US boxer among about 100 foreigners nabbed for visa overstay

US boxer among about 100 foreigners nabbed for visa overstay

The Immigration Bureau shows about 100 foreigners rounded up for overstaying visas in a news conference in Bangkok on Monday. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
The Immigration Bureau shows about 100 foreigners rounded up for overstaying visas in a news conference in Bangkok on Monday. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

Immigration police rounded up more then 100 foreigners who overstayed their visas, including an American Muay Thai fighter who once went toe-to-toe with Thai boxing legend Buakaw Banchamek.

Immigration police commander Nathathorn Prausoontorn told a news conference on Monday that the Immigration Bureau recently arrested 50 Pakistanis, 15 Indians, eight Somalis, three each from Guinea, Nigeria and Vietnam; two each from Mali and Liberia, one from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and 22 from other countries.

The American captured was apprehended by immigration police in Chon Buri province: Malik Naeem Watson-Smith, 23, who once was an opponent of Buakaw's in well-promoted Muay Thai bouts.

The boxer, also known as Malik "Perfect Boy" Watson,  was charged with overstaying his visa for 691 days.

He previously was charged with assault and, on May 19, 2010, the Bangkok South Municipal Court released him temporarily, but prevented him from leaving the country.

He did not attend Monday's news conference.

Another notable arrest was that of 37-year-old Russian fugitive Evgeniy Gubarev. He is wanted by Russian police and Interpol for a large-scale fraud and money laundering and had overstayed his visa while hiding out in Thailand.

Pol Lt Gen Nathathorn said immigration police intended to round up more than 20% of foreigners who overstayed their visas in Thailand.

Next March the government will impose new immigration regulations that impose lengthy entry bans on overstaying foreigners. Immigration police said Monday that most of those who exceed their legal time in the kingdom are running from legal problems at home.


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