PHUKET: A 33-year-old German man is facing deportation after being found overstaying his visa and in possession of half a gram of marijuana.
Chalong Police stopped Nico Bergmann about midday on Sunday as he drove through a checkpoint in Soi Thanuthep.
Officers, led by Lt Col Weerayut Sitthirattanakul, believed Mr Bergmann was acting suspiciously and searched his car.
In his bag officers found half a gram of marijuana, said the police report.
Then police checked Mr Bergmann’s passport and found that his permit to stay expired on October 6.
“He faces two charges… The court will probably fine him, then we will send his case to Immigration for him to be deported,” said Chalong Duty Officer Boonlert Onklang.
“He can come back after that,” he added.
Mr Bergmann arrived in Phuket on July 9 to work as a photographer.
He was released yesterday after posting 20,000-baht bail.
Mr Bergmann must stay on the island until his case is heard in court, said Lt Col Boonlert.
Just in case, police are holding his passport until the court verdict is handed down, he added.
An officer at Phuket Provincial Court confirmed to the Gazette today that a date had yet to be set for the case.
Marijuana use is not illegal in Germany and police do not fine people for possession of small amounts, but the drug is listed as a Category V controlled substance in Thailand.
Section 76 of the Narcotics Control Act of 1979 states: “Any person who possesses narcotics of category V shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years or to a fine not exceeding one hundred thousand baht, or both.”
In November, 26 people were arrested in Phuket for use or possession of the drug, known locally as ‘ganja’. Just over 117 grams of the drug were seized as evidence in those cases.
— Atchaa Khamlo
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