Scores of visa-less for­eign­ers nabbed

Cops net 56 il­le­gal aliens in sting ops


A Ger­man man who has stayed in Thai­land for nine years with­out a visa was among 56 for­eign­ers busted this month as po­lice con­tinue to crack down on il­le­gal aliens and crim­i­nal sus­pects as part of the on­go­ing “X-ray Out­law For­eigner” cam­paign.

Of­fi­cers searched 74 lo­ca­tions lo­ca­tions na­tion­wide in­clud­ing in­ter­na­tional schools, lan­guage schools and nearly two dozen reg­u­lar Thai schools.

They took aim at those who en­tered the coun­try as tourists and sub­se­quently com­mit­ted of­fences here such as en­gag­ing in credit card scams or de­ceiv­ing women on­line into send­ing them money.

Re­gard­ing the so-called “ro­mance scam”, gang mem­bers al­legedly duped Thai women into be­liev­ing the men had fallen in love with them so they would wire money into their ac­counts.

Deputy Tourist Bureau chief Su­rachate Hak­parn said yes­ter­day that 11 for­eign­ers were caught for over­stay­ing their visas, in­clud­ing five peo­ple from Myan­mar, two from Europe and some In­dian na­tion­als who also tested pos­i­tive for drug use.

The Ger­man na­tional was iden­ti­fied as 56-year-old Michael Ewald.

An­other 41 were found to have en­tered the coun­try il­le­gally, Pol Maj Gen Su­rachate said, ex­plain­ing that 18 were In­dian, nine from Laos, seven from Myan­mar and six from Cam­bo­dia.

Po­lice ar­rested four of the to­tal on other charges, he noted.

He said of­fi­cers tar­geted lan­guage schools as some for­eign­ers are known to pose as stu­dents to gain a visa but then never at­tend any classes. Some were ar­rested and had their visas with­drawn, he said.

Of­fi­cers also cap­tured a for­mer foot­ball coach from Ghana who had been dis­missed af­ter work­ing for only a few months but had re­mained in the coun­try un­law­fully.

Po­lice have now car­ried out 31 rounds of the crack­down, with 3,947 lo­ca­tions searched and 1,724 for­eign­ers busted, Pol Maj Gen Su­rachate said.

He trav­elled to Hat Yai district in Songkhla yes­ter­day to fol­low up on the op­er­a­tion there to clamp down on a gang traf­fick­ing Ro­hingya Mus­lims and peo­ple from Myan­mar.

The se­nior po­lice of­fi­cer said four key agents from Myan­mar were also busted.

Of­fi­cers res­cued 89 vic­tims and of­fi­cers from the Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment and Hu­man Se­cu­rity are now screen­ing them, he said.

Prior to the lat­est round, po­lice car­ried out seven stings in Bangkok, Ranong, Chumphon, Su­rat Thani, Songkhla, Pat­tani and Narathi­wat, where 81 Myan­mar na­tion­als and a group of Ro­hingya, in­clud­ing five chil­dren, were res­cued.

Of­fi­cers busted 12 al­leged of­fend­ers and seized two coaches, three pick­ups and four cars.

Pol Maj Gen Su­rachate said the gangs were known to of­fi­cers for smug­gling Myan­mar na­tion­als and Ro­hingya into Thai­land, a tran­sit point en route to Malaysia.

He said there are five gangs in Myan­mar, 50 in Thai­land, and three in Malaysia.

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