with the Army's backing. Not so surprising. Those who has been flying under the radar are now exposed. Those who bargain on time allowing them leeway are no longer immune.

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"clearly cause for intervention" Why? many a tourist and resident have/has been relieved of or owed copious amounts of cash under dubious circumstances,by defaulters ..perhaps this a precedent??? Should there not be a court case perhaps creating a precedent?..maybe not ...martial law and all I guess?

Posted by david on September 9, 2014 14:27

Editor Comment:

There is no point in creating a precedent in court, david. There is no case law.


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