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Phuket Immigration smart car helps nab South African caught overstaying, blacklisted for 10 years

Phuket Immigration smart car helps nab South African caught overstaying, blacklisted for 10 years

PHUKET: Officers from Phuket Immigration arrested a South African man in Kathu for overstaying his permit-to-stay for more than a year after receiving a tip-off and checking the man’s immigration status using one of two BMW “smart” cars available.

By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Tuesday 3 March 2020, 10:05AM

Col Nareuwat Putthawiro of Phuket Immigration confirmed to The Phuket News that his officers received a tip-off that the South African man, 56-year-old Andre Sean Vermaak, was staying in the country illegally.

Acting on the tip-off, officers in an Immigration smart car found Mr Vermaak at the Kathu Waterfall car park on Feb 24, Col Nareuwat explained.

“The officers scanned his passport and found that he had overstayed by 479 days. He was taken to Kathu Police Station and charged,” he said.

Mr Vermaak was found guilty of staying in the country illegally and banned from re-entering Thailand for 10 years, Col Nareuwat added.

“He is now being detained at Phuket Immigration waiting to be deported, which will happen soon,” he said.


Col Nareuwat praised the “new” smart cars issued to Phuket Immigration.

“We have been using them since last year after they were issued to us by Bangkok,” he said.

“These cars are useful for working quickly. For example, they can take fingerprint scans to identify people and they have dash cams and a fast internet connection,” he said.

“We can now go anywhere in Phuket after receiving a tip-off and check people’s immigration status without having to bring them back to the Phuket Immigration office,” Col Nareuwat said.

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Kurt | 04 March 2020 - 10:43:38

@ Steve Wooly, that is a great suggestion! Making Phuket roads more safe. But catching the thai road law breakers is not a thai aim on Phuket. To much work. Pfff. 
Imagine, catching a family member or friend?  Just 1 foreign over stayer a week ( after a tip!) or so is much more relaxing job for the 2 cars. 

Kurt | 04 March 2020 - 10:27:26

There are more than 140,000 thai overstaying/working illegal in South Korea. How many dozens of foreigners would overstay/work illegal in Thailand?  Can we imagine 140,000 thai in South Korea detention centres?

Steve wooly | 03 March 2020 - 22:52:34

while I agree with catching and deporting overstayers, there should also be smart cars to catch unlicensed and uninsured  drivers using ANPR (automatic number plate recognition ) I think the number convicted would far outweigh the visa overstayers 

DeKaaskopp | 03 March 2020 - 17:22:36

Another tick gone.

Kurt | 03 March 2020 - 13:37:46

Wow, wow, wow. Two  Smart cars, just for a few over-stayers. And what is the Phuket Government doing about the hundreds of thousands not registered thai on Phuket? Are these calculated when it comes to water consumption this moment?

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