PHUKET: After spending a his final night in Phuket under the observation of Phuket City Immigration officers, British national Simon Burrowes finally left Phuket at 5.50pm yesterday aboard a Silk Air flight destined for Singapore, where he was scheduled to catch a connecting flight to the UK.
Asked why Mr Burrowes had to spend his final night on the island under the supervision of immigration officers despite completion of his court case and payment of a 500-baht fine for verbally abusing an Airport Immigration officer in January – when he originally planned to go home – an immigration officer told the Gazette that as Mr Burrowes had no money to pay for accommodation, they had to make sure there were no more problems.
Before coming to Thailand, Mr Burrowes was living in rented accommodation in Wembley, North-West London. He planned to return to his job and home after three months in Phuket.
Due to his extended stay in Thailand, he now faces bleak prospects back home, where he no longer has a job or housing.
Mr Burrowes said that he had “learned a lot” from his experience in the Land of Smiles, but had no plans to ever return here.
Mr Burrowes’s troubles in Phuket began in January, when he was held up at Airport Immigration by officers who suspected his passport may not have been genuine.
The suspicion was initially aroused because Mr Burrowes appeared to be shirtless in the photo on the passport, which was in fact legitimately issued.
As officers tried to verify the passport, Mr Burrowes realized his non-refundable flight would take to the skies without him.
He then became angry and abusive toward the female immigration officer holding his passport.
After pointing a finger at the officer’s face and shouting, “Give me back my [expletive deleted] passport you [expletive deleted] bitch,” Mr Burrowes snatched the passport back from the officer and walked away from the counter.
That move turned an already bad situation into a complete nightmare.
He was arrested and spent three weeks in Phuket Provincial Prison before being bailed and ordered to appear in court on verbal abuse charges. Mr Burrowes initially planned to fight the charges, but pleaded guilty on the day. He was fined 500 baht and released.
Penniless, Mr Burrowes was finally bought an air ticket home by an anonymous Thai benefactor, but when he tried to catch the flight on Friday afternoon he was again foiled by inadequate paperwork – he didn’t understand that he needed to get a police report and then have his visa renewed at the Phuket Immigration Office in Phuket City, some 50 kilometers away, before he could be allowed to leave.
Once again, he had to miss a non-refundable flight.
It was apparently “third time lucky” for Mr Burrowes yesterday evening, however. He was last seen by the Gazette successfully passing through Immigration for his flight to Singapore – again paid for by a friend.
— Tiparintron Tanaakarachod & Nick Davies
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