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Phuket immigration chief transferred in shock resignation

PHOTO: Matichon

The chief of Phuket Immigration has resigned from his position and been transferred “with immediate effect”, according to a Phuket News report. Thanet Sukchai tendered his surprise resignation in a letter submitted to the Commander of the Immigration Division on Wednesday, November 29.

“I wish to resign from government service, to maintain a moral system for the organisation. And I hope that in the coming era, people who work hard, sacrifice, and have good results will be considered fairly. Therefore, I am hereby requesting your consideration.”

Thanet’s resignation was accepted and he was transferred the next day to the same role at the Immigration office in the western province of Prachuap Khiri Khan.

The Phuket News reports that Thanet has headed up Phuket Immigration for over 3 years and was widely praised for the “Phuket Crime-Free” initiative, which focused on keeping the island’s accommodation “crime and drug-free”, for the safety and wellbeing of tourists and locals alike.

In September, Thanet also oversaw the launch of a hotline that enabled people to report “bad foreigners” in their area. This followed concerns raised by islanders that Russians were “taking over”. Thanet denied reports in the foreign press that Russians, including alleged members of the Russian mafia, were taking over Phuket.

The former immigration chief’s resignation and subsequent transfer is being linked by some to an incident on October 27, when two immigration officers were assaulted in the course of their work.

The two officers were attempting to gain access to a luxury villa in Chergntalay, with the intention of arresting an Indian man who had allegedly overstayed his visa. They were then attacked by a number of foreigners, who had been hired as security guards at the villa.

Eventually, the Phuket SWAT team had to be brought in to diffuse the situation and end a siege that had gone on for over 4 hours. Unsubstantiated reports say Thanet was heavily criticised by some subordinates following the incident.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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