IB denies it has political watchlist

IB denies it has political watchlist

The Immigration Bureau (IB) has denied it furnished a watchlist targeting opposition politicians and government critics as accused by the Move Forward Party (MFP).

The list, which supposedly contains 183 individuals and 19 social media accounts critical of the government, was reported to be a national security document.

The name of a female police lieutenant colonel attached to the IB was printed on the leaked document, suggesting she was responsible for drawing up the watchlist. The paper also had "classified" stamped on it.

IB deputy spokesman Cheongron Rimpadee said yesterday that checks confirmed neither the bureau nor the female police officer produced the document. People on the immigration watchlist are persons declared persona non grata and include foreign nationals who have served a jail term in Thailand or overseas. They also include those attempting to enter Thailand, who have been issued arrest warrants in other countries.

These individuals are denied entry by the IB which also looks out for those facing arrest warrants issued by Thai courts. They will be arrested if they try to enter or leave the country.

Arrest warrants released in connection to 1,923 cases under various laws are compiled in the IB data system.

Pol Col Choengron said that unless a person faces an arrest warrant or is barred by the court from leaving the country, they should not be bothered by an IB watchlist.

He was responding to Move Forward Party (MFP) secretary-general Chaithawat Tulathon who said during a press briefing yesterday that he believed the watchlist document was genuine.

The list, he said, included names of activists, public figures critical of the government, artists, lawyers and those calling for reform of the monarchy. Most of them are 30 years old or younger with at least two minors.

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