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 Some were arrested and had their visas withdrawn, he said.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.