Re: “New Immigration head clamps down on visa ‘tips’”, Around Thailand, October 5.
Police Maj-General Surachate Hakpal, also known in the media as “Big Joke”, is to be commended for cracking down on tips demanded by Immigration officers. On Immigration’s website it has been announced that Big Joke will also be driving illegal foreign workers out of the country along with foreigners who come to do business illegally using Thai nominees, as well as bringing those nominees to justice.
Since we know that the crackdowns initiated by new police commanders every October are only of limited duration before things revert to the norm, I would like to suggest that, while he still has the wind in his sails, the distinguished police major-general should take the opportunity to flush out the foreign boiler room boys operating from Thailand once and for all. It is a blight on Thailand’s reputation that these foreign criminals have been allowed to operate from the Kingdom with impunity for years. Traditionally Thai authorities have been content to leave them alone, as long as they only targeted foreign victims, despite numerous complaints from foreign governments. Occasionally the SEC has warned the public against some of them by listing their names on its website as unlicensed financial advisers, but police have never taken action against those listed to prevent them from operating.
What all the boiler room operations have in common is that they employ large teams of foreign salesmen but very few Thai staff, which makes it impossible for them to obtain work permits for most of their sales staff due to the requirement to have four Thai staff for every foreign employee. This makes them a perfect target for Surachate’s latest crackdown. He should show them the “No tipping” sign in no uncertain terms.