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Indians rearrested in Phuket for fake passports

PHUKET: Two men who escaped from custody whilst being detained at Sakoo Police Station in Thalang on Saturday after they were deported by South Korean officials after being found to attempted to enter the country using fake passports were rearrested in Patong at 11pm on Saturday night.

crime, immigration, police, patong, transport,

Eakkapop Thongtub

Monday 22 May 2017, 12:40PM

Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Teerapol Thipcharoen (centre) announces the rearrest of Sandeep Singh, 30 and Raj Kumar, 36, at a press conference yesterday (May 21). Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub
Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Teerapol Thipcharoen (centre) announces the rearrest of Sandeep Singh, 30 and Raj Kumar, 36, at a press conference yesterday (May 21). Photo: Eakkapop Thongtub

At 10:48am on Saturday (May 20), Thalang District Chief (Palad) Mr Siriphong Leeprasit published images of two men who had escaped from Sakoo Police Station in Thalang. He also asked anyone who saw the men to contact police. (See story here.)

At 2pm yesterday (May 21), Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Teerapol Thipcharoen confirmed to The Phuket News that Col Jirasak Siangsak of the Sakoo Police, Col Chaiwat Uikum and Lt Col Somsak Thongkliang of the Patong Police, and Deputy Inspector of the Phuket Tourist Police Capt Ekachai Siri and other investigative officers had jointly arrested the two suspects, Indian nationals Sandeep Singh, 30 and Raj Kumar, 36, in front of a tailors shop near the Otop market in Patong.

According to Maj Gen Teerapol, although there were 10 police officers on duty on Saturday morning, the suspects somehow managed to escape the station at 8am after asking to go outside to smoke.

Maj Gen Teerapol said, “After their escape, Sakoo Police together with a police investigation team from Patong Police Station managed to trace the men using CCTV footage.

Officers found that the men had taken a green-plate taxi from Soi Pa-neum in Sakoo to Soi Sainamyen in Patong.

“After that, good citizens started to send us photos of the suspects who they had seen walking in front of the Patong Seafood Restaurant on Thaveewong Rd in Patong.

We understand that the men changed their clothes before disappearing from the area. Another tip-off then led officers the Otop Market near Rat Uthit Rd.

Finally, at 11pm, officers caught the two men while walking in front of a tailors shop,” Maj Gen Teerapol said.

Both men said that they contacted a passport forgery network in India, however, we believe the men actually obtained the fake passports via a network in one of the southern provinces of Thailand and that they bought them for two-million rupee or approximately B1.2 million.

“After paying for the passports the suspects came to Bangkok in the middle of March via Suvarnabhumi Airport. On this occasion they used real passports to travel to Phuket while they awaited delivery of the fake passports,” he continued.

“On Friday (May 19), Singh and Kumar travelled to South Korea on transit to Canada but they were found to be using the fake Portuguese passports so were deported back to Phuket,” he added.

Maj Gen Teerapol made a point of saying that after questioning the two men he is sure that the two men are in no way connected to terrorism activities.

According to the suspects, it was their intention to go to work in Canada. They used forged passports to be able to stay in Canada longer as if they used Indian passport they would not be able to stay in Canada long-term and would not be able to work.

Canadian officials are very strict with Indians because of smuggling,” he said.

However, officers will need to investigate the case in greater depth to thoroughly check where the suspects have come from and how they came here. We will also investigate the network where they obtained the fake passports, the rest is simply legal proceedings.

Although the men are not Thai and the forging was not done in Phuket, this type of incident damages the reputation of the country so we must follow the law.

Sakoo Police must now file charges against the men for using fake documents. They must also charge the men for escaping detention.

Furthermore, Sakoo Police must investigate how the men managed to escape detention and find a solution to prevent this happening again,” he added.

Gen Teeraphol also stated that immigration officers will also become involved in the case and look into the issue of fake passports being used at Phuket International Airport.

“Phuket is not known by us a being a place where fake passports are made and I have never come across a case where passports have been made here,” he said. “However, we believe that Phuket is a place where fake passports are distributed,” he added.  



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