Pattaya authorities are on the prowl for foreign overstayers and criminals. Pattaya Police say that they will continue to perform regular inspections checking tourists’ passports, following a city-wide inspection on Wednesday night.
During the inspection, Pattaya Police and immigration officials targeted foreigners overstaying, and those involved in illegal activities. The operation involved about 50 law enforcement officers who inspected nightclubs across the city at 10.30pm to deter illegal activities.
The officials mostly targeted foreigners who were working illegally in Pattaya, overstayers, and illegal migrant workers. The police and immigration were separated into three groups, and they visited nightclubs and several venues around crowded tourist spots such as Walking Street and Soi 6 to check tourists’ passports for overstayers. They also inspected the venues’ employees to see if they carried any weapons or illicit drugs.
Pattaya Police said the inspection was successful as no illegal activities were found, The Pattaya News reported. However, the police will continue to perform this operation regularly to maintain this standard.
Overstaying in Thailand is considered a serious offence and can result in hefty fines, detention, or deportation.
Pattaya, a popular tourist destination known for its nightlife, attracts many foreigners. The inspection on Wednesday night comes after Assistant Commissioner of Police Surachate Hakparn, also known as “Big Joke,” said last month that expats in Pattaya will be scrutinised closely as part of Operation X-Ray. The operation was prompted by the abduction of a Chinese woman in Pattaya for 1 million yuan (4.7 million baht) in ransom.
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 was expected to become even tighter, as Thai authorities seek to crack down on criminal activity among foreign expats.
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