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Immigration chief targets “national stability’

Legacy Phuket Gazette



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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Two shot in Phuket Town beauty spa this morning

Kritsada Mueanhawong



Two shot in Phuket Town beauty spa this morning | The Thaiger

A South Korean man and Thai woman have been injured in spa shooting in Phuket Town.

The two sustained serious injuries from bullet wounds after having been shot at the spa in Wichit today.

Wichit Police reports that they was notified of an incident at ‘The Beauty Spa’ in Wichit at 10.30am this morning.

Police and emergency responders arrived at the scene to find two injuried from gun shots – a 74 year old South Korean man, Kwang Hee Kim, and father of Ms Eun Mi Kim, the owner of the Beauty Spa.

The other person injured was a 56 year old Thai woman named as Somsri Chuatonghua who is staff at the spa.

They were both taken to Vachira Phuket Hospital. The suspect, Somphon, a house-keeper at the spa, is currently being sought by police.

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TAT expects 2.3 million tourists for this year’s Songkran

Kritsada Mueanhawong



TAT expects 2.3 million tourists for this year’s Songkran | The Thaiger

The Tourism Authority of Thailand is expecting more than 2.3 million local and foreign tourists will join the various Songkran celebrations this year. They say that should generate 20 billion baht+ in revenue for tourism and tourism-related services.

TAT’s Governor Yuthasak Supasorn says 300,000 international arrivals are expected to celebrate the five day festival starting April 12, along with two million locals who will travel to celebrate Songkran this year. Songkran falling on a weekend this year will also bolster local tourism numbers.

The number of Songkran-specific visitors is up this year, partly because of the growing popularity of the festival internationally and the government extending the holiday to five days this year, now starting on April 12 (although ‘Songkran, the Thai New Year, is actually on April 13).

Songkran festival extended HERE.

He admits that the bad publicity about the poor air quality in the northern regions is a problem, especially around Chiang Mai which has become a big international visitor favorite over recent yers.

Chiang Mai is one of nine provinces in the North struggling with smoke haze, mostly because of open-air burning of farm waste and rubbish, and localised bush fires. The heavy smog has caused temporary suspension of flights between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son although flights into Chiang Mai have been unaffected so far.

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German man dies in Phuket motorcycle crash

Kritsada Mueanhawong



German man dies in Phuket motorcycle crash | The Thaiger

A German man has died after a motorbike crash in Thalang.

The Thalang Police were notified of the incident last night on Srisoonthorn Road in Baan Manik, Thalang.

The German man, 53 year old Carsten Elfried Koch, was the driver of a motorbike and sustained critical injuries as a result of the crash. He died at the scene.

Police believe that Mr Koch was heading back to his home in Cherng Talay at high speed. He lost control at a curve on the wet road.

His body was taken to the Thalang Hospital for an autopsy. Officials have informed the German Embassy in Thailand.

Police didn’t report if the man was wearing a bike helmet or not.

German man dies in Phuket motorcycle crash | News by The Thaiger

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