Thai people who allow their names to be used by foreigners as nominees to open businesses reserved for Thai nationals may face prison terms of three years and/or a fine of between 100,000 baht and a million baht, said Thosapone Dansuputra, director-general of Business Development Department, today.
He said that foreigners are not allowed to open businesses selling food or drinks, as he responded to reports that Chinese businessmen had purchased a number of food shops in the Chinatown area.
He explained that foreigners who want to open a food shop must get a permission from the Business Development Department, adding that Thai people who co-invest with foreign partners in such business must show their bank accounts, to prove that they have the financial resources to invest and are not just acting as a nominee.
To take legal action against foreign businessmen who uses Thais as their nominees, he said that there must be clear evidence that their Thai partners deliberately allowed themselves to be used as nominees and concealed the fact to help the foreigners.
Thosapone said that his department has cooperated with the Labour Ministry in checking businesses which have foreigners as partners or shareholders, to find out if the businesses were properly registered.