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Former immigration chiefs to face bribery charges

Former immigration chiefs to face bribery charges

BANGKOK: The Royal Thai Police (RTP) will file charges against three former Immigration Bureau (IB) division commanders alleged to have taken bribes in exchange for approving non-immigrant visas for more than 3,000 Chinese nationals.

By Bangkok Post

Wednesday 25 January 2023, 10:24AM

Photo: Bangkok Post

Photo: Bangkok Post

Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, the deputy national police chief, said yesterday (Jan 24) that the officers would be charged with violating Sections 149 and 157 of the Criminal Code, which focuses on illicit power abuse.

The accusations surfaced after former politician, Chuvit Kamolvisit, held a press conference in December about three IB commanders in Khon Kaen and Chiang Mai he claimed were accepting bribes of between B100,000 and B300,000 per non-immigrant visa approval, reports the Bangkok Post.

The approvals were issued to 3,325 Chinese nationals between 2020-2022, he said.

He said a Chinese legal firm and a foundation were set up to serve Chinese nationals who travel to Thailand with a tourist visa but go on to get non-immigration visas without meeting the necessary business or volunteer criteria.

He said Chaiyanat “Tuhao” Kornchayanant, who faces several charges related to narcotics and money laundering, had advertised in China that his company could provide the service. Some of those who received improperly issued non-immigration visas went on to set up “grey businesses”’ in Thailand, he added.

Mr Chuvit claimed that two of the men were former classmates of Pol Gen Surachate at the Royal Police Cadet Academy, and he openly questioned whether he would dare to do something about it.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, however, Pol Gen Surachate said the RTP is taking the matter very seriously, and around 80 IB staff have been questioned already.

On Jan 30, RTP investigators will meet to review the case and decide whether to press additional charges against the officers.

He said the investigation is 90% complete, and once the paperwork is finalised, charges will be submitted to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) before being forwarded to prosecutors.

It will also pass on its recommendations to the national police inspector seneral, who may also take action, he said.

Pol Gen Surachate pledged that the investigation would be transparent, although the national police chief, Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, would not personally be involved.

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maverick | 29 January 2023 - 11:36:54

dont blame the agents - its the people who use them which feeds the corruption many of which who refuse to comply with visa requirements (i.e 800K/65k) for retirement visas

Kurt | 29 January 2023 - 08:07:03

Christysweet, Gues it counts for extentions as well. Every year when I renew mine in person, they take a photo of me and all other prolongating applicants who are there in person. It's part of procedure. Handling matter through agents means Immigration skip photo taking of many not in person applicants. Is that legal?

christysweet | 28 January 2023 - 12:19:27

Kurt, Visa aka "Permissions [sic] to Stay.."  have to be applied for in person- but not the extensions. Additionally each  head of  an office can decide  to extrend or not based upon their own judgement, so it's completely legal  to spread the wealth to immigration officials via visa agents.  

harald | 27 January 2023 - 17:19:25

Kurt what you are telling me reminds me of someone from the usa who saw secret doors, rooms in jungceylon in patong where cheap copies of branded goods were sold. so he also saw something that wasn't there and i said to him, there are psychiatrists for such cases.

Pooliekev | 26 January 2023 - 14:01:10

@JohnC. Perhaps if you emerged blinking into the daylight once in a while, instead of constantly carping about Phuket, you'd know. 

JohnC | 26 January 2023 - 09:24:53

Is there such a thing in this country as an honest person in uniform? Just curious....

Kurt | 25 January 2023 - 11:58:55

What about present Immigration Chief(s)? On Phuket Immigration has now a separate room to welcome Visa agents with loads of visa applications. Applications for which the applicant by LAW has to apply in person, but applicants through agents never see the inside of Phuket Immigration Office. Applicants pay agents B12-20,000 for visa handling.

Kurt | 25 January 2023 - 11:35:00

What a Thai Immigration corruption mess. And this could happen such a long time before someone ringed the bell.  The whole happening is a National Security threat. Thai cry for lesser already ..National Secrurity threat..!  Now we wait and see or culprits get sacked, loose pension, convicted and go to prison. I have doubts about such, inbedded corruption is here.


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