'Outlaw' raids snare 319 foreigners

'Outlaw' raids snare 319 foreigners

Schools, hangouts targeted nationwide

A total of 319 foreigners were arrested for immigration offences in the latest “outlaw tourists” raids, which targeted 337 locations across the country early yesterday morning.

They also arrested 50 Thai nationals on separate offences.

Combined teams of local, immigration, tourist police and other agencies descended on premises in Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Sawan and other provinces, targeting people at one language school, two secondary schools and 334 other places frequented by foreigners.

Pol Maj Gen Surachate Hakparn, newly appointed Immigration Bureau (IB) chief, released details at a media briefing yesterday.

Also present were newly appointed tourist police commissioner Pol Maj Gen Theeraphol Kuptanont and senior police officers from other agencies involved.

Ninety-six of those arrested (65 from Myanmar, 13 from India, 7 from Laos, 4 from Vietnam, 2 each from Cambodia and Russia, one each from China, Ghana and Nigeria) were charged with overstaying their visas.

The l ongest overstayer was Francis Okai, 36, a Ghanaian man caught in Bangkok 656 days after he should have left, followed by Arjun Kumar Yadav, 30, an Indian national caught in Kanchanaburi for overstaying 162 days, and a Vietnamese woman, Nguen Thi Ngoc, 28, who was arrested in Nakhon Sawan 60 days after her visa expired, Pol Maj Gen Surachate said.

Another 131 (79 from Myanmar, 15 from Cambodia, 10 from Laos, nine from China, seven from Vietnam, six from India, one each from Malaysia, the Philippines, the US, Ivory Coast, and another whose nationality was not released) were charged with illegal entry.

The remaining 142 (50 Thais, 48 from Laos, 21 from Cambodia, 14 from Myanmar, 4 from China, one each from India, Vietnam, Canada, Israel and the US) were charged with other offences.

The raids were the 21st phase of operation X-Ray Outlaw Foreigner, which aims to sweep out foreign criminals entering the country to commit crime, such as romance scams, credit card skimming and drug trafficking, and those who overstay their visas, Pol Maj Gen Surachate said.

To date, a total of 2,273 people had been arrested during raids at 4,496 locations across the country. Authorities would continue the crackdown, imposed stricter measures and search more locations in tourist provinces and border areas to boost overall safety for tourists, he said.

All the arrested foreigners would be put on police blacklists and deported to their home countries, Pol Maj Gen Surachate said.

Meanwhile, police have arrested an American man and a Russian national, who were allegedly involved in the drug trade in their countries.

Lawrence Ricardo Byrd, who was believed to be a major drug dealer in Georgia, was arrested in the US state in April 2016. The American later jumped bail and came into Thailand, according to Pol Maj Gen Surachate.

He arrived in Thailand at Suvarnabhumi airport on April 16 and was granted a one-month stay in the country.

Mr Byrd was apprehended at his Sukhumvit Soi 38, the acting IB chief said.


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