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Phuket

Immigration Dept: corruption exposed

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Immigration Dept: corruption exposed | The Thaiger

PHUKET: A major investigation has been launched into the activities of Immigration officers in Patong after the seizure of some 40 passports in Haad Yai in recent days. The passports were on their way back from Malaysia after being sent for “visa run” renewals and are now in the possession of the Immigration Department in Bangkok. Among those whose passports were seized was an American tourist who spoke with the Gazette on condition of anonymity. He said, “I came here on a 30-day visa issued at the airport. I went to Immigration in Patong to see if I could extend my visa to stay longer. They said that they could take my passport down to Malaysia and get it stamped for another 30 days. The fee was 2,500 baht.” He stressed that the Immigration officer he spoke with, whom he named as Somchai, gave him the impression that this was the correct way to extend a visa. “They gave me no indication that this was corrupt. They were smiling and it seemed very much a standard procedure. “I went there on Monday and they told me that the big boss from Bangkok had taken the passports to the capital. They said their boss, in Patong, went to try and get the passports back, but on Tuesday they said that I had to go to Bangkok myself to get my passport back.” Somchai, he said, had generously given him a refund out of his own pocket – plus 200 baht a day for 18 days [the overstay fee]. “I asked him, ‘What about my airfare to Bangkok and the cost of the hotel?’ In the end he gave me a total of about 9,500 baht out of his wallet as compensation.” The American said that Somchai, who was out of uniform and met him in a back room of the Patong Immigration Department, looked “very worried”. He added, “The whole [atmosphere in the] office was different from a couple weeks ago.” He then contacted the US Embassy in Bangkok, who had already been notified of the situation and who told him that he must go to Bangkok to retrieve his passport from the Immigration Department there, where he would also have to answer questions. Pol Col Apirak Hongtong, Superintendent of the Phuket Immigration Police, confirmed the crackdown on the longstanding illegal issuance of visas. “I’ve known about it for a long time,” he said. “And I’ve looked into the matter and issued orders from time to time, but there are still some officers who resisted. But we’ve taken action. We haven’t ignored it. “We have already transferred the officers out of Patong and are waiting for further orders from the Commissioner for Immigration. The passports are at the Immigration Department in Bangkok. The foreigners are going up to Bangkok to testify and we are awaiting the results. “As for our officers, we have taken disciplinary action. If there is any evidence that they are involved in either civil or criminal offences, we will take further action.” The Gazette has received numerous complaints over the years from readers who found it impossible to obtain correctly-issued visas. This was because Immigration officers were more interested in issuing illegal visas, in return for bribes, than legitimate ones, the applicants said. A local foreign resident contacted by the Gazette this afternoon noted that the illicit commercial activities of some of Phuket Immigration Department’s “marketing officers” had led to formation of feeder businesses. These specialize in illegal “visa services” that do not require long-stay tourists and resident foreigners to make visa renewal trips out of Thailand.



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Phuket

Motorbike driver smashes through glass window after accelerator malfunctions

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Motorbike driver smashes through glass window after accelerator malfunctions | The Thaiger

A female motorbike driver has sustained injuries after her motorbike’s hand grip malfunctioned and she collided with a glass wall.

Chalong Police were notified of the incident at an air conditioning shop at 6pm yesterday on Chao Fa West Road in Chalong.

Police and emergency responders arrived and found the shattered glass wall and a damaged motorbike.

The injured 40 year old Naowarat Jankarn had already been taken to Chalong Hospital. She sustained injuries from cuts from the broken glass. polls of blood were found on the floor.

Ms Naowarat told police that she had parked her motorbike in front of the shop since Wednesday . The motorbike was underivable because the hand grip accelerator was malfunctioning.

Yesterday she started the motorbike, claiming she had forgotten about the broken accelerator.

Motorbike driver smashes through glass window after accelerator malfunctions | News by The Thaiger Motorbike driver smashes through glass window after accelerator malfunctions | News by The Thaiger Motorbike driver smashes through glass window after accelerator malfunctions | News by The Thaiger Motorbike driver smashes through glass window after accelerator malfunctions | News by The Thaiger Motorbike driver smashes through glass window after accelerator malfunctions | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Police hunting for driver who threatened others with a gun on Phuket road – VIDEO

Kritsada Mueanhawong

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Police hunting for driver who threatened others with a gun on Phuket road – VIDEO | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Tiw Tiw

The Thalang Police are hunting for the driver who was threatening other motorists on Thepkrasattri Road by waving a gun around out of the driver’s window of his red sedan in Thalang this morning.

A Facebook user ‘Tiw Tiw’ has posted the video with a message reading “where are the police, please follow him. The incident happened this morning in Thalang.”

The video shows a car switching from one lane to another.  The driver shows a gun in his car window and then appears to throw it out (at least he used his indicator).

The Thalang Police are investigating the incident and want to find the car driver for questioning.

 

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Phang Nga

Phuket’s hotel and property players look north

Bill Barnett

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Phuket’s hotel and property players look north | The Thaiger

by Bill Barnett of c9hotelworks.com

One of Greater Phuket’s real estate and hotel market’s that has a decided buzz of late is the area north of Phuket over the Sarasin bridge in Phang Nga.

In Natai Beach, the entry of the Baba Beach Club and nearby Akyra has created renewed visibility for the broad West Coast stretch of white sand beach, extending north beyond Phuket.

Two upscale hotels are in the development phase in the vicinity, with one being flagged to an international hotel operator.

Up at the 1,000 plus rai Thai Muang mega-project, movement is once again underway, as is a nearby massive Japanese-led mixed-use project including a golf course.

Land values are currently running amuck in the Koh Kloi area where the AOT (Airports of Thailand) has reportedly acquired land for an upcoming Phang Nga airport which will provide Phuket with a second gateway alternative.

Premium land transactions are taking place, with the most notable being the recent trade of the former oceanfront site in Bodan that was to be at various stages first a Raffles and later a Ritz-Carlton Reserve.

Looking at Phuket’s light-rail initiative, one knock-on effect will be the eventual linkage between the island and larger connection to a broader rail terminus in Koh Kloi. This will likely spur real estate speculators to acquire peripheral locations.

As Phang Nga’s West Coast four land highway expansion moves forward to Khao Lak and beyond, Phuket’s Northern neighbor is seeing a renewed push in its tourism, property and infrastructure.

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