Fake stamps prompt Thai visa change

Fake stamps prompt Thai visa change

The Thai embassy in Myanmar has replaced visa stamps with visa stickers after fake stamps were discovered at immigration checkpoints in Tak and Sa Kaeo recently, according to immigration officials.

Pol Col Man Rattanapratheep, head of immigration police in Tak, said the Thai embassy in Yangon has stopped using visa stamps and replaced them with stickers to prevent fraud.

Tak immigration police have arrested 67 Myanmar nationals who allegedly used fake visa stamps purportedly issued by the embassy to try to enter the country. They were charged with falsifying an official document and will face trial in Mae Sot district.

Two Myanmar nationals were also apprehended in Sa Kaeo bordering Cambodia as they tried to pass through immigration with fake visa stamps they said were from the Thai embassy in Myanmar.

Foreign Affairs Ministry spokeswoman Busadee Santipitaks said the embassy in Yangon has investigated the matter and found the fake stamps had nothing to do with embassy staff.

Meanwhile, 35 foreigners were arrested for visa offences and illegal entry during coordinated raids on 62 locations across the country early Wednesday.

The raided locations in Bangkok and other provinces, included three language schools and 11 secondary schools, said Pol Maj Gen Surachate Hakparn, deputy commissioner of the Tourist Police Bureau.

Nine of those detained -- six from India, one each from China, Cameroon and Germany -- were charged with overstaying their visas.

Another 25 suspects from Laos (7), Myanmar (5), India (5), Cambodia (4), Syria (1), Egypt (1), Yemen (1), and Uganda (1) were charged with illegal entry.

The string of raids Wednesday was the 18th of the on-going crackdown, dubbed "X-Ray Outlaw Foreigner" targeting foreign criminals entering the country under the guise of tourists.

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