PM wants space at Wat Phra Kaew for religious activities

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The Ministry of Sports and Tourism has been told by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha to set a new order at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha or Wat Phra Kaew so that there will be a space for people to conduct religious activities while also allowing room for visitors to tour the famous temple, said Colonel Athisit Chainuwat, assistant government spokesman on Tuesday.

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The prime minister also expressed concern over the possible impacts from the recent crackdown on zero-dollar tour operators and associates and wanted the Ministry of Sports and Tourism to find out whether the crackdown had impacted on the current tourism promotion plan as a whole, he added.

Earlier last week, the Anti-Money Laundering Office ordered the seizure of about 13 billion baht worth of assets of two major Chinese companies operating zero-dollar package tours.  The companies were allegedly bringing Chinese tourists into Thailand at below-cost rate and, later on, forcing them into jewelry shops and overcharging them.