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Phuket Officials Ordered to Intensify Crackdown on Foreign Nominee Land Ownership

  • 4 weeks ago
  • Blog
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Phuket officials in a meeting discussing foreign nominee land ownership crackdown strategies.

Phuket officials have been directed by national Ombudsman Songsak Saicheua to address the issue of foreigners using nominees to own land, a practice that poses significant economic and social risks to Thailand.

Key Takeaways

  • National Ombudsman Songsak Saicheua has ordered Phuket officials to tackle the issue of foreign land ownership through nominees.
  • The practice is widespread and poses economic and social risks.
  • Recent crackdowns have led to the arrest of over 200 individuals and the seizure of assets worth over 1.5 billion baht.

Ombudsman’s Directive

Phuket officials have been instructed by national Ombudsman Songsak Saicheua to resolve the issue of foreigners owning land through nominees. This practice is so prevalent that it threatens the national economy. The directive was issued during a teleconference involving officials from multiple provinces, including Phuket, Surat Thani, Krabi, Phang Nga, and Prachuap Khiri Khan.

Widespread Issue

The problem of foreigners using nominees to own land is particularly severe in tourist and agricultural areas. Investors from countries like China, Russia, India, Pakistan, and Myanmar are heavily involved. Methods include using Thai nationals through family relationships, renting or purchasing through Thai nationals, and setting up Thai legal entities to later transfer ownership.

Recent Crackdowns

Recent operations have led to the arrest of 231 suspects, including 98 foreigners, mostly Russians. Assets worth over 1.5 billion baht were seized. The Economic Crime Suppression Division (ECSD) of the Royal Thai Police targeted Thai nominee networks helping foreigners set up real estate companies. Seized assets included 225 bank accounts, 245 land documents, and documents related to the setting up of 800 companies.

Legal and Environmental Concerns

The current laws are outdated and ineffective in addressing this issue. Recommendations have been made to urgently amend the relevant laws. The transformation of conservation and agricultural areas into construction sites is destroying natural landscapes and environments, particularly on Koh Samui. Some land title documents may also be incorrect or not legally compliant, leading to the sale of land to foreign investors.

Future Actions

Ombudsman Songsak has called for a central law specifically addressing ‘camouflage’ agents and transactions. Relevant government agencies are urged to strictly enforce the laws to protect the nation’s security and interests. The Office of the Ombudsman is investigating the issue, considering related laws, research, and opinions from various sectors.

Conclusion

The crackdown on foreign land ownership through nominees is a significant step towards protecting Thailand’s economic and social stability. With over 200 arrests and the seizure of substantial assets, the government is taking serious measures to address this widespread issue.

Sources

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Gaël Ovide-Etienne
Gaël oversees all marketing efforts for Ocean Worldwide. He manages marketing campaigns to connect with prospective buyers, conducts research and market analysis, and leverages AI to enhance all aspects of the business. This approach ensures better and faster results for our buyers and sellers.

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