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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 | The 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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Alleged Greek murderer of Phuket beautician remains at large

The Thaiger

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Alleged Greek murderer of Phuket beautician remains at large | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Dimitrios ‘Dim’ Chairopoulo, wanted and believed to be living in Greece

Local Phuket police are yet be informed of the latest in an international hunt for a Greek alleged murderer Dimitrios Chairopoulos. He remains wanted as a suspect in the murder of local beautician 43 year old Niramon ‘Bea’ Aewkaew in Phuket during February.

Cherng Talay police say they want an Interpol Red Notice issued so that they can track down and arrest 42 year old Dimitrios ‘Dim’ Chairopoulos, wanted for the murder. Bea and Dim were seen leaving their accommodation on February 11. It was the last time Bea would be seen alive.

Mr Chairopoulos was recorded as clearing Immigration at Phuket International Airport to board a flight to Dubai in the hours after Ms Niramon was last seen alive. He boarded an Emirates flight EK0379 to Dubai, departing Phuket at 2am. Police also confirmed that he arrived in Dubai on the same day.

“If he comes back to Thailand he will be arrested,” said Chief Col Sen Kwannimit of the Cherng Talay Police.

A request for a Red Notice was submitted with the Foreign Affairs Division of the Royal Thai Police on February 19 but, for now, no formal international’s notice has been published..

Cherng Talay Police confirmed that Dim was seen leaving the room at a guesthouse in Bang Tao where Ms Niramon’s body was found on Saturday, February 16.

In the days leading up to her murder her family had been desperately trying to contact her.

‘Bea’ was the eldest of 5 children from Phatthalung province and had been working in Phuket as a beautician at the time.

One of her sisters, May’ was contacted on February 15 by one of Bea’s workmates trying to locate her.

Neither May or Bea’s other sisters, relatives or friends were able to contact her. Bea had just moved to a new house so nobody knew where she was living. Another sister, Pichy, spoke to friends and was able, using Google Maps, to locate the guesthouse she was staying.

The owner of the room told the family that the air-conditioning was on in the room but there was no response. When the owner returned with a key he informed the family that Bea was found on the bed with a black cloth stuffed in her mouth and her hands and feet bound.

CCTV footage shows the couple leaving the room in the afternoon of February 11, the last time that Bea was seen alive.

Alleged Greek murderer of Phuket beautician remains at large | News by The Thaiger

Dimitrios ‘Dim’ Chairopoulos with his daughter from another relationship

What we know about the alleged murderer?

Dimitrios ‘Dim’ Chairopoulos, who remains at large and thought to be in Greece, worked as security in a night club in Athens. He already had a daughter to another woman in Greece.

During his relationship and marriage with Bea he was said to be ‘controlling’ and ‘jealous’ by members of Bea’s family. A close family friend told The Thaiger that the family had concerns for Bea’s safety and were ‘uncomfortable’ with her ongoing relationship and marriage with Dim.

“We tried to get to know him at family functions but he was not easy to know and seemed very possessive of Bea,” said one of the close family members who asked not to be named.

“He did threaten to kill her if she ever left him and Oh, another of her sisters, went with Bea to file a report of the threats at the Cherng Talay police station at the time,” they explained.

That report was made to police in 2016. A year later the pair married and were still married at the time of the murder.

“He would drive past the beauty shops that Bea worked at and spy on her.”

The family claim that, apart from his own possessions, he also stole Bea’s phone before he headed to the Phuket International Airport on the evening of the murder.

So where is Dimitrios Chairopoulo?

At this stage the Greek Embassy has made no comment about the case or followed up with Greek Police about the pursuit for the fugitive man.

There are currently approximately 58,000 valid Red Notices worldwide of which only 7,000 are public. An Interpol Red Notice has not been issued to alert international police or Immigration officials to be on the look-out for Dim.

For now, the alleged murderer of Bea – an innocent Phuket beautician, beloved sister and family member – remains at large, most probably in Greece.

If anyone has any information about Dimitrios ‘Dim’ Chairopoulo’s whereabouts or information that may lead police to arrest him, please send a confidential message to The Thaiger.

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Business

Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta | The Thaiger

Hermès has opened of its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta, the newly opened lifestyle shopping destination in the heart of the island, opposite Central Festival.

As Hermès’ first venture outside the Thai capital, the new Hermès Phuket store makes a significant statement of expansion and confidence in the market. The new address in this world-renowned island will allow the growing population of local residents, along with domestic and international tourists, to discover the abundant variety of Hermès métiers and savoir-faire.

Designed by the Parisian architecture agency RDAI, the elegant 172 m² retail space is located by the shopping centre’s main entrance and benefits from a double exposure with an exterior and an interior façade.

A bamboo claustra follows the line of the mall’s exterior glass, filtering the daylight that bathes the indoor space, and further illustrates Hermès’ high regard for local craftsmanship. The interior façade is composed of a refined lacquered metal, featuring a large window display, complemented by four recesses with illuminated silk scarves.

Upon entering the store, visitors are welcomed by the House’s ex-libris and signature Grecques lights, designed for Hermès in 1925. The store is decorated with natural and local materials – bamboo floors and claustra, cognac toned Cherrywood walls, toffee coloured silk and fibre fabrics – tastefully blending various elements of Thai culture and modern architecture. The soft colour palette evokes the sand and the sun in their various shades, providing a delightfully serene and convivial atmosphere.

The overall volume is divided into two main areas by the feminine silk grid facing the entrance. The first one, with the iconic Faubourg pattern mosaic floor, allows guests to explore the silk, fashion jewellery, fragrance, art of living, and equestrian departments.

Opposite the leather goods display, an intimate space invites guests to uncover the watch and jewellery collections. Further along, one can discover the women and men’s universes. A sand coloured carpet on the floor outlines the area dedicated to the shoe collections, enriched by a delicate custom-made bamboo light module as the ceiling centrepiece.

Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta | News by The Thaiger Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta | News by The Thaiger Hermès opens its first store in Phuket at Central Floresta | News by The Thaiger

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Phuket

Red car ‘gun flasher’ arrested in Phuket

The Thaiger

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Red car ‘gun flasher’ arrested in Phuket | The Thaiger

Phuket police have arrested and are questioning the driver of a red sedan following Friday’s incident on Thepkasattri Road in Srisoonthorn where he appeared to wave a gun out of his driver’s window (video in the link below).

Manop Sangpal was tracked down by police but they’ve confirmed that Mr Manop’s ‘gun’ was just a BB gun, not a firearm.

The video of the man driving the red sedan and waving the ‘gun’ out of the driver’s window spread around social media on Friday afternoon after a driver following recorded the incident and posted it.

Read the story and see the video below…

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

On the video the red Ford sedan cuts in front of the car with the dashcam then veers to the left lane while the driver waves the gun out of his window near Wat Srisoonthorn.

Police say Mr Manop was arrested at lunchtime yesterday (Saturday) in a workers camp in Soi Sukapibal where he lives with his Burmese wife and family.

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