Some foreigners including a Nigerian national, a Cameroonian, Indian, and an Algerian were arrested in Phuket on Wednesday, for illegally staying in Thailand after their permit had expired.
Acting Deputy Chief of the Thai Tourist Police Maj Gen Surachet Hakpan, who disclosed this at a press conference yesterday October 11, said four suspects were arrested for entering the country illegally.
Also present at the press conference, held at the Phuket Tourist Police headquarters in Phuket Town, was Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Teerapol Thipjaroen and other high-ranking officers.
Eleven suspects were arrested with drugs, in raids that saw 126.2 grams of crystal meth (ya ice) and 2,558 methamphetamine pills (ya bah) seized and two people were arrested for illegal possession of firearms.
Gen Surachet revealed that six suspects were arrested in raids on diving and tour boat operators, but did not name any of the operators, the companies involved or any details of when or where the raids took place.
Two of the six were arrested for working illegally as tour guides and two others were arrested for not providing accident insurance for tourists.
Gen Surachet also mentioned that one suspect was arrested during a raid on what was described as a “health operation”.
Police seized 1,193 bottles of medicine to be taken by injection, 269 bottles and 210 capsules of dietary supplements and 18 items of cosmetic make-up.
It was not made clear if any of the suspects taken into custody were charged with multiple offences. Some of the suspects were present at the conference, with their faces covered with medical masks.
“Phuket is an area where there is a variety of natural tourism destinations of the Andaman Sea. There are many islands around Phuket which are world tourism destinations. Many tourists from around the world visit Phuket,” Gen Surachet said.
British International School, Phuket
However, he noted, “Even though officers strictly focus on tourists’ safety and security, we still receive many reports about tourists being cheated and exploited on products and services.”
“Also we receive reports about many groups of criminals, such as taxi services exploiting tourists and even groups of overstay tourists working together as gangs to trade in drugs and commit other crimes,” Gen Surachet explained.
“All of these cause very much damage to Thailand’s tourism image. The government has ordered soldiers and police to urgently protect and suppress crimes in tourism areas,” Gen Surachet added.