Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan has instructed national security agencies to get tough on foreign criminals and “influential figures” following the discovery that nearly 100,000 foreigners were overstaying their visas in Thailand.
It is feared that some of these people are committing crimes and damaging Thailand’s image.
Defence Ministry spokesman Colonel Khongcheep Tantrawanich said on Sunday that the government, via national security officers, would continue to enforce the law strictly. This would include the crackdown on influential figures, including foreign criminals, in a bid to narrow the social gap and create safer places for the Thai public.
Following the report on overstayers, Khongcheep quoted Prawit as instructing the military, police and administrative officials to seriously crackdown on transnational criminal network members, especially those who have disguised themselves as tourists.
Prawit also urged the Royal Thai Police to check on incoming and outgoing visitors and implement greater measures to control, monitor and act against those who have overstayed.
Prawit also urged officers not to get involved with or seek illegal benefits from these people.
Khongcheep said the authorities have arrested foreign criminals in various areas including the Nana, Phra Khanong and On Nut areas in Bangkok, and in Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Phuket and Samui. They were conducting both random checks and acting on public complaints.
Khongcheep said transnational criminals or foreign criminals in Thailand were involved in various vices such as drug dealing, weapon trading, human trafficking and prostitution, as well as forging passports, selling fake diamonds, online gambling and running call-centre scams. These crimes had resulted in economic damage to the country and tarnished its image.
Officials have so far gathered evidence against and arrested 300 such criminals thanks to the crackdown and public assistance in monitoring and reporting suspicious behaviour.