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.