Thailand to increase screening of foreigners amid major crackdown

By Hoang Phong   March 22, 2024 | 03:39 pm PT
Thailand to increase screening of foreigners amid major crackdown
Tourists play with water guns as they celebrate the Songkran holiday which marks the Thai New Year in Bangkok, Thailand, April 13, 2023. Photo by Reuters
Immigration authorities have been told to revoke visas of those found to be in Thailand without a valid reason or linked with criminal activities as the country begins a crackdown to restore its tourism reputation.

Roy Ingpairoj, deputy chief of the Royal Thai Police, has issued instructions to the immigration authority department, calling for increased scrutiny of foreigners staying in Thailand, Khaosod English newspaper reported.

The Thai police wanted all foreigners entering and leaving the kingdom to be strictly screened and increased screening will also apply to those seeking extensions of stay, visa stamps, and any change in visa status.

All crimes committed by foreigners will be investigated and prosecuted, including violations of the Immigration Act.

Foreign residents will be investigated to determine if they have any connection to mafia-like criminals.

The move came as Thailand has witnessed a recent rise in criminal activities by foreigners, which has negatively tarnished its reputation.

Since October 1, 2023, Thai police have made 614 arrests for a variety of crimes, including thefts in tourist areas, illegal employment, traffic violations and offences related to sex, according to Thailand’s Public Relations Department.

The most recent high-profile criminal case involved two tourists from New Zealand who were being held in prison for attacking a police officer in Phuket. They were banned from ever returning to Thailand and their visas have been revoked.

Immigration authorities earlier this month revoked a long-stay visa of a Swiss man who allegedly kicked a Thai woman who was relaxing on a beach near his villa in Phuket.

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