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British man fined for overstay after being forced into Bangkok quarantine

Tim Newton

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You take your PCR test after your stay in Thailand, before you return home to the UK. You test positive and are confined in a Bangkok hospital for 10 days. Then, to add insult to injury, you’re fined 4,000 baht for overstaying your visa when you go through immigration… purely because you were confined in hospital.

This is the sad tale, one of many, when the Test & Go program didn’t quite go to plan. Quite a high percentage of visitors from overseas have been found to test positive after their compulsory PCR tests (certainly in places like Phuket during late December and January), leaving them to an uncertain 10 days of quarantine in a hospital, ‘hospitel’, field hospital or, if they’re lucky, confined to their hotel or place of residence.

This was the first message to The Thaiger from a gentleman we’ll call ‘CM’…

“My recent experience… On 3rd January I tested positive for covid when I took a pcr test for a return flight to the UK, I was incarcerated in a hospital room for 10 days even though I was asymptomatic. Upon release I left the country the next day but because my visa expired on 5th January I was fined 4000 baht by Immigration at the airport for overstaying. I wasn’t the only one being fined for overstaying due to quarantine incarceration, crazy Thailand.”

He had been confined to Bangkok’s BangPo Hospital. But, even there, he struck problems with hospital administrators who alleged that the patient’s insurance company would not pay the full amount of his treatment bill. (The Thaiger has copies of the CM’s hospital bill)

As soon as he was released from his incarceration at the hospital, CM headed to the Suvarnabhumi Airport where immigration officials, despite being presented with evidence of his enforced quarantine, fined him for 8 days of overstay, @500 baht per day. A total of 4,000 baht. (The Thaiger has a copy CM’s immigration fine receipt)

“Tried to explain, showed the certificate from the hospital, they ignored it. I was instructed to sign 2 documents (both in Thai), handed over the 4,000 baht, passport endorsed and they moved onto the next guy (also overstayer due to quarantine).

In further messages to The Thaiger, CM told us that he had come to Thailand for a Christmas/New Year break with his Thai girlfriend.

“I arrive beginning December for Christmas and New Year holiday and visit with my gf, first time back in over 2 years.”

Now safely back in the UK, and 4,000 baht lighter, CM has written an official letter of complaint to the Royal Thai Embassy in London. Let’s hope, apart from offering an apology, the Embassy refund CM’s 4,000 baht fine.

 

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    Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2011. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 42 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,950 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand. As founder of The Thaiger in 2016, Tim is the current English Content Manager for the company, based in their Bangkok HQ.

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