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rooster59

Passport Control: Phuket police confirm will hold passports as they see fit

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To me, if the issue is seizing the passport principally as a means to avoid flight by the accused while there is an open legal matter, then an immigration "stopper" might seem to be an effective workaround in lieu of seizing the actual passport.

However, I'm sure they are places where a stopper may not be noticed or acted upon, thus seizing the passport might have a stronger deterrent effect.

I do think it's fair for a sovereign nation to insure that a foreigner remains in country while there is a pending legal matter - more so for criminal matters, but I think civil matters should also be addressed before a foreigner is given exit clearance.

That said, I do think there needs to be fair balance between how long an agency may detain a passport before its ether returned or a more formal action like an arrest warrant, indictment or similar is taken - and absent that, the foreigner be permitted free movement to include departure.

In regard to your first paragraph, IMHO this bring some specific questions:

- Does immigration have the IT software / the databases / the systems etc.,that would automatically 'ring a bell' for an immigration senior to go quickly to that passport desk to take over, and the senior must enter a special password so that anything at all can proceed?

Further, do the appropriate level of police officers in all locations / all stations have easy 24 hour access to block a passport in the immigration database and know how to easily access the system?

With today's IT availability surely the above would be quite easy to set up?

Just wondering?

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The "law" seems to be made up by anyone wearing a uniform as they see fit. I see fit to avoid Phuket for all sorts of reasons

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The fact is that the passport is the property of the Country issuing it. It is not the property of the holder. Therefore, does the Thai government have the right to hold another Countrys property?

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If they are taking this position you would think they would at least have the common sense to hold the passports of some of these Thai criminals that are released on bail right after their crimes or even after they have been found guilty by the courts (even for such crimes as murder) then are able to flee Thailand because they still have their passports.

Sounds more like a cash crab from a position of power.

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This is clearly illegal and violating international laws. The passport is the property of the issuing country and cannot be taken away by the police, with exception by court decision. A traffic accident gives not the right to the police to confiscate the passport.

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we should make this story go viral too....

first the Bridge players now this!

Pretty clear that Thailand do not want tourist to come.....

or only when they can extort money from them?

whistling.gif

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Under customary international law, passports are the property of the state which issued them In the case of a British passport, for example, the document belongs to the British government and not to the passport holder. The international case-law is clear - the impounding of a foreigner's passport is impermissible interference with the jurisdiction of the issuing State

I am afraid your quoting international law to deaf ears here. Its the year of the Monkey. Its only going to get worse. I just replentished my bank account and now rather regret that I did. That is why I refuse to buy property own a car or motorbike. Never put yourself in a compromising position here. You just never know when the ground will open up and swallow you here even simple stupid things like the Bridge club bust can turn into a headache. Things here seem to be drifting more and more in the direction of the style of rule in China, Vietnam and surrounding countries. As Romping Ronnie said an axis of e..l. Total control of the masses seems to be their goal.

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cops held my passport for 2 years over a problem with my work permit only letting me have it back for 90 day reporting. i only found out afterwards they are not allowed to do that. wonder if aussie embassy would have helped me get it back.

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Contacted by The Phuket News this week about their position on handing passports over, the British embassy in Bangkok noted, “It is a valuable document and remains the property of the British Government. It should not be used as a guarantee or deposit for anything with a third party.”

However, the embassy also recognised, “As part of Court proceedings and on the basis of legal advice, you may decide to surrender your passport as part of bail conditions.” (Click here for UK Government travel advice for British nationals in Thailand.)

Similarly, the US embassy in Bangkok noted, “We encourage US citizens to comply with local law enforcement requests and instructions.”

However, the embassy also noted, “Assisting US citizens in need is our highest priority and an individuals should contact the US Embassy if he or she has any concerns or if any assistance is required.” (Click here for information about US embassy services provided to US citizens in Thailand.)

The US embassy specifically warned American nationals against scams by car, motorbike and jet-ski operators falsely claiming exorbitant amounts of money for damages to their vehicles, but added, “Note that the Embassy cannot intervene in personal financial disputes; however, you can apply for a new passport at the US Embassy or Consulate General if you have not recovered your passport.” (Click here for details.)

The Australian embassy in Bangkok noted, “Passports are valuable documents that should be appropriately protected… Australians should not provide passports as deposits or guarantees under any circumstances.”

Just love the Expats' Embassies positions......CYA all the way...

This is another thing that scares me is the embassies of the world's total indifference to our welfare as a whole. Their silence is deafening.

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I think this may be against international law or treaty.

A court must order the forfeiture of a passport for a person under investigation.

Hell, I'd just go to the embassy and report my passport stolen and get a new one since it was arbitrarily confiscated without court order and nothing on record.

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Utterly BS as usual but TIT!

Only a court can confiscate a passport from a person as a measure stopping a person from leaving a country. They can look at it photocopy it to establish true identity......

If we look into "small print" - a passport is not even a property of the person it is issued to. Mine says something like property of the kingdom of ....... and i am purely a holder of the privilege to be issued one.....

Clearly the BIB is here taking a "god" role and stretching their legal rights again, but that is no surprise. coffee1.gif

If me I would never have waited 3 weeks, same day as told this BS i would have involved the embassy. as they are not allowed to confiscate it without a court order.

they where most likely fishing for a brown envelope.

wai2.gif

good info, but what would be helpful to everyone reading these comments is to post a link to the Thai law that addresses this issue.

If it is illegal to confiscate a passport, maybe along with a copy of your passport you carry a copy of the law written in Thai.

Of course along with your CNN or BBC foreign correspondent business card. smile.png

My understanding is that a Thai law is somewhat irrelevant. The issue is one of established customary international law. This article is primarily about the impounding of foreign passports by the USA, but the principles apply more generally:

http://digitalcommons.law.ggu.edu/annlsurvey/vol16/iss1/6/?utm_source=digitalcommons.law.ggu.edu%2Fannlsurvey%2Fvol16%2Fiss1%2F6&utm_medium=PDF&utm_campaign=PDFCoverPages

Since when did the Thais know, understand or care about international law?

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My U.S. passport is the property of the U.S. government...so they say. Are they going to seize an aircraft carrier? The U.S. Embassy grounds? See page 5 of passport.

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A passport does not belong to the individual to whom it is issued. It is the property of the issuing government and to confiscate it or to steal it is an offence against that government. If such an action is threatened the holder should demand to call his/her embassy and seek advice. (However, in the case of the British Embassy, you will not be given any advice or support and will be left to fend for yourself.)

The police can quite effectively photocopy the passport and place a marker with all border posts to disallow departure until the matter is resolved. That's all they can legally do.

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