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Thailand’s Retirement Visa Income Requirement in Question Due to Foreign Gangs

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Thailand's Retirement Visa Income Requirement in Question Due to Foreign Gangs

The police in Thailand are now looking into five major biker gangs based in the country after arresting the leader, an Austrian national, and some members of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club.

The arrest of gang boss “Mr Thomas” follows the June murder of Hans Peter Walter Mack, 62, a German property trader in Nong Prue district, Chon Buri, by a gang member, Olaf Thorsten Brinkmann.

Police also detained three more suspects in the murder case: Petra Christl Grundgreif, 54, Nicole Frevel, 52, and Shahrukh Karim Uddin, 27.

According to Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, deputy national police chief, authorities are still attempting to eliminate crimes committed by foreign gangs in Thailand.

Five major gangs are on our radar, he said, listing them as the Outlaws Motorcycle Club or Outlaws MC, Hells Angels Motorcycle Club or Hells Angels, Bandidos Motorcycle Club or Bandido Nation, Mongols Motorcycle Club or Mongol Brotherhood and Vagos Motorcycle Club or Green Nation.

He added that the Outlaws had networks in Phuket and Koh Samui in Surat Thani and other parts of the country, primarily tourist spots.

Members of the gang typically ride large motorbikes such as Harley-Davidson motorcycles, have tattoos, and are involved in narcotic drug distribution as well as other criminal activities such as assault, extortion, theft, loan-sharking, fraud, money laundering, attempted murder, or murder.

He claims that most of the gangs in Thailand are run by Australians and are multinational outlaw motorcycle organizations with members from all over the world.

Some members travel to Thailand and dwell in tourist areas such as Phuket, Pattaya, and Koh Samui.

Their intended audience consists of foreigners. They demand protection costs from foreigners who wish to do business in cities where the gang is active, and they may even kidnap them for money.

“They don’t harm Thais because they know they’ll get in more trouble than foreigners who will soon fly back to their home countries,” he explained.

Changing Immigration Laws

According to Pol Gen Surachate, the gang members picked Thailand because of the lack of strict law enforcement and corrupt politicians.

As an example, he cited the Immigration Act. He claims that the 1979 law needs to be updated and revised.

For example, he said that acquiring a retirement visa is simple, adding that the law requires any foreigner over 50 to have at least 800,000 baht in their bank account or an income certificate with a monthly wage of at least 65,000 baht. That threshold needs to be higher and aid in screening qualified applications.

A lack of bank statement inspection by Immigration Bureau (IB) personnel allows some immigrants to disguise their bank accounts.

Some even receive assistance from visa firms or IB officials, like the February case in which 107 immigration officers assisted more than 3,000 Chinese nationals involved in “grey” businesses in obtaining visas, he claimed.

Stronger visa requirements could help keep gang members and individuals on international criminal blacklists out of the country.

“Foreigners do not feel safe as long as mafia gangs exist.” They might wish to avoid visiting Pattaya or investing in the Eastern Seaboard. This causes significant harm to the country,” he warned.

Safety of International Visitors in Thailand

According to Pol Gen Surachate, police must create trust among locals and visitors. They must uphold the law and safeguard the safety of international visitors.

“We will root out bad actors not only among gangs, but also among police officers and agencies dealing with foreigners.” “When foreign visitors come to Thailand, we need to make them feel safe,” he stated.

Another example he gave was the kidnapping a 22-year-old Chinese student from her Chinese family for a ransom of 500,000 yuan (2.3 million baht).

In April, the student was discovered abused and murdered, with her body thrown in a ditch in Nonthaburi. China apprehended the kidnappers.

The news of the tragedy circulated quickly, scaring off many Chinese guests who decided not to visit the kingdom. In March, police detained three Chinese nationals for kidnapping a fellow citizen in Bangkok and extorting 3.2 million baht from her.

He added that the Chinese embassy warned its nationals about scams and frauds to keep them from falling victim. The occurrences demonstrate that Chinese visitors to Thailand are concerned about their safety.

“If we cannot suppress crimes against foreigners, not only Chinese visitors will avoid the place; visitors from other countries, such as those from Europe, will also avoid the place,” he stated.

Once a new government is in place, he will request that the new cabinet alter the immigration law, particularly regarding visa extensions, through the police chief.

“We will make the law tough to screen out bad people,” he said, “but it will also be a tool to help foreigners, especially investors, who can obtain a five-year visa without having to be checked every year.”

Regarding biker gangs, he stated that the Outlaws gang had been expelled from Pattaya. The police have expanded their probe into the group to include Phuket and Koh Samui.

“There will be no such crime gangs if police strictly enforce the law.” But if we slack off or become comfortable accepting bribes, international criminal organizations will scent it and travel to Thailand to cause havoc. “We must prevent that from happening for the sake of everyone’s safety,” he stated.

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