South African man on 6-month overstay couldn’t afford to get home

PHOTO: A South African man was arrested in Phuket on a 196 day overstay. (via Phuket Express)

A South African man was busted for an overstay of about six and a half months. The man was arrested in the Thalang district of Phuket and was found to have finished the stamp on his passport 196 days ago. When captured, he gave the excuse that he did not have enough money to get back home.

The man was identified as 30 year old Richard Reynolds from South Africa. He had originally entered Thailand back in April of 2019 and had stayed for some time on a non-B visa, the non-immigrant status designated for business travellers. He had been staying in Chiang Rai and had gone to immigration there where he was granted an extension stamp permitting him to stay in the kingdom until May 27 of this year.

According to the man’s explanations to the police, he did not have enough money to get a proper long-term visa. He also could not afford the cost of travelling halfway around the world to his home country of South Africa. So he decided to go on the run, in an attempt to evade immigration police for as long as possible.

He fled Chiang Rai and travelled south to the Phang Nga province. From there he made his way to the neighbouring island of Phuket. Immigration officers were aware of his overstaying and tracking his movements though. The Phang Nga Immigration office alerted their counterparts in Phuket to be on the lookout for an African man on overstay in their province, according to The Phuket Express.

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The 30 year old South African man was discovered at the house in the Thalang district. He was taken to the local police station where he will face charges of overstaying. Once fully processed, he will be deported back to South Africa and likely blacklisted from re-entering Thailand.

Authorities in Thailand have been recently cracking down on people overstaying their stamps in their passports.

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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