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12 Foreign Tourists Arrested On "visa Run"

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Police arrest 12 on Ranong ‘visa run’

RANONG: -- Twelve foreign tourists were pulled off a “visa run” bus just 40 miles from Ranong and confined to a jail cell overnight for overstaying their visas.

The company that arranged the tour claims that the arresting officers, from the Tourist Police and Highway Police, demanded 5,000 baht from each of the overstayed tourists in exchange for letting them go. The police strenuously deny this.

Six officers waved over the well-known “Big Bus” run by Phenpat Co Ltd at about 11 am yesterday morning in Ranong’s Kapoe District. The officers inspected the passports of the 34 foreign passengers and found that 12 had overstayed their visas.

They separated the 12 from the others, who were allowed to continue on to Ranong. The 12 were taken off in a police truck and confined in the local police cells.

Jutarat Payonchart, an emplo yee of Phenpat Co Ltd, told the Gazette from the Ranong courthouse this afternoon that the police had overreacted by incarcerating the visa runners.

“Why did they have to keep them overnight in a cell? These aren’t illegal aliens trying to hide out in the country,” she asked, adding that most were just one- or two-day overstays. The maximum overstay was just 12 days, she added.

K. Jutharat said she was preparing to pay fines for those who had not brought along enough money to cover the unexpected expense – but by 5:30 pm the following day they were still at Ranong Provincial Court trying to pay the fines.

One of those arrested, a 31-year-old Australian man whose 30-day tourist visa expired the day before, told the Gazette: “It was terrible. I am so dirty now – I need to change my clothes. We didn’t have any information.

“It was crap. The pol ice are hospitable in a way, but they don’t give us any information. They say we broke the law and all this stuff.

“In my case, on Tuesday I went to [Phuket] Immigration and said, ‘This is the last day of my visa, it expires tomorrow, what should I do?’ and they said, ‘Go and do a visa run tomorrow and pay a 200 baht overstay.’

“That’s exactly what I [was doing], but then we get pulled over by the Tourist Police and Highway Police and they make a huge problem for us,” he said.

He added that he found it dangerous and embarrassing to be forced to squat in the back of a cramped, hot police truck, which transported the overstayers along the highway with a police escort, sirens blaring.

The unexpected delay had also caused him to missed his flight out of the country, he said.

Pol Maj Songproad Sirikul, the new head of the Ranong Tourist Po lice, told the Gazette that his office had received a report that a business was assisting illegal aliens by bringing them to Burma. He said he ordered his men to check into this and, when they did, it turned out to be true.

“The police arrested them because they broke the law,” he said.

He denied K. Jutarat’s claims that the officers asked for 5,000 baht from each tourist in exchange for letting them go.

“I think that’s impossible. I can guarantee that the Tourist Police officers did not ask for money because we are not in trouble [financially] and I constantly remind them to not do that.

“If the visa runners have any witnesses or other evidence as to which officer asked for money, they should contact me direct,” he said.

Source: The Phuket Gazette 2006-02-09

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It's a no brainer really. Don't overstay. Take the bus the day before not after. :o

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He denied K. Jutarat’s claims that the officers asked for 5,000 baht from each tourist in exchange for letting them go.

:o:D

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They say we broke the law and all this stuff.

Unbelievable. :o

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It's a no brainer really. Don't overstay. Take the bus the day before not after. :D

Hard concept isnt it???? :o

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“In my case, on Tuesday I went to [Phuket] Immigration and said, ‘This is the last day of my visa, it expires tomorrow, what should I do?’ and they said, ‘Go and do a visa run tomorrow and pay a 200 baht overstay.’

can't see any reason why this might not be true.If it is, you would feel sorry for the bugger. Not all people are as well informed as us here on TV........

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Coincidentally, on the other side of Thailand at nearly the same time, a very similar report.... although it's ostensibly to "protect" tourists from unscrupulous tours... but quite believable, in light of the Ranong report, that they could also be screening foreign passports on their way to Cambodia for a visa run.

Tourist Police Security operations stepped-up

7th February 2006

We joined Police Lieutenant Colonel Wootishart, the Chief of Pattaya’s Tourist Police Division who organized this Tourist Security Check Point on the Sukumvit Road near the entrance to Highway 36 which leads to Rayong Province. The purpose of the operation was to randomly check coaches and tourist guides to ensure that the guides had the correct identification badges and the coaches possessed the correct insurance papers should an accident occur and tourists were injured. On this day nothing untoward was found and Lieutenant Colonel Wootishart spoke with us and told us that the Tourist Police will continue ensuring the safety of tourists who come to Pattaya through these checkpoints and regular patrols around Pattaya, both day and night.

- PCN

clearly shows the perils of over-staying... even 1 day... and even on the way to correcting it. Might be worth considering changing future advice to members when the inevitable and numerous threads start asking, "What about over-stay for 2 days, am I ok?"

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But why did the Aussie that overstayed only 1 day wanted to do a visa run if he anyways has planned to leave the country 2 days later ????

He should have had better information

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But why did the Aussie that overstayed only 1 day wanted to do a visa run if he anyways has planned to leave the country 2 days later ????

He should have had better information

When I asked Chiang Mai Immigration the same question 6 months ago (I was returning to NZ and would have a two day overstay on my passport) they told me that I would just have to pay a small fine etc, but they did tell me that for whatever reason that if I was caught overstaying, i would be in doodoo.

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I gotta' think that if the Police know that for any given bus load of 34 foreigners, they can "nail" 12 for overstay - and maybe make some dosh off - looking the other way - then it is a given that such "ambushes" will occur from time to time.

For some reason, the situation brought to mind the crocodiles in the Zambezi river, waiting at the fording site for the annual migration of the wildabeasts. They get a GUARANTREED meal. 'Too easy to pass up. Same, same Ranong Police.

It is a big risk trying to make it to a land border with an intention to pay an overstay fine - thsi approach works at the airport, but is not a safe bet by land.

Cheers!

Steve

Indo-Siam

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In australia if you overstay your visa you get locked up for years.

There was 1 case were we locked up a overstayer for more then 10 years :o

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All major roads to border points are routinely controlled, though until now, they didn't take interest in visa-runners with 1 or 2 days overstay.

I was picked out once with more than a month overstay, but was treated well, they drove me to the border together with about 30 Burmese who were chained together and loaded into the cage on the back of the truck (I sat at the front with the driver sharing a cigarette). They even made me a cup of coffee while waiting for border immigration to open.

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The unexpected delay had also caused him to missed his flight out of the country, he said.

??? and why was he on a visa run if he wanted to leave the next day anyways? :o

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