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20+ already arrested in purge of foreigner law-breakers in Phuket

PHOTO: Phuket Tourist Police

Police in Phuket have arrested at least 20 people in what appears to be a crackdown on foreigners working illegally and/or overstaying their visas. Phuket Provincial Police posted an announcement on their Facebook page, but didn’t give a reason for the sudden flurry of activity.

“Right now, in every area in Phuket, the police are taking offences committed by tourists seriously. We want the people of Phuket to trust us.”

The arrests are believed to be linked to the furore over Swiss expat Urs Fehr, who has been charged with assault after kicking a female doctor.

The case has gripped the country, with senior politicians, including the PM, wading in and calling for action against law-breaking foreigners. The Immigration Bureau has confirmed that Mr Fehr’s visa has been revoked.

Among the arrests across the island yesterday, March 6, were a Russian man accused of working illegally in a marijuana shop in Kathu. Also arrested were Russian nationals Tatiana Zaichkina and Timur Tuktalov who have been on overstay since February 1.

In Karon, Australian Carl Ken Haddad was arrested for illegal possession of diazepam, a Category 4 narcotic, while Russian Andrei Alexandrov was arrested at Nai Yang Beach after it was discovered he had overstayed by just one day.

The arrests continued with a number of people detained for working illegally at a restaurant in the sub-district of Cherngtalay, near the Bangtao night market. They included Briton Adam Howard Fleming and Burmese nationals Eingwe Win, Yian Nay Su, and Su Su Khaing.

Three Russians were also nabbed in Cherng Talay, running an illegal car rental business. Four of their foreign ’employees’ were also asked for their work permits – they were unable to produce them.

Meanwhile, in Kathu, police arrested an Australian man who had overstayed his visa by 34 days an also owed 178,185 baht in unpaid hospital bills following a motorbike accident in January.

In Patong, a Romanian man was arrested for working illegally selling tours, while in Wichit, Russian national Denis Gaikov was detained for working at a cannabis store.

In the northern sub-district of Mai Khao, Yekaterina Fyodorova from Kazakhtan was arrested for working illegally by “driving a vehicle for hire”.

Finally, 4 Burmese nationals were arrested at a construction site in nearby Nai Yang after they failed to produce passports or any evidence of being legally employed. They have been charged with entering the country illegally and working without authorisation.

The authorities have not confirmed if their employer will face any charges.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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