Following Chinese ransom case, Big Joke says Pattaya expats will be closely scrutinised

Big Joke arrived in Pattaya to follow up on the case, photo by The Pattaya News.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Surachate Hakparn, also known as “Big Joke,” says that expats in Pattaya will be scrutinised closely as part of Operation X-Ray. This news follows the recent case in which a Chinese woman was abducted in Pattaya as she went to get her child from school, and gangsters demanded 1 million yuan (4.7 million baht) in ransom. Big Joke arrived in Pattaya on Friday to follow up on the case, The Pattaya News reported.

Big Joke said the Chinese nationals involved in the ransom case are reportedly known criminals in an organised gang that China has previously cracked down on, causing them to flee to Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos.

Big Joke said that Thai police contacted their Chinese counterparts with Interpol ‘Red Notices’ to extradite suspects who fled Thailand.

As part of Operation X-Ray, Chinese and other foreigners in Pattaya will be closely scrutinised to ensure that they are not involved in illegal businesses or other crimes. The operation involves scrutinising Immigration and Police records to identify wanted individuals in the Pattaya area and targeting them for removal.

Sophisticated technology such as Immigration vehicles equipped with smart cameras will be used to identify certain wanted individuals who may be walking on a street or area.

Operation X-Ray also involves much closer scrutiny of visa renewals for foreigners of concern, including questioning sources of income and their backgrounds. This is especially true for those of working age without work permits and an uncertain line of income.

In recent months, there has been heavy scrutiny on education and volunteer visas in particular. Big Joke previously stated that many Chinese criminals in partnership with corrupt Immigration officers were using visas to stay longer in Thailand, but not volunteering or going to school. Many were working illegally or running illegal businesses.

The scrutiny is expected to become even tighter, as Thai authorities seek to crack down on criminal activity among foreign expats.

Crime NewsExpatsPattaya News

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.