Police step up fight against foreign gangs

PHUKET: Phuket Immigration Police will step up surveillance on suspected foreign criminals in order to minimize organized crime, Pol Col Apirak Hongtong, Superintendent of Phuket Immigration Police, has told the Gazette. He singled out Nigeria as a consistent source of criminals, with a large number of Nigerians having been arrested for involvement in such crimes as drug running and fraud. To ensure that police efforts are not wasted, Col Apirak said the immigration police will liaise with embassies, which can inform them of the arrival of known criminals from their countries. He also noted that the underworld itself is a good source of information, as criminals often inform the police about rival gangs’ activities. But the fight against organized crime is not easy, he said. “Most [foreign] gangs have a Thai lawyer, [and] aware of how strict the Governor is about regulating foreigners, they have all their papers in order. “Also, the police used to have the authority to issue search warrants. Now, only judges have the power to issue them. This makes our job more difficult, especially when we have to wait a long time for a warrant,” Col Apirak said. “Sometimes, the warrant is effective only for a couple of hours. [In drug cases,] this makes our job doubly difficult because we cannot arrest the criminals if there are no illegal substances on the premises during that [brief] period,” he added. “We can tap their telephones, but I think they know about this because they don’t talk too much on the phone,” he said.

Phuket News
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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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