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They arrived! One Thai/Australian family’s battle to re-unite.

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Common sense has prevailed and the uphill task faced by father Sam Kelly last week has had a favourable ending with his Thai wife, Kannika, and 2 children. Ronny and Adam, arriving safely this morning in Brisbane, Australia. His months-long battle with common sense and the vagaries of Thai officialdom has resulted in at least one family being re-united soon – one of many such cases. Not all of them end as well with families around the world still separated by border closures, bans and lack of flights.

This time last week the prospects of Sam’s family getting onto a repatriation flight, organised by the Australian Embassy in Bangkok, looked doubtful as capricious Thai red tape was shuffling his family around as they battled to get from their base in Phuket to Bangkok and then onto the flight. The repatriation flights are rare and seats extremely limited. The flights are a bureaucratic nightmare to organise and Sam was doubtful last week that all the pieces of the paperwork puzzle would fall in place.

Suffice to say Sam, speaking to The Thaiger this morning, was overjoyed.

“They made it! My family have arrived in Brisbane safely and are currently undertaking their mandatory quarantine period there.”

In Australia, the government pays all the bills for the mandatory 14 day quarantine period. Kannika and the 2 boys are staying at a five star hotel in the heart of Brisbane. Sam is stuck on an offshore oil rig with another 3 weeks of work ahead of him before he can be re-united with his family.

You can read the whole background to Sam, Kannika, Ronny and Adam’s adventures to re-unite HERE.

“There are many people we would like to thank, and forgive me if I miss anyone. Firstly from the bottom of my heart I would like to thank the senior Thai government officers that were directly involved…

• General Anupong Phaojinda (พลเอก อนุพงษ. ์เผ่าจินดา) Minister of The Interior รัฐมนตรีว่าการกระทรวงมหาดไทย

• Mr.Chatchai Phomlert นายฉัตรชัย พรหมเลิศ Permanent Secretary ปลัดกระทรวงมหาดไทย

• Mr.Thanakom Jongjira นายธนาคม จงจิระ Director General อธิบดีกรมกาปกครอง

• Mr.Pinij Boonlert นายพินิจ บุญเลิศ Pathumthani Governor ผู้ว่าราชการจังหวัดปทุมธานี

• Mr. Jirawat Dusadeetharangkool นายจิรวัฒน์ ดุษฎีธารางกูร ปลัดอาวุโส ธัญบุรี (Thanyaburi District Senior Officer)

• Mr.Pisanu Prapathananun นายพิษณุ ประภาธนานันท์ Thanyaburi District Chief นายอำเภอธัญบุรี

These officials moved mountains and did everything within the Thai law to make sure my family was safe and released in time for the flight. Without these people we may have not be back together for many more months.

I would also like to thank…

• The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra and The Australian Consulate in Bangkok. The staff here have worked very hard to get everything sorted with the relevant Thai authorities for my family to make this flight. I cant even begin to explain how many phone calls and emails were bouncing back and forth between us all.

• All my friends and family from the 4 corners of the globe, Maritime Union of Australia members, the Phuket expat community and the Thai and Australian media who all got involved in my plight. Much love to you all and thankyou for all the phone calls that were made and emails that were sent on our behalf.

Lastly but not least, We would like to thank Australian Ambassador McKinnon and the Thai Government for chartering and arranging these repatriation flights. The effort that goes into this is unbelievable.”

They arrived! One Thai/Australian family's battle to re-unite. | News by Thaiger They arrived! One Thai/Australian family's battle to re-unite. | News by Thaiger They arrived! One Thai/Australian family's battle to re-unite. | News by Thaiger

They arrived! One Thai/Australian family's battle to re-unite. | News by Thaiger

 

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Michael Lewis

    Saturday, June 6, 2020 at 12:18 pm

    The whinging Aussie has put the Thai authorities and Aussie Embassy yhrough needless troubles for this so called reunification. The guy is working offshore 4/4week rotation and because he could not spend his 4 week home leave with his wife in the luxury surrounds of Phuket Island home base because of the covid-19 lockdown he decided to change his home base back to his native country Australia. There are cases far more deserving than the one of this selfish individual. Shame on Thaiger for supporting this nonesense, can we assume that this guy has personal connections with Thaiger staff? Do you realise that some tourists have been stranded here in Thailand unable to return home where family members have died from covid-19 .

  2. Avatar

    Clyde James

    Saturday, June 6, 2020 at 3:26 pm

    The statistics on infection rates in many countries are dependent on what segments of the population are tested, the amount of testing and the number of tests conducted and test methods being used, and many other variables. They are at best a guess as to what the actual infection rates appear to be.
    Amid the discussions of travel bubbles and limited entry of foreign tourists into Thailand, one issue must be made clear to Thailand’s Immigration Authorities. Foreigners stranded outside of Thailand that are legal members of “Mixed Foreign/Thai Families” should not be classified as tourists! They should not be restricted from entering Thailand regardless of where they may currently be located.
    Once Thai citizens have been repatriated and international flights to Thailand are resumed, legal members of “Mixed Foreign/Thai Families” must be allowed entry. By maintaining the same stringent protocols and procedures for entry as are used currently for the repatriation of Thai citizens, immigrations can be assured that they are properly and safely protecting Thai families from COVID-19. No one is more supportive and concerned for their protection than members of “Mixed Foreign/Thai Families”.
    Foreigners’ marriage certificates to Thai citizens child adoption papers and parental status can be provided to the Thai Embassy, who could then submit the documents to obtain letters required for entry. Actual “Verification Procedures” of proof of legal membership of “Mixed Foreign/Thai Families” would have to be spelled out by Thai immigration authorities.
    I know there will be complaints by some of our members, that this proposal doesn’t cover unmarried couples and foreign families who own property in Thailand or have long term leases that live in Thailand. I ask your forgiveness for this, however, there may be some other long term resident classification that could be used to establish justification for entry.
    Let’s continue to work on the recognition of our legitimate right to entry from wherever we are currently located, based on being legal members of “Mixed Foreign/Thai Families”.
    If this doesn’t work, then maybe it will be time for our families to consider a class action lawsuit and seek legal counsel and representation.
    Please provide feedback and keep it calm and civil. Emotional rants against the Thai government, immigration, or people will only hurt us. These are tough issues and we must respect the fact that we are all dealing with it as best we can.

  3. Avatar

    willem

    Saturday, June 6, 2020 at 7:17 pm

    Michael Lewis, shame on you!!!

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