Phuket curbs visa overstays
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Phuket curbs visa overstays

Tourists relax on a beach on Ko Racha Yai isalnd, Phuket in January. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)
Tourists relax on a beach on Ko Racha Yai isalnd, Phuket in January. (Photo: Achadthaya Chuenniran)

Phuket's acclaimed crime-free project has proved successful, with over 1,000 foreigners caught overstaying their visas.

With the cooperation of 800 accommodation providers on the resort island, the Phuket Immigration Office has endorsed crime-free measures which allow businesses to inform police of any suspicious activities involving foreign guests.

Pol Col Thanet Sukchai, the Phuket immigration chief, on Wednesday said the number of foreign guests registered at accommodation in Phuket over the last two months was over 20% higher than the number of foreign tourists who had arrived in Phuket during that period.

Pol Col Thanet said the new database helped police track down one missing foreigner recently.

He said that during May 1-25, Immigration Police raided 1,550 target locations in Phuket and arrested 11 foreigners who had overstayed their visas and another four people who had entered Thailand illegally.

According to the Immigration Bureau's Information Technology Centre, 1,050 foreigners had overstayed their visas.

Of those, 391 were not staying at their reported accommodation and 228 had since left Thailand.

Some 331 tourists had requested to extend their visas, 109 reportedly died, one was a bedridden patient and the other had received Thai citizenship, the centre said.

Only nine overstayers were facing legal action, said Pol Col Thanet.

He said anyone with information about tourists overstaying their visas or breaching the law in other ways could submit it to the Phuket Immigration Office or the Traffy Fondue application.

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