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Thailand’s Immigration “Arrests 319 Foreigners” in Nation-Wide Sting Operation

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BANGKOK – Thailand’s Pol Maj Gen Surachate Hakparn, acting Immigration Bureau chief told a media briefing yesterday that a total of 319 foreigners were arrested for immigration offenses in the latest “outlaw tourists” raids, which targeted 337 locations across Thailand.

Teams from local, immigration, tourist police and other agencies descended on premises in Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Sawan and other provinces, targeting people at one language school, two secondary schools and 334 other places frequented by foreigners.

Ninety-six of those arrested (65 from Myanmar, 13 from India, 7 from Laos, 4 from Vietnam, 2 each from Cambodia and Russia, one each from China, Ghana and Nigeria) were charged with overstaying their visas.

The longest over-stayer was Francis Okai, 36, a Ghanaian man caught in Bangkok 656 days after he should have left, followed by Arjun Kumar Yadav, 30, an Indian national caught in Kanchanaburi for overstaying 162 days, and a Vietnamese woman, Nguen Thi Ngoc, 28, who was arrested in Nakhon Sawan 60 days after her visa expired, Pol Maj Gen Surachate siad.

According to the Bangkok Post the raids were the 21st phase of operation X-Ray Outlaw Foreigner, which aims to sweep out foreign criminals entering the country to commit crime, such as romance scams, credit card skimming and drug trafficking, and those who overstay their visas, the acting Immigration Bureau chief said.

To date, a total of 2,273 people had been arrested during raids at 4,496 locations across the country. Authorities would continue the crackdown, imposed stricter measures and search more locations in tourist provinces and border areas to boost overall safety for tourists, he said.

All the arrested foreigners would be put on police blacklists and deported to their home countries, Pol Maj Gen Surachate said.

By Wassayos Ngamkham