Tan Check Ut first migrated to Thailand and set up home in Kalai District in Phang Nga province.
Tan Check Ut married Khom Na Phattalung, by whom he had six children. One of these was Tan Chin Guan. Born on 4th November, 1888, nine years before his father passed on. He began his education at Wat Mongkolnimitr (Wat Klang) school, where he was taught by the revered Wisutti Wongsajarnyarnmanee (Plao)
When he was 14 years old, Chin Guan’s brother Chin Hong sent him to China to study the Chinese language. When he returned, he joined Chin Hong in his tin mining business. After a while, when he felt he had amassed the skills to run a business himself, he left his brother and set up a mining company with friends.
Their first venture was an open cast mine which had been very lucrative for the previous owner. But for Chin Guan and his partners, it was a disappointment.
Undeterred by this setback, he tried different mining methods, switching from open cast mining to ground sluicing and shaft mining. A hands-on manager, he almost suffocated in a shaft one time when he went down to search for a tin vein. He spent so much time in the shaft that the oxygen in the air became so depleted that he could not even light a candle.
With his inquiring mind and his drive to amass knowledge, he kept searching for better ways to mine tin. When he learned that a new method, gravel pump mining, was becoming popular in Malaysia, he took a trip there to learn more. Convinced that this was the way to go, he began gravel pump mining in Phuket in 1927.
Although this method did not bear fruit immediately, Chin Guan was unfazed. He experimented, buying a ship’s generator and using it to power the pump instead of the more usual reciprocating diesel engine. He discovered that this reduced costs. He resolved to build a power station. On 9th January, 1930, an opening ceremony was held and the power station was fired up.
Somdej Prajao Baromwongtuer Chaofah Boripat Sukhumpun Krom Pranakornsawan Worapinit, the Prince of Nakorn Sawan, presided over the opening ceremony and in commemoration, named the mine “Muang Chaofah”.
Despite being very busy in the mining business, Tan Chin Guan was also an active philanthropist. For his charitable works he received the title of Luang Anuphasphuketkarn in 1931.
He was still thirsty for knowledge, and made frequent trips to Penang to study new mining techniques. Once the Chaofah mine had become successful, he decided, in 1938, to invest in one of the new tin dredgers and had it shipped to Baan Hinlad in Phang Nga province. He was the second Thai to own a dredger, the first being Phra Aramsakornket.
To ensure the smooth operation of tin mining, several other industries were necessary. Chin Guan therefore established a smelting plant, a sawmill, a lumber mill and, for the miners, a rice mill and an ice plant. He also moved into other businesses unrelated to tin mining – a soap plant, a brewery, rubber and coconut plantations, and a ferry service between Phuket and Kantang, in Trang Province.
Luang Anuphasphuketkarn’s success reached its zenith before World War II, when his businesses were all highly successful, making him very wealthy indeed. In Malaysia he was known as the Lord of Tin (錫礦王 ).
He decided it was time to look to the future and to secure it for generations to come. On 26th March, 1939, he founded Anuphas & Sons with authorized capital of 2.2 million Baht, and distributed shares among his wife and children.
Chin Guan had always admired his elder brother, Tan Chin Hong, who had himself received the title Luang Prateshjeenarak. When the Surname Act was promulgated in 1913, Luang Prateshjeenarak went to municipal administrator to register his surname as “Hongsyok”. Luang Anuphasphuketkarn requested to use the same surname, and this request was granted.
More honours were to follow. In 1953, Luang Anuphasphuketkarn received from His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Royal Thai decoration of Companion (Fourth Class) of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant (Captain rank).
In March 1959, His Majesty the King and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit Phra Borommarachininat graciously paid a royal visit to the Chaofah Mine to observe mining business. And on 6th October 1988, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn graciously paid a private royal visit to the mine to observe how it was run. The Hongsyok family have always been extremely grateful for these royal graces.
Luang Anuphasphuketkarn married his wife Looi Hoon in 1903 when he was 27 years old. At that time, he had just started out in business and was struggling, but Looi Hoon was always by his side. She passed away in 1953, but not before the couple had 10 children. One of these died in childhood. The others are or were:
Mrs. Yupa Hongsyok (Deceased) married to Mr. Soon Seng Hock (Deceased);
Mr. Virat Hongsyok (Deceased) married to Mrs. Boonsri (Scott);
Mr. Veerapong Hongsyok (Deceased) married to Mrs. Jintana ( Saeju);
Mr. Kanit Hongsyok (Deceased) married to Mrs. Pensri (Sawaspakdee);
Mrs. Yuwadee Chareonpitak (Deceased) married to Mr. Tawee Chareonpitak (Deceased);
Mr. Anek Hongsyok married to Mrs. Sukanya (Deceased);
Mr. Narong Hongsyok married to Mrs. Yaowaluk (Pokapol);
Mrs. Yupawadee Samutrassadong married to Mr. Naret Samutrassadong (Deceased)
Mr.Sanit Hongsyok (Deceased) married to Mrs. Bigui ( Odaom - Deceased)
The nine sons and daughters produced more than 40 grandchildren for Luang Anuphasphuketkarn. Some of the grandchildren are already married, producing between them more than 40 great-grandchildren.
Luang Anuphasphuketkarn was a father who love his children equally, as indicated when he made them all shareholders in his company. He also sent them to study at renowned schools in Penang and, later, in the United States of America. This was considered a great privilege for children from a middle class family; at that time it was usually only children of the nobility who had such opportunities. Once they graduated, he trained them to work with his employees until they became capable managers.
Luang Anuphasphuketkarn not only taught his children how to work and how to manage, but also how to value what they earned and to spend spend it wisely and effectively. By his example, he also showed them how to contribute to society through his philanthropic works. These included:
Donating land for construction of Baan Suan Mapraw School. Today the school, in Mai Khao Subdsitrict, is called Hongsyokbumroong School.
Constructing a temple in Kathu Subdistrict named Wat Anuphas Krisdaram.
Donating land for construction of the Mission Hospital in Phuket Town.
He also gave money to a number of charities, and was a founder of the Mining Industry Council, and its first chairman.
His lessons on civic service were plainly effective. His eldest son, Virat Hongsyok, was elected president of the Phuket Provincial Council and served a term as Mayor of Phuket Town.
His second son, Veerapong, served on the Phuket Municipal Management Committee for three terms, was a Phuket Municipal Councillor for two terms, and served as a member of the Phuket Provincial Council for two terms.
The third son, Mr. Kanit Hongsyok, was a Phuket Municipal Councillor.
The sixth son, Mr. Narong Hongsyok, served as a Provincial Council member for seven terms and was President for one term.
The next generation, too, have followed the example of Luang Anuphasphuketkarn. Lieutenant Phummisak Hongsyok, a son of Kanit Hongsyok, was elected to the Phuket Municipal Council and, after one term, became Mayor of Phuket Town for three terms, culminating with the town being upgraded to city status.
He was also chosen to become a member of the Thai National Legislative Assembly. Currently, he is a member of Thai National Senate.
Narong’s son, Songwut Hongsyok, has served as a member of Phuket Provincial Council and as a member of Phuket City Council. Currently, he is Leader of Phuket City Council.
At the beginning of 1962 Luang Anuphasphuketkarn fell ill and traveled to Bangkok for treatment. His condition improved and he returned to Phuket to recuperate, but this was only a temporary respite. His illness returned and he passed away on 2nd October 1962, at the age of 74.
His legacy lives on, though, in his hard-working children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who still work for Anuphas & Sons company and its subsidiaries to this day.
Anuphas & Sons Co Ltd
Anuphas & Sons was established by Luang Anuphasphuketkarn (Tan Chin Guan/Chin Guan Hongsyok) to ensure his own and his children’s financial security. It was registered on 26th March, 1939, with its offices at 74 Thepkasattri Road, Talad Yai Subdistrict, Muang Phuket District, Phuket.
Its main activity initially was tin mining in Wichit Subdistrict. It was one of the first Thai companies to use the gravel pump mining process, and the first to build a power station to power the pumps.
Somdej Prajao Baromwongtuer Chaofah Boripat Sukhumpun Krom Pranakornsawan Worapinit, the Prince of Nakorn Sawan, presided over the opening ceremony of the power station in 1930, and also named the mine “Muang Chaofah”.
The company also had mines in Ranong, Trang, and Nakhon Sri Thammarat, and Anuphas & Sons bought Thailand’s second tin dredger, basing it at Baan Hinlad in Phang Nga. In order to support round-the-clock mining operations, other industries were set up – a lathe workshop, a lumber mill and a rice mill, and the company branched out into other unrelated operations, including a soap factory, a brewery, rubber and coconut plantations, and a ferry service between Phuket and Kantang.
During 80 years of tin mining, the company become very successful. However, as returns from tin began to dwindle, the company diversified, and eventually withdrew entirely from the mining industry.
Anuphas & Sons manages three gas stations on behalf of Shell, along with the Tiny Coffee and Tiny Mart chains of shops, the Anuphas Paint Shop and Chaofah City. It has the following subsidiaries:
Anuphas Trading Co, registered on 22nd April 1980 as a local dealer for Mazda trucks and cars. The company has a showroom and currently deals in second-hand cars. Its offices are at 158 Phang Nga Road, Talad Yai Subdistrict, Muang Phuket District, Phuket.
Anuphas Trading Phuket Co, registered on 30th January 2001, is the local dealer for new Mazda trucks and cars. Also located at 158 Phang Nga Road, it has a service center which replaces the one formerly run by Anuphas Trading.
Anuphasvivitkarn Co, registered on 12th June 1989, was appointed by Honda Automobile (Thailand) Co., Ltd as the local dealer for Honda cars, originally at 189/1 Phang Nga Road, Talad Yai Subdistrict, Muang Phuket District, Phuket.
Recently, the company opened a new, larger showroom and service center to accommodate market expansion. This is at 90/8-9 Moo 2, Wichit Subdistrict, Muang Phuket District.
Anuphasvivitkarn (Phang Nga) Co, registered on 29th August 2002, is the Honda car dealer in Phang Nga Province. Located at 111 Moo 3, Khok Khloi Subdistrict, Takua Thung District, it has both a showroom and a service center.
Anuphaspramolkij Co was registered on 29th April 1987 and given the task of transforming an old tin mine in Kathu into a recreational venue.
Its first project was Phuket Country Club Phase 1 (now known as the Old Course). This was the first 18-hole standard golf course in Phuket. Apart from the golf course, the Country Club consists of a club house, two tennis courts, a swimming pool, a golf shop, a cafeteria, a guest room, a conference room and 104 plots of land for sale. Its office is at 80/1 Kathu Subdistrict, Kathu District.
With the first phase complete, a driving range was added for golfers to practice their technique. This consists of a two-story building with 52 driving booths, a cafeteria, and golf clubs for rent.
Phuket Country Club Phase 2 added a further nine holes (known as the Country Club Course) and a clubhouse three times the size of the original, a 25-meter swimming pool, a sauna, a gym, changing rooms, 80-seat and 120-seat cafeterias, a 120-seat conference room, and a golf shop with 140 land lots for sale. Its offices are at 97/4 Wichitsongkram Road, Kathu Subdistrict.
Phuket Golf Country Club Co was registered on 29th September 1989 to conduct construction for Anuphas & Sons subsidiaries and third parties. Its offices are also at 97/4 Wichitsongkram Road.
Anuphasmanorom Co, registered on 25th February 1993, was established to go into the property business, specifically town houses. Its first project was Suanluang Chaofah in Wichit Subdistrict, Muang Phuket. Its offices are at No. 2, Mu 4, Wichit Subdistrict, Muang Phuket District.
Sermsukanuphas Co was registered on 3rd September 1996 to manage the development of a three-story business building in Phang Nga Road, Talad Yai Subdistrict, Muang Phuket District. Its office is at 367/14 Yaowarat Road, Talad Yai Subdistrict, Muang Phuket District.
Anuphas Motor Sale Co was registered on 2nd June 1997 as the local dealer in Ford cars and pickup trucks, with a showroom and a service center at 90/9 Thepkasattri Road, Talad Yai Subdistrict, Muang Phuket District. The company was also appointed Ford distributor in Krabi, Trang, and Phang Nga. It has branches in Khok Khloi (at 77/14 Moo 3, Khok Khloi Subdistrict, Takau Thung District, Phang Nga) and in Takaupa (at 55/1-3 Moo 9, Petchakasem Road, Bang Naisee Subdistrict, Takaupa District, Phang Nga). The Krabi and Trang operations were later spun off as two separate companies, namely:
Anuphas Motor Sale (Krabi) Co, established five months later, on 14th November, is the Krabi dealer of Ford cars with a showroom and a service center at 129 Moo 11, Krabi Noi Subdistrict, Muang District, Krabi.
Anuphas Motor Sale (Trang) Co was registered on 10th March 2000, and is the Ford distributor in Trang, with a showroom and service center at 28/5 Pleunpitak Road, Tubtiang Subdistrict, Trang.
Anuphaspirom Resort Co, registered on 8th September 1998, was set up to manage real estate and hotel projects. Its offices are at 74 Thepkasattri Road, Talad Yai Subdistrict, Muang Phuket District.
APS Property Co, registered on 20th October 2005, was established to oversee medium-size commercial building projects. Its office is at 2 Moo 4, Wirathongsyok Road, Wichit Subdistrict, Muang Phuket district.
CoCoonplus Co was registered on 13th February 2008. It manages public and private building maintenance.
Blue Lagoon Phuket Co, registered on 2 November 2008, is a real estate company with an office rental function. It runs the Anuphas-developed Software Park at 88/4 Moo 2, Chaofah Nok Rd, Vichit Subdistrict, and has its offices there.
Anuphas SS Co, registered on 5th January 2008, manages an Anuphas-owned Shell petrol station on Chaofah Rd. Its offices are at 90/12 Moo 2, Wichit Subdistrict, Muang Phuket District.
The executives of Anuphas and Sons Co., Ltd. and its subsidiaries are Mr. Narong Hongsyok, Chairman of the board; and Mr. Montri Hongsyok and Lieutenant Phummisak Hongsyok, joint Managing Directors
Now in operation for 70 years, Anuphas & Sons Co., Ltd. employs 1,500 people. To this day, the descendants of Luang Anuphasphuketkarn are still managing or working in Anuphas companies, just as Luang Anuphas intended.
This is the mansion built by Luang Anuphasphuketkarn in the 1930s. The house was designed by Khun Pisarnsarakarm and took three years to complete.
It is built in the style known locally as “Ang Mor Lao” which means “foreign building”, denoting a form of architecture that combines Western and Chinese elements. The style is also known as Sino-Portuguese or Sino-Colonial.
This style of architecture, with a European colonial structure embellished by Chinese artisans, first arose in Melaka, where Europeans had settled, and then spread through the Straits Settlements to Phuket.
The house is built on a plot of 8,000 square meters. The two-floor building has a footprint of roughly 1,200 square meters and has the following rooms: five family bedrooms, a guest bedroom, a study, a Buddha room, two living rooms – one large and one small – an 18-seat dining room, the main hall, a laundry, and sundry other rooms.
All the furniture and fittings were ordered from Bangkok and most, including fans and light fittings, still function today. Floor mosaics and roof tiles came from England and remain in excellent condition despite several floods the house has endured.
The current owner is Mrs. Boonsri Hongsyok, widow of the eldest son of Luang Anuphasphuketkarn, Virat Hongsyok. She upholds Luang Anuphas’ intention that the house should be the physical centre of the Hongsyok family. Every year, relatives return to the house to take part in the Qing Ming festival, paying their respects to their ancestors.
Whenever important guests of the family visit Phuket, the house serve as a guest house for them. When a Hongsyok is about to marry, a traditional marriage ceremony, the Tea Ceremony, is held at Hongsyok Mansion, just as Luang Anuphasphuketkarn intended.
The Hongsyok family takes every care to preserve the house in its original condition. For this effort, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn graciously presented a certificate to the Hongsyok family at the Architecture 30 exhibition in 1987. Members of many institutes have visited Hongsyok Mansion for educational purpose and many TV dramas had been filmed in the house.
The Chaofah Mine
The Chaofah Mine is in Wichit Subdistrict, Muang Phuket District, Phuket. The techniques used in mining tin there changed several times after it first opened in 1917, from shaft mining to open-pit mining and other methods. However, the license granted by the provincial Department of Underground Resources stipulated that only one mining method might be used and Luang Anuphasphuketkarn finally settled on gravel pump mining.
Luang Anuphasphuketkarn was always a seeker of new knowledge. When he heard, in 1927, that a new mining method, using gravel pumps, was becoming popular in Malaysia, he traveled to see how this worked. He decided it suited his purposes and began gravel pump mining at the Chaofah Mine in the same year. He was among the first to use this new technique in Thailand.
At first the pump was powered using a diesel reciprocating engine to generate electricity but this turned out to be expensive, so he bought a ship’s generator, believing it would be less costly to run. He was right; this generator worked well and cut his overheads significantly. Following this, he decided to build a poser station for the mine.
The origin of the name “Chaofah Mine”
During a trip to Phuket in 1930, Somdej Prajao Baromwongtuer Chaofah Boripat Sukhumpun Krom Pranakornsawan Worapinit, the Prince of Nakorn Sawan, came to observe mining operations in the Wichit District. On 9th January, he presided over the opening ceremony for the new power station, and gave the mine the name “Chaofah Mine”.
Later in March 1959, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit Phra Borommarachininat graciously paid a royal visit to Chaofah Mine to observe operations. And on 6th October 1988, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn graciously paid a royal private visit to the mine to observe how Chaofah mine was operated. The Hongsyok family is always extremely grateful for these royal graces.
The end of mining
In the late 1980s and early ’90s, the emphasis of Thai government policy swung away from tin mining in Phuket and towards tourism. This, combined with the falling prices paid for tin ore – to the point where mining was no longer profitable – prompted Anuphas & Sons to close the mine in 1992.