‘Big Joke’ orders crackdown on foreigners who overstay in Thailand

Deputy Police Chief and former Chief of Immigration Big Joke is on the prowl for foreigners who overstay their visa time in Thailand. Not only that, but Big Joke will not stand for immigration officers who give out illicit visas in exchange for bribes, either.

Pl. Gen. Surachate Hakparn, aka “Big Joke,” made the comments after a Chinese man was tortured by a gang of overstayers on dodgy visas.

In a press conference held yesterday, Big Joke spoke about the recent case of 41 year old Ren Haibo. A Chinese gang kidnapped and tortured Ren in Chon Buri province. The gang tied black tape around Ren’s eyes and his face. They tied his neck, arms, and legs with rope. Then, they cut off his little finger.

The gang sent a video to Ren’s 20 year old Thai girlfriend, requesting a staggering ransom of 150 million baht – or 30 million yuan – in exchange for Ren’s freedom. Her family transferred 150,000 baht and didn’t hear from the gang again. Ren managed to free himself on Tuesday and went to the police.

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The police’s investigation revealed that the Chinese torture gang overstayed their tourist visas in Thailand for more than one year. Some of them had magically acquired “student visas” stamped in Udon Thani in northeast Thailand. But they were criminals, not students.

The victim had also changed his status to a student in Phrae province in northern Thailand. He too was not a student.

Big Joke said it was clear that immigration officers in Phrae and Udon Thani had failed to validate the criminal’s claims they were students.

The deputy police chief said it is common for foreign criminals escaping prosecution to come to Thailand on a tourist visa and bribe their way onto a student visa. Then, they commit crimes in the kingdom.

In response to Ren’s torture, Big Joke provided a list of names to China to check whether there are any arrest warrants out for any of them in their home country.

He has instructed immigration officers at the borders and at all offices to clamp down on overstayers. He has demanded the police force to rid Thailand of foreign criminals.

Big Joke said…

“Let good people into the country. Do not let in criminals who create chaos and damage our country. I have sent a list of Chinese names to the Chinese charge d’affaires to be cross-checked for arrest warrants.

“From now on, immigration offices and checkpoints all over the country must search for, locate and wipe out and arrest any foreigner who has overstayed. These people could be criminals on the run who have fled into hiding.

“They come here to cause violence to our people. These criminals are dangerous and must be seriously quashed.”

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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