Chinese ‘zero-dollar’ tour hotel shut down

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Special Branch police shut down the Longma Pattaya Hotel allegedly owned by an illegal Chinese immigrant as part of an operation to seize 43 of his properties around the country.
Special Branch police shut down the Longma Pattaya Hotel allegedly owned by an illegal Chinese immigrant as part of an operation to seize 43 of his properties around the country.

PATTAYA –  Special Branch police shut down a Pattaya-area hotel allegedly owned by an illegal Chinese immigrant as part of an operation to seize 43 of his properties around the country.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Surachet Hakpal led a task force of 50 officers to seize the Longma Pattaya Hotel on Soi Jomtien Holiday in Sattahip’s Najomtien Sub-district July 18. Purported owner Anuchit Maorungroj was not present and is now a fugitive.

Surachet claimed Anuchit faked identification documents to show he was a Thai national but is, in fact, Chinese and in the country illegally. He opened Thai Tong Yi Co. and Muang Thai International Travel Group to run outlawed “zero-baht” tours that used both his own hotels and unlicensed Chinese guides.

Several guides were arrested in the operation.

Longma, police said, was not licensed, did not meet building standards for hotels and the building itself was illegally extended.

Anuchit’s attorney, Piya Boonchu said July 19 that the Special Branch completely botched the operation and that he, not Anuchit, has been the owner of the Longma hotel for more than a month

He said the hotel operated under a legal holding company and has all the proper documentation, which he planned to furnish to authorities.

Piya even predicted the Najomtien resort would reopen soon.

The seizure of the Longma Pattaya Hotel is part of a larger Special Branch operation against Anuchit, who also is wanted on arrest warrants in Bangkok and Tak provinces for tax evasion and exploiting tourists.

The police unit seized 42 properties on July 14. The Longma is valued at 200 million baht.