The deputy commander of immigration told the press of the latest arrests in a long running crackdown on over-stayers and people breaking the law by not continually reporting their whereabouts.
Maj-Gen Itthiphon Itthisanranachai was speaking on behalf of immigration and a large number of other police departments outside The Street on Rachadapisek in Bangkok at 1am this morning.
The latest sweep checked 229 places such as hotels, schools (both language and private), restaurants and private addresses. In total 490 people were arrested many from Thailand and neighboring countries.
The Maj-Gen said he was following government orders to rid the country of romance scammers, ATM skimmers and drug dealers. The Thai Rath newspaper story didn't suggest any of the recent arrests had been linked to such issues.
Of the recent arrests 14 were for visa overstays; 338 for entering Thailand illegally; 70 cases of not reporting an alien's whereabouts within 24 hours; 20 not staying at a registered address; and 16 illegal workers.
Of the 229 places raided 68 were businesses and shops, 6 were entertainment venues, 62 hotels and other accommodation and 93 others. The arrests for unreported whereabouts suggest that the police were targeting short time hotels.
A little-known political party competing in next week's Thai general election revealed one of its priority proposals for Thailand was to legalise the production and sale of sex toys.
The Tai Rak Tham party also proposed 24 hour opening for entertainment venues.
Deputy leader Chitsanupong Trairatrangsri said the party wished to emphasise the policy as the country has a huge amount of rubber which was the raw material for sex toys. Therefore, if the production of sex toys was allowed in Thailand, it would
add value to the rubber trade, he said.
Cecilia Cornu was in Phuket for a family holiday in January and was caught by Karon police holding an e-cigarette on Jan 30 whilst on a scooter with her fiance as her parents and brother followed behind.
Cornu said she was stopped by four police officers who snatched the e-cigarette and demanded B40,000, which she refused to pay. She said she was then arrested and taken to Karon Police Station where officers tried to bully her into paying a
Cornu was charged, her passport confiscated and a trial date set for Feb 11. Her return flight was scheduled for the following day. She posted bail of B100,000 and was released the same day pending trial.
On Feb 11 Cornu attended Phuket Provincial Court where she was convicted for the offence and says she was fined B827 (23 euros). She was then sent to Phuket Immigration for what she thought was to collect her passport. Upon arriving at the
immigration office, she was informed that she would be transferred to Bangkok for deportation.
Cornu was then taken to Bangkok where she claims she spent four days and three nights in a prison cell shared with 60 other women in dire conditions where she had to sleep on a hard, dirty floor with no sheets or mattresses before returning home
Karon Police Chief Col Prasarn Hankotha responded to Cornu's claims by denying the bribe but seemed to confirm the arrest, jailing and deportation.
Thai immigration has announced a major change regarding the financial requirements needed when applying for an extension of stay based on retirement using the 800k baht in the bank method (or the combination of income method) now need to keep
800k baht in the bank for five months, (for 2 month before and 3 months after the application). Furthermore 400k Baht must be kept in the bank thereafter.
The requirements for a retirement extension according to the new police order include:
(4) At least 2 months prior to filing date, and at least 3 months after being granted permission, the alien must have fund deposited in a bank in Thailand of no less than THB 800,000. The alien can withdraw the fund 3 months after being granted
permission and the remaining balance must be no less than THB 400,00 or;
(5) Must have and annual earning and fund deposited with a commercial bank in Thailand totalling of no less than THB 800,000 until the filing date. The said fund must remain in the account prior to and after the permission is granted and the
alien can make a withdrawal under the same conditions as stated in (4).
The new requirements to keep money in the bank for three months after the retirement visa is granted is effective from 1st March 2019.
The new requirements are likely the result of immigration officials trying to put an end to the practice of visa agents falsifying bank statements for foreigners who do not have enough money to meet the financial requirements needed for a
Thai people have little interest in European history and most seem to know nothing about the Second World War even if the country did get involved on the margins. However the west seems to somehow expect that Thais should be aware of the horrors
and sensitivities from that time... but they are simply not.
Now foreign diplomats have got all wound up by a female pop star unknowingly wearing a t-shirt decorated with a Nazi flag.
The band has issued an apology to match the tearful one delivered earlier by 20-year-old singer Pichayapa Namsai Natha. It was a bad fashion choice based on ignorance, she said.
But envoys from Israel and German have expressed dismay after a member of the popular all-girl singing group BNK48 sported a T-shirt bearing a swastika.
Smadar Shapira, deputy chief of mission of Israel in Thailand, said on Twitter that the Israeli Embassy was shocked and dismayed over the singer's outfit, noting that the Holocaust remembrance was imminent:
Presenting Nazi symbols by the band's singer hurt the feelings of millions around the world whose relatives were murdered by the Nazis.
German Ambassador Georg Schmidt, whose country has gone to great lengths to amend for the crimes of its wartime regime, also tweeted.
We share the shock and dismay expressed by @ShapiraSmadar from the Embassy of Israel. We invite members of #BNK48 to discuss the terror to the Nazi dictatorship with us.
The manager of BNK48 and singer Namsai later attened a meeting with the ambassador of Israel, Meir Shlomo, at the latter's residence to express their apologies in person. the ambassador said following the meeting:
I understand that it was an act arising from lack of knowledge and awareness, and I'm pleased that they have apologised and agreed to hold together educational activity in the future. The BNK48 has proposed that its members join an educational
workshop on the Holocaust, in order to emphasise their commitment to this important subject.
Thai immigration has confirmed it will show some leniency to foreigners with regards to proving income when applying for retirement and marriage extensions.
In an order dated 22nd December, Immigration chief Police Lieutenant General Surachet Hakpal, acknowledges that some applicants may have difficulty in providing the now required 12 months worth of bank statements showing income.
Where this is the case, the Pol Lt. Gen Hakpal has instructed immigration officers that from 1 Jan to 31 Dec 2019 they have discretion to accept evidence of less than 12 monthly transfers from overseas.
The applicants given leniency in this way are to be told by the officers that this is a one-off exemption and that their applications for the next renewal will not be accepted without a complete set of documents according to the order.
Previously incomes were verified by obtaining a letter from the relevant embassy but many of the estern embassies will no longer provide these letters.
Now that several foreign embassies have ended their service of providing letters supporting visa applicants income cliams, Thai Immigration has outlined replacement rules for evidencing ncome.
The income requirements remain unchanged in value (40,000 a month for those supporting Thais and 65,000 a month for retirees). Thai Immigration will now accept evidence as follows:
Tax receipts of the supporting relative presumably thos issues by the Thai tax authorities.
Evidence of a pension. Letter of certification from a Thai bank supported by bank statements showing a pension being transferred to the pensioner's bank account every month for at least 12 months. Exceptions are allowed for those who have been
retired for less than one year.
Evidence of income from a foreign embassy or consulate for those whose embassies are still providing the service