The Phuket provincial police chief disputed reports in foreign media that an increasing number of Russians are unlawfully working and conducting companies. Pol Maj Gen Sermphan Sirikong and representatives from tourism industry convened a briefing in response to an Al Jazeera article saying that Russians have taken over the island’s economy.
Since Wednesday, the report has gone viral on social media.
According to the Al Jazeera article, a big number of Russians purchased real estate on the island, causing property prices to rise and Russians to take jobs from Thais, such as taxi pick-ups. According to the allegation, Russian criminals are now settling on the island.
However, according to Pol Maj Gen Sermphan, there have only been three incidents involving Russian criminals in the last five years. He stated that the majority of cases involved commercial disagreements and that no cases involved mafia groups.
Immigration police, according to Pol Col Thanet Sukchai, superintendent of Phuket Immigration police, are working with relevant agencies on the island to manage such instances involving foreigners infringing the kingdom’s laws.
From January through August, police prosecuted 635 foreigners, 78 of whom were Russians. Only six of the Russian offenders worked without a permit, according to Pol Col Thanet.
According to him, the province governor has directed the Damrongdhama Centre to create a Traffy Fondue mobile application that will allow individuals to make complaints about this issue online.
According to Thanet Tantipiriyakit, president of the Phuket Tourist Association, the majority of visitors to Phuket are from Russia. When compared to 2019, the number of Russian tourists increased by roughly 80%.
According to tourism data in Phuket from January to August, almost 2.46 million foreign tourists visited the island, 487,504 of whom were Russians.
According to the Al Jazeera article, the growing number of Russians on the island coincides with their own country experiencing economic hardship and uncertainty as a result of the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
Mr. Thanet stated that the majority of Russian tourists had brief stays in the kingdom, while 9,275, or 1.9% of all Russian tourists, stayed on the island on a long-term visa.
Russian tourists have been a significant demographic in Thailand’s tourism industry for many years. Thailand is a popular destination for Russian travelers due to its warm climate, beautiful beaches, cultural attractions, and relatively affordable prices.