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Prawit Wongsuwon, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister, has instructed local authorities in the province of Surat Thani to stamp out foreign mafia groups according to a report in the Bangkok post. The move comes after a shooting in a bar on Koh Phangan last Tuesday. Nobody was hurt during the incident, however panic did break out and resulted in the arrest of a Russian and three Thai nationals.
Surat Thani provincial governor Wongsiri Phromchana told government agencies in the province to step up measures to suppress foreign mafia gangs after receiving the orders from Gen Prawit. Koh Samui and Koh Phangan will be the main focus of the clamp down.
A major crackdown in Samui and Phangan is now expected. Mr Wongsiri says he has received reports of foreigners illegally operating businesses such as resorts and restaurants on both islands as well as Koh Tao and he believes that these businesses have become meeting points for local mafia and their crime networks. Gen Prawit went on to say that he will order the launch of a massive inspection of those businesses as well as their money trails and great attention will be paid to mafia style influential foreigners. He went on to stress that Thai state officials must not be involved with or support foreign criminal activities. Those found to be involved will face stiff punishment he said, we have to get tough on these people, or they may damage the tourism businesses of the province he added.