Russians top list of crimes by foreigners

Russians top list of crimes by foreigners

Tourists relax on a beach in Phuket province. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)
Tourists relax on a beach in Phuket province. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)

More than 180 foreigners have faced criminal charges in the southern resort province of Phuket since the start of the year, with the top three offenders being nationals from Russia, France and the United Kingdom.

Phuket governor Narong Woonciew chaired an executive meeting with government agencies and consul-generals from 23 countries on Thursday to update them on cases involving foreigners on the island.

The 23 countries were Australia, Russia, China, Austria, the UK, Chile, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Mexico, Nepal, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Spain and Hungary.

Pol Maj Gen Sermphan Sirikong, commander of the Phuket Provincial Police, said the integration of many agencies in Phuket's free-crime measure has led to the arrest of many foreign perpetrators, for cases such as theft by Russians and Mongolians and French motorcycle gangs that have been disturbing local people.

Pol Maj Gen Sermphan also referred to a human-trafficking case this month at a bar in Patong that reportedly saw minors procured to provide sexual services. Two people were arrested and police have sought arrest warrants for another three suspects.

Phuket Immigration chief Pol Col Thanet Sukchai said that, as of now, there are about 32,000 foreigners staying on the island, mostly tourists and expats from Russia, followed by those from the UK, France, China and Germany.

Most of them stay in Phuket for tourism, to do business, study, or plan their life after retirement, he said.

Some 14,000 tourists are reportedly arriving at Phuket International Airport every day on average this month.

Since the beginning of the year, police have launched criminal cases against 181 foreigners. Myanmar and Cambodian migrant workers were also found to have committed offences.

Most foreigners were found to have broken the law in the Patong area, with their offences including driving while intoxicated, overstaying their visas, entering the country illegally and working without a valid visa.

Until now, more than 800 hotel business owners have joined the island's crime-free measures to help local authorities monitor the illegal activities and improper behaviour of their tenants. The number of participants is soon expected to climb to 2,000 hotels, covering the entire island.

Under the measure, police will give a yellow warning for a first offence, with punishments then ranging from informing their respective consulates to banning them from staying in the kingdom.

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