Thailand: AML laws used on small corrupt businesses

The Anti-Money Laundering police division in Phuket has flexed its muscles to seize cash from allegedly corrupt taxi and tuk-tuk firms around the island.

English: Thai students going to school by tuk ...

English: Thai students going to school by tuk tuk. Italiano: Studenti thailandesi che stanno andando a scuola con il tuk tuk. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The crack down on Phuket’s tuk-tuk ‘mafia’ began in earnest after the Thai army took control of the country in May when Phuket police, with the support of the Army, dismantled numerous illegal taxi stands in the province in response to the taxi drivers’ cartel-like grip over transport in Phuket. Taxi, tuk-tuk and motorbike drivers across Thailand should follow pricing guidelines issued to them by the regional authorities. Some even display them in their cabs and charge customers accordingly. Unfortunately, others see a foreigner approaching and immediately rack up the price.

Police in Phuket seized an estimated 200,000THB (6,300USD) from the bank account of a taxi and tuk-tuk cooperative in the Karon-Kata area of Phuket. Although this is small time compared to the estimated sums extorted from businesses and tourists annually across Thailand – you only have to spend a few months in country before you start hearing the same tales of protection payments and overcharging – it is a step in the right direction and should send out a warning shot to other travel and transport cartels.

Financial Crime Asia is surprised to find out that Phuket Police had its own AML department, but pleased to read that it is being used to root out corruption.

Source: Phuketwan

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