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Zimbabwean family stranded at airport for months

BANGKOK: The Immigration Bureau confirms that a Zimbabwean family of eight – including four young children – has been living at Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan for several months pending an asylum process with the United Nations.

immigration, transport,

Bangkok Post

Thursday 28 December 2017, 08:57AM

Travellers walk in the passenger terminal of Suvarnabhumi airport. Immigration police have confirmed a Zimbabwean family with young children has been stranded there for months. Photo: Bangkok Post
Travellers walk in the passenger terminal of Suvarnabhumi airport. Immigration police have confirmed a Zimbabwean family with young children has been stranded there for months. Photo: Bangkok Post

Col Cherngron Rimphadee, deputy spokesman for the bureau, said yesterday (Dec 27) that the family of Muvadi Rodrick had been under the care of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) in a section inside the main airport terminal.

According to Col Cherngron, who is also deputy commander of Immigration Division 2, the stranded family consists of four adults, two males and two females, and four children – three males and one female, aged 2, 6, 7 and 11.

The family arrived in Thailand in May as tourists. On Oct 23 they went to Suvarnabhumi airport to board a UIA flight to Barcelona via Kiev. But since they had no visas to enter Spain, the airline denied them boarding and sent them to immigration police.

Finding they had overstayed their Thai visas by five months, immigration police fined them and did not let them leave the airport. The police asked UIA to send them back to Zimbabwe – but the family refused to return to their homeland, saying they feared unrest there.


On Nov 7 the family bought new tickets to Spain via Ukraine. This time, they made it as far as Ukraine, but were sent back to Suvarnabhumi airport on Nov 13.

The family then sought to register as asylum-seekers with the United Nations. The UN Refugee Agency later informed the Department of International Organisations that the Zimbabweans were registered as asylum seekers who faced danger in their homeland, and that their asylum process was underway.

UN officials had already interviewed the family, Col Cherngron said. His explanation followed a post and photograph by Facebook user Kanaruj Artt Pornsopit that brought attention to the months-long stay of the Zimbabwean family at Suvarnabhumi airport.

Read original story here.



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yvonne | 28 December 2017 - 15:29:14

Zimbabwe is under New Government and there is NO DANGER whatsoever for them there now whatsoever. Thailand should insist the United Nations removed their Refugee status and deport them back to Zimbabwe where the rest of their family are living, They are just milking the system. Deport them to Zimbabwe.We have just toured Zimbabwe last week AND went to the Victoria falls - beautiful there! 5 star.!

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Kurt | 28 December 2017 - 14:08:58

Well, flying in and out Thailand several times, staying illegal several months, not detained in Immigration center, but walk freely around in a thai international airport is indeed very strange.
Just a lack of thai law enforcement, probably this family is rich and 'support' thai Immigration for not acting.
Any other possibility?

I am not surprised about thai flexibility anymore when m...

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crispy | 28 December 2017 - 12:26:48

You know the strange thing i find about this how and where did these so called refugees get the money to live in thailand for 5 months once their visas expired let alone fly there in the first place ,then to buy new tickets must be well heeled refugees anyone else who overstays a visa is likely to end up in immigration detention why are these living at an international airport ? 

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