Phuket officials to target ‘bad foreigners’ to enhance tourism

Photo courtesy of PR Phuket

The island of Phuket, a popular tourist hotspot, was the stage for a significant meeting yesterday. The Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Police Immigration Bureau, Pol Lt Gen Itthiphon Ittisanronnachai, made a request to Phuket officials to assemble a task force to zero in on bad foreigners, thereby offering the Immigration Bureau the aid they require to tackle the situation.

The meeting, convened by Lt Gen Itthiphon after spending a night on the island, saw attendance from Phuket Governor Sophon Suwannarat, heads of government agencies, and prominent figures from the tourism and business sector. The aim was to devise strategies to fortify Phuket city, priming it for an impressive tourist reception.

A diverse group of participants, which included the President of the Phuket Provincial Administrative Organisation (PPAO), Rewat Areerob, Commander of the Royal Thai Navy Third Naval Area, Rear Admiral Suchat Thammapitakwet, Phuket Town Deputy Mayor Prasit Sinsaowaphak, and senior local Immigration officers, attended the meeting. As per an official meeting report, Lt Gen Itthiphon stated that Phuket’s significance as a tourist hotspot has increased, especially with the Prime Minister’s policy to introduce ‘Free Visas’ to attract tourists from countries like China, Russia, India, Kazakhstan, and Taiwan.

The President of the Phuket Chamber of Commerce, Kongsak Koophongsakorn, made an appeal to the Immigration Bureau for facilitating long-stay tourists and clamping down on ‘bad elements’. He urged for swift visa extension procedures and strict safety measures, particularly for those who work in grey areas.

Related news

Lt Gen Itthiphon’s arrival in Phuket on Monday (Dec 25) was marked with the announcement of a new online portal where foreigners in Phuket, holding any of the 12 types of visas, could apply for stay extensions, reported The Phuket News.

In addition to managing ‘bad elements’, the Commander-in-Chief also emphasized the need to attract potential foreign investors to boost the nation’s economy and tourism potential. Rewat Areerob, PPAO President, and Thanusak Phungdet, former Phuket Chamber of Commerce President and current Honorary Consul of Hungary in Phuket, echoed this sentiment, highlighting the need to facilitate entry for investors, particularly those interested in real estate.

However, the spotlight remained on the ‘bad elements’ as Lt Gen Itthiphon highlighted the importance of identifying foreigners who pose a threat to society. He suggested that the Immigration Bureau could provide support information and consider revoking their permission to stay in Thailand.

The meeting concluded with Phuket Governor Sophon Suwannarat expressing gratitude for Lt Gen Itthiphon’s visit and confirming the creation of a subcommittee. This subcommittee is intended to drive the control and screening of foreigners who disrupt the peace, thus affecting the image as a tourist destination.

In related news, The new regulation extends Phuket nightlife venues’ closing time to 4am with added safety measures, impacting over 150 establishments.

Phuket News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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