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Immigration Police crack the whip on foreigners

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Immigration Police crack the whip on foreigners | Thaiger

PHUKET: In a move reminiscent of the darker passages of a Kafka novel, Immigration Police in the province are visiting foreigners’ homes and demanding to see passports and visas. They say they plan to check up on every foreigner’s residential and work address every 90 days. The visits, which have raised the specter of a police state, have outraged a number of foreigners who have received the knock on the door. One foreigner in Kathu, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “It was frightening, especially for my [Thai] wife, when they knocked on my door. “They wanted me to give them copies of my passport in color – not black and white, color! – plus a color photo. Can you imagine asking for this from a person who already holds a valid Thai visa? “It’s clearly a step backwards… hopeless for a country which says it wants foreign investment.” An American entrepreneur who brought 24 million baht into the country to start a business several years ago, agreed. “Had I known then what I know now… the collapse of the banking system, the determination of interest rates based on ‘Thai/non-Thai’… the silliness over visas… the call to raise work permit renewal fees to 10,000 baht a time… police knocking on my door… no, I never would have invested here,” he said. Another long term foreign resident, a German, observed, “The best thing to do is to keep a low profile. Don’t get a long-term visa. Don’t invest and don’t work! Just behave yourself and live quietly on a tourist visa. That way, you’re out of the system and the police won’t come knocking on your door because they won’t know where it is.” Pol Col Phirojana Paresakul, Superintendent of Phuket Immigration, told the Gazette that the visits are part of a national drive to “inspect” foreign residents in order to update information on aliens and to track down foreign criminals. The number of crimes caused by foreigners in Thailand has increased, he said, and has raised concerns about people staying illegally on the island. “We don’t want Phuket to end up like Pattaya, with large gangs of foreign criminals,” he explained. “Three Immigration Police officers from the Phuket Town office are now based in Patong and will be inspecting all foreigners in their homes or in their workplaces – offices, hotels, restaurants, shops, etc. “We decided to start in Kathu District because the majority of aliens are registered as living there, and many foreign criminals are reported in Patong,” said Pol Col Phirojana. The officers have instructions to be in uniform at all times when visiting foreigners, and to present their identity cards before asking any questions. Asked what criteria the officers are using when they decide which homes to visit, Pol Col Phirojana said, “First, it is based on information given in the arrival cards by the foreigners when they land in Phuket.” He explained that if the officers found a concentration of foreigners in the same neighborhood, they would visit and “inspect” all of them. “In some cases we are making visits because we have been informed by foreign residents themselves about their neighbors’ illegal activities, or possible illicit behavior. Foreign residents, he explained, will be asked to show their passport and visa, and, if they hold a non-immigrant ‘B’ visa, their work permit. They will also be required to fill in a form with the somewhat ominous title (in translation) of: “Official Report Form Regarding Those To Be Kept Under Observation”. The form requires information on a person’s aliases, distinguishing marks and scars, “character”, financial status, known associates, and “behavior/conduct”. Pol Col Phirojana said the form was also used to check whether a foreigner’s address had changed from that given in his arrival card (which may have been filled out as recently as a few days prior to the knock on the door); to see what kind of business the foreigner is engaged in; and to determine whether the foreigner’s work location had changed. Based on this information, he said, his officers will then continue to visit each foreigner every 90 days for further inspection. Asked why a color copy of the passport was required, he explained, “We need the color copies for investigation and to keep as a record of each individual. “It’s hard to tell from a black and white copy whether the passport or the visas are forged. In color, the lines and printing can be examined to compare differences, especially on the visa page.” He added that his officers would only arrest those found to be “obviously guilty”, such as those who have overstayed their visas or are working without a work permit. He stressed that every foreign resident has the right to ask for the officers’ ID before presenting any documents. “I look forward,” he added, “to good cooperation from every foreign resident in Phuket. It is our responsibility to prevent foreigners from committing crimes and to reduce the number of people staying illegally on the island. “Anyone who hears or knows of any illegal activity by foreigners can report to the Immigration Office or contact me direct on 01-4720399. If you are worried that the person you are reporting may be dangerous, I can assure you that your report will be treated in the strictest confidence,” he said.

 

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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Phuket

Thailand News Today | Pfizer vaccines on the way, Phuket’s July re-opening | May 7

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Disease Control Department back-peddled saying that that foreigners living in Thailand WILL also be vaccinated, governor of Chiang Mai is calling for the ban on dining in at restaurants in the northern city to be lifted and for eateries to be allowed to serve food on-site until 9pm, Tourism and Sports Minister insists the southern island of Phuket must record zero Covid-19 cases if a planned July re-opening is to go ahead, and 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom yesterday

 

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Phuket

We’re looking for a Video Editor/Production Assistant in Phuket

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The Thaiger is seeking a full time video editor and production assistant for a new project based in Phuket. The role is open to a Thai national but with great English skills as well. You will need to be able to work to deadlines with a crazy bunch of stressed out news hosts, guests and the rest of The Thaiger team.

You’ll also need a general knowledge of the Thai news cycle as the content will be largely centred around daily news and current affairs. Knowledge of social media, and especially YouTube, will be an advantage.

Prior work in the TV or video production industry would be a requirement; we couldn’t care less about your educational qualifications. The role would be Monday to Friday.

The work hours would be earlier in the day, probably starting around 7am. There may be some occasional travel to Bangkok involved as well. Salary would be between 30-40,000 baht per month, depending on experience with opportunities for bonuses. The initial contract would be for 3 months, renewable.

If you are interested, or know someone who could fit the job, send an email to THAIGER EDITOR at info@thethaiger.com

 

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket red zone list adds Krabi, Trang, Ranong, Phatthalung

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: The Phuket checkpoint now lists 25 provinces as a red zone.

Visitors to Phuket from Krabi, Trang, Ranong, and Phatthalung will now have to prove they’re vaccinated or have a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of arrival, as they’ve been added to the red zone province list. People entering without those qualifications will have to take a rapid antigen test on the spot before being allowed into Phuket.

The 4 provinces join a group of 21 other provinces already on the Phuket red zone list requiring strict measures to enter. That list even includes Phuket itself, as people do exit the province have to prove a negative test or vaccination before being allowed to re-enter.

Phuket’s vice governor made the announcement yesterday after the governor signed the order and put it into effect until at least May 15th. That same order requires all trucks transporting goods to travel from 11 pm to 5 am, the nighttime hours that other people are not allowed to enter the island. Phuket recently closed its entry checkpoints from late night to early morning after reports of exhaustion from the health officials working to test everyone or verify their credentials.

Delivery drivers will also have to pass the same requirements as red zone province arrivals before entering Phuket. Any driver who does not have a negative test within 72 hours or proof that they’ve received both doses of a vaccine approved by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration, will be forced to wait until the regular checkpoint opens at 5 am to receive a rapid antigen test.

Over 40,000 people from red zones have now been tested at the checkpoint to enter Phuket. In the first week of the requirement which began on April 22, health officials tested more than 22,000 people, overwhelming staff and prompting the government to close the entrance from 11 pm to 5 am to give checkpoint workers a break.

The 25 provinces currently classified as a red zone for entering Phuket are as follows:

Bangkok Nakhon Pathom Pathum Thani Rayong Suphan Buri
Chiang Mai Nakhon Ratchasima Phatthalung Sa Kaeo Surat Thani
Chonburi Nakhon Sri Thammarat Phuket Samut Prakan Tak
Khon Kaen Narathiwat Prachuap Khiri Khan Samut Sakhon Trang
Krabi Nonthaburi Ranong Songkhla Udon Thani

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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