(22 May) Phuket police have arrested a group of illegal Chinese selling overpriced amulets and other artifacts.
In a press conference, officers of Phuket immigration police said the arrested workers are identified as Mr.Aa Ming, 38; Mr.Xiao Ma, 22; Mr.Beng, 29; Mr.Aayi, 24; Mr. Aa Ming, 25; Mr.Aa Gui, 30; Mr. Aa Hua, 22; Mr.Aa Meng, 38; and Mr.Aa Ju, 39.
According to the police, the investigative officers uncovered the Chinese suspects selling Buddha coins, sacred objects, and souvenirs illegally. At the scene, all the suspects were apprehended in the compound of Pratoo Temple. They were assisting Chinese tourists in performing religious rites at the temple. They were all wearing yellow t-shirts with rowel symbols.
The officers observed the suspects for a while to determine their identity, and asked them for their paperwork and permits. The suspects had Chinese passports, but did not have work permits, and were subsequently arrested.
These men in the yellow shirt uniform sectioned off an area of the temple to perform religious rites and pray, police said. Local tour bus drivers call them “The Chinese Rowel Gang” and informed police that they have caused much damage to the tourists in the area, selling fake sacred objects and Buddha coins and prints at a very high price.
Police said the gang changes their location often and Thai citizens are believed to be involved in the scam. The suspects confessed and were charged with working as unauthorised aliens.