Tourism News

Tourism News Phuketwan Tourism News
facebook recommendations


Sign up now for our News Alert emails and the latest breaking news plus new features.

Click to subscribe

Existing subscribers can unsubscribe here


Santi Pawai serves closure notice papers on Sub Aqua on Phuket today

Phuket Tourism and Sport Chief Orders Dive Centre to Close

Monday, January 5, 2015
PHUKET: The Sub Aqua Dive Centre on Phuket was ordered to close today because of alleged deficiencies in the company's registration.

The closure order came from Phuket Tourism and Sport department director, Santi Pawai, and was delivered at 4pm today at the office in Karon,

Sub Aqua is a well-known brand of Sadc Co Ltd. The dive centre has good reviews on TripAdvisor and branches in Egypt, Maldives, Oman and Galapagos.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Too many foreigners in Phuket use Thai nominees to own and manage at 100% the Thai companies at the expense of properly registered Thai companies.

Dozens of civil servants, Tourist Protection Unit's Volunteers, Tourist Police Officers and Thai Army Men should check all tour guides and companies including dive centers and all freelance Instructors who have been setting up their own Limited Partnerships to check if they have:
1/- A paid-up registered capital of no less than 2 million Baht (Bank account, dive equipment, office equipment, car, the company name).
2/- A ratio of one alien employee per four permanent Thai employees.
3/- The Thai partners owning the 51% of shareholders (70% in case the company own a tour boat) and Thai company director(s) are genuine Thai investors/partners or just Thai nominees as it is the case in most Thai companies owned by foreigners.
4/- Those companies with websites, FaceBook pages or owning a tour boat, will need in extra to employ full-time a TAT licensed tour guide.

Note that Khun Santi Pawai has been nominated as TAT registration Office and Mrs Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul has been nominated by the NCPO as the Minister of Tourism & Sports and she is known to be a staunch advocate of anti-corruption and to have a house in order.

We hope they will do the crackdown on all coastal provinces along the Andaman Sea; other-way, foreigners will move to other provinces to avoid to be arrested and that will not stop them to work bookings through their Facebook pages and websites.

Many companies operated by foreigners are selling tours, diving and yachting charters and use PayPal for payments to avoid paying taxes in Thailand by diverting the money overseas.

Many freelance diving Instructors are looking for customers and book dive tours through Facebook pages and websites but do not have a TAT license or may have a TAT license but in fact those dive companies do not have TAT registered tour guides working full time for the companies .

Many TAT registered guides sign the official TAT application forms to valid the TAT license for tour and dive companies for money only; but they are in fact true Thai nominees or sitting-guides for those tour businesses which is completely illegal.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on January 5, 2015 22:27


@Whistle-Bloser: Are you boring again the entire internet community with this "nominee" staff nobody wants to hear about anymore!?

Posted by Jose on January 5, 2015 23:21


Two wrongs don't make a right, jet skis ? Parasailing ? Paying tax ? Public beaches being invaded again ?

Posted by SmokeBlower on January 6, 2015 03:43


Perhaps other countries should adopt a reciprocal arrangement for Thais living abroad.

Posted by reader on January 6, 2015 03:56

Editor Comment:

Don't laws apply to all everywhere, reader? Sounds like bigotry to me.


Cheery looking picture while they pose for the camera think they just won a merit award, wonder if the jet skis tuk tuks and parasails have any company deficiency's no doubt that is different!

Posted by slickmelb on January 6, 2015 07:53


Ed, Reader does have a valid point here - there are rules and laws for foreigners living in thailand that would not be allowed in other countries as they would be deemed racist (forbidden professions for example - how many taxi drivers in Sydney are Aussies ?)

Of course the laws must be adhered to - but that doesn't mean that the laws are fair.

That doesn't make your readers bigots. If Thais living in Australia or UK for example were subject to the and laws that foreigners living in thailand are subjected to, it would make life a lot more difficult

It's so nice that in our home countries we welcome diversity and give other cultures the chance to thrive.

Posted by Amazing Thailand on January 6, 2015 08:32

Editor Comment:

In Thailand, all residents in the country are equal before the law. The laws of most countries do not discriminate. Reader is suggesting they should. That's bigotry.


Yes, I think there were deficiencies. A pity though, this was one of the divecenters that gave honest information to the guests and taught their students well.

Posted by stevenl on January 6, 2015 08:59


@/Jose,Reader, all countries in Europe have strict laws that potential businesses have to follow, work permit when needed, registration. Why should Thailand be any different?

Posted by Elizabeth on January 6, 2015 09:36



I think what Reader was suggesting is that the LAWS and REGULATIONS be tit for tat.

Example: in Thailand, you have to have 4 Thai employees for each foreign work permit, then if a company, in the UK for example, wanted to hire a Thai, then they would have to have a minimum of 4 UK staff.

If a Thai wanted to work in the UK as a waiter, they would be prohibited, as that would be a job only allowed for UK citizens.

Thai's living overseas would only be allowed, by law, to be teachers, dive instructors, managers, or if they have enough registered capital and a resident in that country willing to be a signing director, then and only then, can they open their own business. Which in turn would be illegal, as they used a nominee to form the company.

Sounds ludicrous....this is Thailand.

Is it the law, yes.

If you don't like it, should you shut up or go home, yes.

If you go home should you lobby for changes to your own countries laws if you feel strongly about the way investors and foreigners wanting to work within the parameters of the law are treated in Thailand...yes.

Things are the way they are here and there is NO changing it.

Another note, Laws in Thailand are subject to a large 'grey' area open for interpretation. Even if you are 100% legal, there are ways to bend the laws to prosecute those who are truly innocent. I believe the ED is stuck in such a situation - he has truly done no wrong, but the laws are being used to prosecute him and his staff unjustly.

Posted by Tyler on January 6, 2015 11:12

Editor Comment:

Comparisons between developed countries and developing countries are not realistic.


Are you boring again the entire internet community with this "nominee" staff nobody wants to hear about anymore!?

WhistleBlower wrote:
I am not against foreigners working and/or investing in Thailand but there are laws which must be reinforced to have a fair competition in the tourism industry and today in the touring, diving and yachting businesses in Phuket and nearby provinces

It is a real mess as too many foreigners think that with money and bribes they can obtain legal documents with false documents to get the 51% obligatory Thai shares (70% for owning a Thai flagged transport boats such as dive boats, tour boats, yachts for charter) and the ratio of 4 Thai employees for a foreigner (2/i in case the foreigner is legally married to a Thai spouse) and a fictitious signature of a Thai guide to get issued a TAT license.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on January 6, 2015 11:35


Enforcement of laws is lacking in Thailand, so it is good to see it happen. Sub Aqua will probably have the deficiencies in the registration ironed out in no time and continue their work.

Posted by Sailor on January 6, 2015 12:43


Later this year surely all 10 nations will be able to do any job they are qualified for in each member state of Asean. Strange the guy is grinning when he is being closed down?

Posted by Fiesty Farang on January 7, 2015 13:18


Concerning Reciprocity,

Certain countries do have these laws in place, I'm pretty sure South Korea and Turkey have them in place against Thai citizens.
Ed, why should blatant discrimination be ok because a country is a developing country? I for one think reciprocity laws against thais would do wonders in the development of Thailand, laws would be changed to be less discriminatory immediately if reciprocity would happen. Is that not a sign of a country developing? Could be done gradually, over a period of say 5 years. Malaysia, a country not exactly miles ahead of Thailand economically, has got much more liberal less discriminatory laws, so I don't buy this "developing country vs developed country" argument at all. It's just discrimination, racism and protectionism, clear and simple.
I also don't understand why for example the EU and US accepts or don't care about racism/discrimination against its citizens in Thailand.

Posted by christian on January 7, 2015 13:48

Editor Comment:

''more liberal less discriminatory laws'' in Malaysia, where gays are persecuted? You may not buy the argument but there are very few aspects of Thai law where advantage is given to Thais. Jobs is one of them.



And the laws that doesn't allow the very basic thing of buying and owning a home would be another.

Posted by christian on January 7, 2015 17:16

Editor Comment:

Every country has restrictions of one kind or another to limit the buying power of foreigners, christian.


Quite simply this company changed Directorship in 2013. A farang was removed (as she left the country) and it went un-noticed that the lawyer also removed the Thai Director at the same time.
In mid-December, when applying for renewal of TAT license, this huge legal error became apparent. The pictured TAT Chief kindly let the company continue over New Year but explained shut-down would have to happen on 6th January 2015.
They were a company of paid-up registered capital 4 million Baht and employed one alien employee (with four permanent Thai employees). The mess-up came in the imbalance of Thai-Alien shareholders.
This has since been rectified (as it should never have happened in the first place) and Sub Aqua Dive Center should be fully operational again from some time in Mid-February.

Posted by Anonymous on January 10, 2015 19:43

Editor Comment:

That's good to hear. I am sure regular customers especially will be pleased. Khun Santi is actually Tourism and Sport. I think the TAT these days is purely a marketing organisation.


'Comparisons between developed countries and developing countries are not realistic.' What a bigoted statement! Say something against Thailand and Mr Ed finds it bigoted, when the shoe is on the other foot strangely it isn't.

Posted by Mister Ree on January 11, 2015 01:27

Editor Comment:

You appear to be trying to create an argument at every opportunity, Mister Ree, as well as raising old issues again. Give it a rest. Try adding value instead.
There is nothing bigoted about my comment. Please ask your friends to explain.

Thursday September 23, 2021
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa


Facebook Twitter