PHUKET – Police on this tourist island arrested 30 Russians in raids at a Patong bay nightlife zone, the local online news service Phuketwan reported yesterday.
Police said they were checking for human trafficking and prostitution with Russian nationals the main target.
The raids also focused on time-share touts and other foreigners who are selling scams to tourists, but the main emphasis was to crackdown on Russians who are entering the country as tourists and working in the entertainment business on the island without work permits.
The Labor Department and several other government authorities joined in the raids that netted more than 30 persons who were questioned at a local police station.
They were ordered to show details of work permits, visas and other documents. Prostitution is illegal in Thailand therefore not on the list of occupations covered by work permits.
Local residents and businesses in Karon and Bang Tao, have been agitating to rid the districts of Russian-run businesses including illegal tour companies.
According to the Phuketwan report, Phuket tour guides also protested at Phuket Provincial Hall in Phuket City mainly about Chinese-nationality guides taking their jobs. They are also concerned about Russian and Korean guides.
Recently some tour companies were questioned over their shareholding following reports that companies were owned outright by Russian nationals. At least one company was struck off the Ministry of Tourism and Sports register for travel agencies. – by TTRweekly