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Visa marriage crackdown targets police

BANGKOK: Police officers are the latest target in the Immigration Bureau’s crackdown on transnational criminals in Thailand.

crime, corruption, police,

Bangkok Post

Monday 25 July 2016, 09:00AM

Lt Gen Nathathorn Prousoontorn, head of the Police Immigration Bureau, says corrupt officers are protecting the transnational criminals he is after, under his policy of “Good guys in, bad guys out” for foreigners in Thailand. Photo: Somchai Poomlard/AFP
Lt Gen Nathathorn Prousoontorn, head of the Police Immigration Bureau, says corrupt officers are protecting the transnational criminals he is after, under his policy of “Good guys in, bad guys out” for foreigners in Thailand. Photo: Somchai Poomlard/AFP

Months after the bureau’s tougher measures against crooked foreigners, including those who “lawfully” marry Thai women to stay in the country longer, its chief Nathathorn Prousoontorn has become increasingly aware that keeping a lookout for foreign suspects is not enough. He has to look more closely inside his agency, finding flaws that may hinder the crackdown.

In his latest order on Thursday (July 21) to his subordinates nationwide, Lt Gen Nathathorn warned officers against dishonest acts as he listed the bureau’s action plans to screen foreigners [staying] in the country illegally.

Though he did not identify specific rogue officers, the order suggests he became concerned after inspecting procedures to check foreigners’ travel to and from Thailand and for arresting foreign suspects.

Foreign travellers are, in some cases, required to pay immigration fees, but “if officers demand ‘extra fees’, they will be subject to both disciplinary and criminal punishments”, Lt Gen Nathathorn said in the order.

He also stressed he would consider extending the punishments to cover the officers’ commanders.

One part of his order also emphasises officers’ operations to deal with foreigners suspected of having illegal status. Officers who “round up an unusually high number of suspects in one operation” or are dishonest must be transferred.

In short, all behaviour that violates the bureau’s strict policy to ensure transparency must be eradicated, reads the order.

Lt Gen Nathathorn has raised doubts about state agencies since his bureau in April unveiled a plan to crack down on fake marriages, following the marriage of an alleged South Korean criminal and a Thai woman.

He ordered immigration officers to investigate if authorities colluded with foreigners to help enable sham marriages.

The South Korean, identified as Jung Hyuneseok, married a Thai woman last year and has been on the run from South Korean and Interpol officers accuse him of running a drug trafficking business.


Lt Gen Nathathorn suspected the 47-year-old businessman might have used his marriage to the woman as a way to stay in Thailand.

Another criminal suspect, a Japanese man named Shuhei Yoshizawa, is also believed to have married a Thai woman so he could remain in hiding in Thailand.

The man, who was arrested on May 1, was allegedly a key member of the Yakuza transnational crime syndicate.

An initial investigation by the Immigration Bureau found some Thai women agreed to marry foreigners as a front in return for “rewards worth only a few thousand baht”, Lt Gen Nathathorn said.

“But this can eventually affect national security.”

In Bangkok and neighbouring provinces, authorities last year granted long-term stay rights in Thailand to 7,770 foreign men following their marriages to Thai women. But, he said, 819 cases were later found to have irregularities.

Bogus marriages are bad enough and things will get worse if authorities are complicit.

Lt Gen Nathathorn is aware that he must clear up possible irregularities, related to marriages and illegal immigration, by first looking at his own agency.

Read original story here.



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Rorii | 26 July 2016 - 06:58:57

Kurt, ignore comments like Sir Burr's, I enjoy your comments. What amuses me is people complaining, which means they do in fact read the comment, as humans, an supposedly intelligent beings, we have the ability not to read.

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Kurt | 25 July 2016 - 20:29:11

Thank you, Sir Burr. 
And you need 4 lines to tell me that? :)
And,.. feel free not to read what you not like to read. ( I wrote this just in 2 lines)

Oh, and before I forget, why you not tell first that Joe12 to write his own comments instead of his insulting respectles and out of order long re-comments, giving people names,etc., in many more than two lines?
I am sure it will be appreciated by others here who are called by Joe12:.

Let us start to read and respect other readers comment first with appreciation for their contribution, rather than talk about how many lines are used for a comment.

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Sir Burr | 25 July 2016 - 13:35:11

He's an exercise for you Kurt.
Try and put the main point you want to get across in two lines. It is possible. I now see your lengthy, rambling posts and don't even bother with them now because of their unnecessary length. Thanks. I know you can do it if you try...

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Christy Sweet | 25 July 2016 - 13:35:11

Not sure sham marriages are that common. Most expats seem to enjoy a fairly genuine relationship  with their young, attractive personal body servants and of course the women involved are earning their keep in what appears  to be a perfectly acceptable occupation within the culture- gold digging.

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Kurt | 25 July 2016 - 11:32:41

A initial investigation?? 
About fake marriage between thai and foreigners?
Just now? Is this a Immigration joke?

Before screening foreigners, screen your officers first who make all this possible.
Stop 'transferring', sack them, trial them.

How can you become Lt general Immigration, not knowing this is happening already decades?
Normal thai practice. Year in, year out.
Why thai citizens involved in fake marriages with foreigners are not strongly penalized?

Simple, it is very hard to prove or a inter-marriage is true or fake.
Specially when a immigration officer not likes to go into depth, because the 'surface' rewards makes him ( and his supervisor) already for not doing so.

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Kurt | 25 July 2016 - 09:36:17

Mhh, the box of Pandora ( 'behavior' immigration officers) opens a bit now.

Dishonest Immigration officers just transferred?
Taking their 'skils' to their next position?
How about to fire them, with lost of pension rights, perhaps prison time?
Like in Singapore?

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