< /p> A domestic traveler who stayed on the resort island of Koh Phangan (Surat Thani province) in Thailand for more than six months was arrested by the tourist police during a daytime raid.
According to The Thaiger, the 50-year-old went to a grocery store in the northern city of Chaloklam earlier this week and did not expect to be confronted by law enforcement. Immigration officials confirmed to the publication that the tourist overstayed his visa by a staggering 188 days. In other words, he had to leave the tropical country in September last year. The overstayed traveler was arrested and is now awaiting a fine and deportation.
It is not known how the Russian came to the attention of the immigration authorities, but this case is one of many examples of Thailand's recent application of tightened visa rules. Immigration officials across the country are cracking down on foreigners who have overstayed their stamps or visas. Late last year, a campaign was launched to aggressively seek out tourists who stayed in the kingdom long after the date stamped on their passports.
In Surat Thani, a resort province that includes the islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao, the immigration service uses new technologies. The police have equipped smart patrol cars with advanced facial recognition to quickly check on foreigners. Immigration officers patrol in Wi-Fi-enabled vehicles, usually BMWs, to catch foreign offenders.
Thus, as a result of the November 2022 raid on Koh Ngan, Thailand's fifth largest island, immigration police arrested four foreigners. Among them – one Russian with an overdue visa for 29 days, a French woman with an overdue visa for 93 days. Both are charged on suspicion of being “foreigners whose authorized entry into the kingdom has expired”. The third was a citizen of Laos: this case turned out to be egregious. According to the royal police, he never had a valid visa in Thailand, which means he entered Thailand illegally.
Then, two weeks later, the police arrested a Kuwaiti living on the island of Koh Phangan. According to police, a 56-year-old man was illegally in the country for 16 days.
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