Two boats in Phuket accidents are substandard: Police

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BANGKOK, July 11 (TNA) - The two boats, that capsized off Phuket last Thursday fell short of safety standard, said the tourist police.

Deputy Tourist Police Chief, Pol Maj Gen Surachate Hakparn said that the two tour boats were operated below the standard with inadequate exits in case of an emergency and equipped with substandard life vests.

The police are inspecting documents from the two companies, operating the Phoenix tourist diving boat and the yacht Sereniga to check the company ownership as they assume that the companies are run by foreigners and use Thai nominees to register the businesses legally. They are suspected of avoiding tax.

The police also found encroachment on marine natural resource area and more investigation is under way to check whether the violation is linked to government officials, who might ignore the wrongdoing or illegally issue document for the tour operator to exploit the marine natural resource.

The deputy tourist police said most Chinese tourists buy one-day tours via online system. Some tour operators put profits before safety concerns.

Only two boats violated the warning about rough sea and ventured out to the sea on the day that the accidents happened, he said. (TNA)