319 outlaw foreigners from many countries and 50 Thai nationals were arrested for immigration offences in the latest “outlaw tourists” raids, which targeted 337 locations across Thailand on Friday morning.
Combined teams of local, immigration, tourist police and other agencies descended on premises in Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Nakhon Sawan and other provinces, targeting people at one language school, two secondary schools and 334 other places frequented by foreigners.
Pol Maj Gen Surachate Hakparn, acting Immigration Bureau chief, released details at a media briefing on Friday.
Also present were acting tourist police commissioner Pol Maj Gen Theeraphol Kuptanont and senior police officers from other agencies involved.
Ninety-six of those arrested (65 from Myanmar, 13 from India, 7 from Laos, 4 from Vietnam, 2 each from Cambodia and Russia, one each from China, Ghana and Nigeria) were charged with overstaying their visas.
The longest overstayer was Francis Okai, 36, a Ghanaian man caught in Bangkok 656 days after he should have left, followed by Arjun Kumar Yadav, 30, an Indian national caught in Kanchanaburi for overstaying 162 days, and a Vietnamese woman, Nguen Thi Ngoc, 28, who was arrested in Nakhon Sawan 60 days after her visa expired, Pol Maj Gen Surachate siad.
Another 131 (79 from Myanmar, 15 from Cambodia, 10 from Laos, 9 from China, 7 from Vietnam, 6 from India, one each from Malaysia, the Philippines, the USA, Ivory Coast, and another whose nationality was not released) were charged with illegal entry.
The remaining 142 (50 Thais, 48 from Laos, 21 from Cambodia, 14 from Myanmar, 4 from China, one each from India, Vietnam, Canada, Israel and the US) were charged with other offences.
The raids were the 21st phase of operation X-Ray Outlaw Foreigner, which aims to sweep out foreign criminals entering the country to commit crime, such as romance scams, credit card skimming and drug trafficking, and those who overstay their visas, the acting Immigration Bureau chief said.
To date, a total of 2,273 people had been arrested during raids at 4,496 locations across the country. Authorities would continue the crackdown, imposed stricter measures and search more locations in tourist provinces and border areas to boost overall safety for tourists, he said.
All the arrested foreigners would be put on police blacklists and deported to their home countries, Pol Maj Gen Surachate said.
WASSAYOS NGAMKHAM reports on Bangkok Post