SURAT THANI – Three students from University College Cork have launched an online appeal to find the kind Irish strangers who helped them avoid being arrested in Thailand.
Sorcha Cotter, Maeve Nevin Maguire and Nicole Yap were traveling from Surat Thani airport in Thailand to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia but found they had overstayed their visas.
When attempting to leave the country, authorities fined them 10,500 baht, the equivalent of €300, and said if they could not pay they would be brought to a police station and prosecuted.
“We had no cash on us so, shaking, we hysterically called our parents at 5am Irish time,” said Sorcha.
Sorcha’s parents managed to transfer €300 to her bank account. Unfortunately, the ATM at the airport would only let them withdraw a maximum of €150.
With 30 minutes until their flight, the students, who had had their passports confiscated, pleaded with Thai immigration officers.
“We were told that if we didn’t pay immediately we would be brought to the police station detained and prosecuted,” said Sorcha.
The students said the authorities would only accept cash and would not accept credit card or online payment.
As a last resort, they sought out a young Irish couple they met at the airport and reluctantly asked them for money.
“One of the nicest things anyone has ever done for us was those people giving three desperate girls 500 baht,” said Sorcha.
The students, however, failed to get the couple’s names and have started an online search to thank them.
- If anyone knows of an Irish woman with curly blonde hair traveling in the area with a dark-haired man, contact email@example.com or at firstname.lastname@example.org