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Phuket crackdown on Russians heads north



PHUKET: Local officials will start conducting raids across Phuket’s Thalang District, which covers the northern third of the island, targeting any businesses involving foreigners.

The raids will first target businesses involving Russians, a meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall was told yesterday.

As have other recent immigration crackdowns, the Thalang operation will specifically target foreigners either working illegally in Thailand or using Thai nominees to open businesses.

“The raids, starting from today [March 26], will target Russians first because we have received a lot of complaints from Thai people accusing Russians of stealing their jobs,” explained Phuket Vice Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada.

“We will not only check their work permits, but also check that the workplace address cited in their work permits matches the place where they are working,” he added.

Present at the meeting to hear the latest orders were Thalang District Chief Supoj Chanakij, Phuket Provincial Employment Office (PPEO) chief Yawapa Pibulpol, Phuket Immigration officer Capt Angkarn Yasanop and officers from other government agencies who will be involved in the raids.

“We are collecting and checking the details of foreigners working in Thalang to help solve the problem of foreigners stealing local people’s jobs,” Vice Governor Chamroen explained.

According to Phuket Employment Office records, there are currently 1,005 foreigners of 17 nationalities registered to work in Thalang, including 109 English, 99 Russian, 80 French and 69 Italian nationals.

V/Gov Chamroen asked for monthly meetings to keep him abreast of the campaign’s progress.

The recent arrest of a Russian woman found working illegally as a tour agent in Patong (story here) highlighted the penalty for working without a work permit: a fine from 2,000 to 100,000 baht, or up to five years in prison, or both.

The penalty for illegally entering the country is a fine of up to 20,000 baht and deportation from Thailand.

— Kritsada Mueanhawong


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