Security checks will close foreigner loophole

Security checks will close foreigner loophole

New rules to tighten issuance of pink cards

Deputy police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul has called for security background checks to be carried out on migrant workers seeking temporary work permits. 

Pol Gen Srivara raised the issue at a meeting with the heads of immigration offices in the South at Immigration Division 6 in Songkhla's Hat Yai district to toughen measures to thwart human trafficking and ensure security in the region.

The move is needed as there is a loophole in the process of granting temporary work permits, or pink cards, he said, noting that foreigners are not required to undergo checks.

Those who are blacklisted by Thai authorities could use this channel to sneak into the country, he said.

A proposal will be made to link the security database with the procedure for granting the cards, Pol Gen Srivara said. 

The deputy police chief gave an example of a Myanmar national, identified as Mohamed, who was arrested in Phangnga province on June 13, 2013 for allegedly being involved in a human trafficking network. 

Police could find no evidence to support a human trafficking case against him but still charged the man for failing to work in an authorised job.

He was later deported and blacklisted.

On Feb 25 this year, police found the man again in Phangnga, though he holds a passport with a red stamp indicating he is a security threat to the country. 

The Crime Suppression Division later charged him with complicity in human trafficking.

Despite being barred from entering the country, the man exploited the channel where authorities allowed employers to bring in foreign workers for documentation to receive pink cards, Pol Gen Srivara said. 

Police will investigate the employer, who was identified as "Be". 

Other employers or job brokers will also be probed for whether they made false claims to have pink cards issued for their workers or if any human trafficking had been involved, he said.

The deputy police chief also instructed immigration officers to strictly screen foreigners who enter and exit the country, and clamp down on those who illegally enter the country. 

Pol Lt Gen Thammasak Wicharaya, assistant police chief, who also attended the meeting, instructed the officers to expand their probe into state officials to determine whether they unlawfully granted pink cards or helped arrange the illegal entry of foreigners. 

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) is ramping up efforts to ensure security in areas in Bangkok where foreigners are present. MPB commissioner Sanit Mahathaworn said police will focus on a total of 10 locations, including popular tourist spots and community areas.  

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