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Immigration chief targets “national stability’

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Immigration chief targets “national stability’ | The Thaiger

PHUKET CITY: In Phuket to officiate at the opening of the new Phuket Provincial Immigration Office at Saphan Hin today, Immigration Commissioner Lt Gen Chatchawan Suksomchit yesterday announced that he is shaking up his ranks to use technology to be more effective.

Gen Chatchawan, Thailand’s top Immigration officer, said his goal is to improve “national stability” in order to restore investor confidence in the country.

He is on a national roadshow to spread his ideology, which he believes the Immigration Bureau can help achieve by maintaining internal security, better administration and serving justice.

In order for the year ahead to be the “year of investment” for Thailand, radical changes are needed to keep up with rapid development worldwide in the era of globalism, Gen Chatchawan opined.

He explained that Immigration will introduce a real-time national database called “Pisces” (Personal Identification Secure Comparison Evaluation System) as well as Advanced Passenger Process (APP) and Advanced Passenger Information (API) computer systems so that officers can quickly and more effectively process arrivals.

“The important synergies here are with organizations like Interpol and government departments of many nations that are willing to join forces. Many nations are now supplying Thai immigration with comprehensive data on both known and suspected pedophiles,” Gen Chatchawan said.

Regarding Immigration’s role in apprehending illegal laborers, he said, “It is more important to make illegal workers legal as the country needs them. In the case of Burmese, they can work at rates that Thais will not accept and employers cannot afford to pay more – making them a necessity. Immigration therefore has a policy to legalize them and ensure that they all have correct documentation.”

Speaking about the 54 Burmese who suffocated in a refrigeration truck en route to Phuket on April 9, Gen Chatchawan said, “By law, this incident cannot be classified as human trafficking as there was no employer identified as being involved, meaning that it was simply a violation of entering without passing a checkpoint.

“As far as the other related crimes, such as the shooting of an ex-police lieutenant suspected of playing a role in the deaths, it is the duty of local police to investigate.”

However, Gen Chatchawan admitted, “I do not deny the fact that the integrity of government officials across the board must now be more closely monitored and action taken against those involved.”

Other developments to boost national security include the formation of a “Transnational Syndicate Crime Suppression Center” and a task force to counter forgery of passports, visas and immigration stamps.

In addition, details of where foreigners reside, including satellite pictures, are now stored on a centralized database and monitored for irregularities, he said.

“The system is not only to arrest illegal immigrants but also to offer higher levels of safety and protection to VIP visitors. In order for the database to be practical, only those with visas that allow longer stays and VIPS are monitored,” Gen Chatchawan explained.

He added that networks are being established to share resources between immigration and other national agencies, such as the Internal Security Operation Command (ISOC), Special Branch (Santibaan), Border Patrol and Provincial Police.

Also, informers who prove themselves as having excellent powers of observation, good memories and a concise, accurate reporting style are now issued an ID card that enables them to quickly report a suspicious foreigner and have the case taken seriously by Immigration.

With the aim of smoothing out the immigration process for many foreigners, Gen Chatchawan said that foreigners known to be honest, responsible and posing no threat to Thailand can be issued cards that will facilitate swift passage past immigration checkpoints.

Also, volunteer translators are helping out at immigration offices, and a 1178 hotline has been set up to provide clear, accurate information about immigration processes, he added.

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

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Crime

Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft

Greeley Pulitzer

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Now you see him, now you don’t… Patong Police hunt foreigner over $30k theft | The Thaiger

PHOTO: Patong Police

Patong Police have yet to develop any tangible leads tracking down a foreigner who made off with US$30,000 in cash from a currency exchange booth in Kalim, north of Patong in Phuket, last Tuesday.

The man is about 168 centimetres tall with grey hair and around 60 years old, Patong police told The Phuket News.

“We have no clue what nationality he is.”

He was last seen at the currency exchange booth wearing a purple polo shirt, blue jeans and black cap. Police have checked hotels in the area, police stations across the island and Phuket Immigration, but have yet to join the dots and come up with firm leads.

“Investigators have checked CCTV in the area and collected what evidence we have but we still do not know the man’s name or where he was staying.”

The man had visited the booth several times before Tuesday, when he disappeared with the $30,000 in US banknotes, according to police.

“It was always small amounts”, he added, noting that the amounts didn’t warrant staff at the exchange booth to check the man’s passport before making the exchange.

The man arrived at the booth again at about 1pm on Tuesday, saying that he had 900,000 baht cash to exchange.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Crime

Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room

The Thaiger

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Mystery surrounds security guard found dead in his Phuket room | The Thaiger

PHOTOS: Phuket Hot News

The security guard of a hotel in Nai Yang, northern Phuket, 52 year old Yingyot Butsabong, from Maha Sarakham province, was found dead yesterday (October 16) in his room. Police remain mystified how the man came to grief.

A woman named Supattra received a call from the hotel he worked at and was informed that he didn’t show up at work yesterday, so she went to his apartment to check on him.

She saw that his room was locked from the inside, so used the key she had in her possession to open the room and found Yingyot laying on the floor, face down. She thought he was just sleeping so she tried to wake him up but once she flipped him, she found that he already passed away.

She immediately called Saku police, and once on the scene, police found that there was some blood on the floor. The man had a 2 centimetre wound on his left eyebrow which was deep into his skull. There was also a wound on his chin about 1 centimetre long and about a centimetre deep. His left eye had a bruise which looked like he was attacked by a hard object.

Police report that he had been dead for around four hours in the room.

The room was not ransacked and there was no sign of fighting or theft. His body has been sent to Thalang Hospital for a detailed autopsy and to look into the cause of death.

SOURCE: Phuket Hot News

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People

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people

Nattha Thepbamrung

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‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | The Thaiger

On October 18, the ‘Always Smile Journey’ group and its partners will host an exhibition with plenty of fun activities at the Yak Yai Market, near Chalong Circle, in Phuket. This event was designed to raise funds to provide free English classes for underprivileged people on the island of Phuket on Saturdays and Sundays. The group does not accept donations but aims to raise money through the sales of the products available at the event.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

From 2 pm to 8 pm, there will be a number of artists, musicians and performers who will keep the attendees entertained along the way. There will be a short film about His Majesty King Rama 9 as well as fun activities and games for kids and families, which are all free of charge.

The big bike crew is also a part of this event. They will ride a parade from Rawai Beach heading to the market and showcase their gorgeous two-wheel buddies.

One of the highlights of the Always Smile Journey exhibition is the ‘Happening’ artists group, who will draw and paint a picture of the His Majesty King Rama 9 under the name ‘Street Art King Bhumibol’ on a 4×10 meter sign live at the event so the guests will experience this large-scale art in action. The Happening will also offer portrait sketching for the participants.

‘Always Smile Journey’ raises fund to provide free English classes for underprivileged people | News by The Thaiger

One of the works created by the Happening team; a painting of HM the King Rama 9 on a huge wall (Photo credit: Chawat Chumpasan)

There will also be some western menus available at the event which will be donated to underprivileged children.

This free English class project has over seven years of experience through its cooperation working with individuals and other charity organizations. Throughout the years, the group visited several areas such as Ban Laem Hoy School, Ban Bopud School and Ban Angthong School in Samui, Surat Thani province, Ban Bueng Ao Oun School and Ban Kakoh Rayong, in Surin province, Jalae Village of Lahu (Muser) in Chiang Rai province, as well as community education centers in Siem Reap, Cambodia and in Luang Prabang, in Laos.

This event is a cooperation between several groups, including Happening, Yak Yai Market and Arrow Media, Tattoo artist group, Thonburi Art School Alumni, International School of Tourism, Suratthani Rajabhat University, big bike group from Phuket, artists/performers/musicians from many provinces as well as several businesses across Phuket.

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