Lt Gen Sompong identified the Cambodian man only by his nickname “Gim”.
Exactly where and when Mr Gim was taken into custody was not explained, but Lt Gen Sompong noted that Mr Gim was employed by a restaurant in Kalim, on Phuket’s west coast.
Mr Gim’s arrest followed Phuket Immigration receiving a tip-off that a man using a fake Thai ID card under the name “Somboon Kongchai”, Lt Gen Sompong said.
Officers found the man who matched the description given and asked him to present his ID card.
Mr Gim handed them an ID card giving his name as Somboon Kongchai, originally from Surin province, Lt Gen Sompong added.
Officers confirmed that the details on the electronic chip on the ID card did not match the name and details printed on the card, as the chip carried details of a “Mr Eakkapong”, Lt Gen Sompong said.
Also, the real Somboon Kongchai from Surin province had died in 2018, he added.
“Officers told him that his ID card was fake, so he confessed that his name is ‘Gim’, 49, from Cambodia,” Lt Gen Sompong noted.
“He worked in a restaurant at Kalim Beach and lived in a house near Bang Tao Temple in Thalang,” he added.
Mr Gim told officers that he came to Thailand and became a monk and lived at a temple in Thalang from 1990 to 2006, Lt Gen Sompong explained.
“After he left the monkhood, he contacted a Cambodian friend to make a fake Thai ID card for him,” he said.
“He later paid B15,000 to for another fake ID card after the first one was expired in 2013. He said he did not even know who Somboon was,” Lt Gen Sompong added.
Mr Gim was taken to Cherng Talay Police Station and charged with three charges: entering and staying in the Kingdom without permission; making and using a fake ID card; and making and using fake official document, Lt Gen Sompong said.
“Officers are now investigating the source of the fake ID card,” he added.
It was not explained whether the Immigration Bureau is looking to deport Mr Gim.
Also not explained was how Mr Gim for 14 years managed to not raise any flags on any national databases as a potential fake – with two of those years after the real Somboon had died.
A Thai ID card is needed by every Thai citizen in obtaining even the most basic of services, including hospital treatment, the mandatory registering of a mobile phone SIM card, paying police fines and utility bills – and any interactions with any government office.
Additional reporting by Eakkapop Thongtub