Thailand to crack down on foreigners overstaying visas
The Thai government is set to arrest and deport all foreigners overstaying their visas following complaints of illegal activities, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan said on Tuesday.
"They [some foreigners] came in as tourists and never left, and we didn't check. We need to launch a crackdown," Prawit told reporters.
There are currently more than 40,000 foreigners in Thailand whose visas have already expired, according to immigration police, and the Thai authorities aim to arrest and deport all of them within a month, Prawit said.
The crackdown comes amid increasing complaints from locals of crimes - most notably scams - committed by foreigners, he added.
In recent months, more than 2,200 foreigners have been arrested and charged with petty crimes in 35 separate raids, said immigration police chief Surachet Hakpal.
Most recently, a record 369 foreigners were arrested in a raid targeting schools, hotels and restaurants. Many of those arrested were Chinese, Indian and Ghanaian nationals.
The fines for overstaying Thai visas range from 500 to 20,000 baht (R220 to R8 850), depending on the length of the overstay.
dpa pia rmo