A foreign tourist was arrested and three illegal migrant workers detained when Pattaya police raided popular Walking Street nightspots as part of a pre-New Year’s immigration crackdown.
More than 100 officers from a special operations unit and Pattaya police station took part in the late-night sweep launched around 1am almost exclusively on the South Pattaya nightlife strip Tuesday morning.
The sweep targeting foreigners was extremely unusual, especially given the timing a week before Christmas. During previous raids, foreigners were ushered out while authorities checked and drug tested Thais and immigrant workers.
This morning, however, officers stormed nightspots, including the Sensations coyote bar and 808 disco, finding many tourists not carrying their passports as legally required. Anyone unable to produce their immigration paperwork was taken to Pattaya police station for questioning.
One tourist found actually carrying his passport was arrested after officers discovered it was expired.
Three migrant workers discovered working illegally at a Walking Street restaurant also were taken into custody pending legal action.
The raid was part of the national police chief's policy ordering the Chon Buri police chief and the commander of the local tourist police division to crack down illegals and foreign criminals to prevent possible unrest during the New Year festivities, as well as improve security for tourists.
Authorities checked passports and identification cards at the Sensations go-go bar and 808 disco early Tuesday. (Photos by Chaiyot Phuttanapong)