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Immigration officers told to increase screening of foreigners in Thailand

Foreigners in Thailand can expect increased scrutiny from the authorities in the wake of several high-profile criminal cases. Khaosod English reports that police have been issued new instructions to strictly enforce immigration laws.

Following two separate assault cases involving Swiss nationals, and the more recent case of two New Zealanders allegedly assaulting a Phuket police officer, the authorities are promising to ‘get tough’.

Roy Ingpairoj, deputy chief of the Royal Thai Police, has issued instructions to the Commissioner of Immigration calling for increased scrutiny of foreigners in Thailand. In particular, the authorities are targeting those who have entered the kingdom illegally and who have ulterior motives for being here.

Newly-issued instructions include…

• All foreigners entering and leaving the kingdom to be strictly screened. Enhanced screening will also apply to those seeking extensions of stay, visa stamps, and any change in visa status.

• All crimes committed by foreigners to be investigated and prosecuted, including violations of the Immigration Act, the Alien Employment Act, the Entertainment Places Act, illegal business operations, nominee arrangements where Thai nationals own shares or real estate on behalf of foreigners to avoid legal compliance.

• Foreign residents will be investigated to determine if they have any connection to mafia-like criminals.

• Revoke the visas of foreign nationals found to be in the kingdom without a valid reason or who engage in criminal behaviour, in accordance with the Immigration Act.

In addition, the Immigration Bureau has been told to come up with an action plan and a schedule for comprehensive, ongoing inspections across all areas.

Each arrest made must be further investigated and the results reported by the 10th of every month, beginning April 10.

SOURCE: Khaosod English

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