Cops nab Chinese Falun Gong follower on 5-year overstay

Cops nab Chinese Falun Gong follower on 5-year overstay

A 64-year-old Chinese Falun Gong practitioner has been arrested in Loei's Chiang Khan district for overstaying his visa for five years.

Immigration Bureau deputy chief, Pol Maj Gen Chuchat Tharichat told media in press briefing yesterday that an arrested man is 64-year-old China nationality, only Mr Leng.

The man, only identified as Leng, entered Thailand on Feb 20, 2014 on a tourist visa that would have allowed him to stay for a maximum of 60 days, Immigration Bureau deputy chief, Pol Maj Gen Chuchat Tharichat told a press briefing yesterday.

He manged to overstay his visa for 2,024 days, he added.

The arrest came after a landlord informed officials about a Chinese tenant renting his house in Chiang Khan district for years, without having a job, or a source of income.

Immigration police launched an investigation and learned Mr Leng was a Falun Gong member who fled China to avoid a crackdown on the religious sect.

Mr Leng had sought refugee status and protection from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), however since Thailand is not party to the 1951 Convention or the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees.

As a result, he had contravened Thai immigration rules.

Police initially charged Mr Leng for violating the Immigration Act and were detaining him pending assistance from the UNHCR.

He has asked not to be sent back to China for fear for his safety, police said.

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