The deputy commander of immigration told the press of the latest arrests in a long running crackdown on over-stayers and people breaking the law by not continually reporting their whereabouts.
Maj-Gen Itthiphon Itthisanranachai was speaking on behalf of immigration and a large number of other police departments outside The Street on Rachadapisek in Bangkok at 1am this morning.
The latest sweep checked 229 places such as hotels, schools (both language and private), restaurants and private addresses. In total 490 people were arrested many from Thailand and neighboring countries.
The Maj-Gen said he was following government orders to rid the country of romance scammers, ATM skimmers and drug dealers. The Thai Rath newspaper story didn't suggest any of the recent arrests had been linked to such issues.
Of the recent arrests 14 were for visa overstays; 338 for entering Thailand illegally; 70 cases of not reporting an alien's whereabouts within 24 hours; 20 not staying at a registered address; and 16 illegal workers.
Of the 229 places raided 68 were businesses and shops, 6 were entertainment venues, 62 hotels and other accommodation and 93 others. The arrests for unreported whereabouts suggest that the police were targeting short time hotels.
A little-known political party competing in next week's Thai general election revealed one of its priority proposals for Thailand was to legalise the production and sale of sex toys.
The Tai Rak Tham party also proposed 24 hour opening for entertainment venues.
Deputy leader Chitsanupong Trairatrangsri said the party wished to emphasise the policy as the country has a huge amount of rubber which was the raw material for sex toys. Therefore, if the production of sex toys was allowed in Thailand, it would
add value to the rubber trade, he said.
Cecilia Cornu was in Phuket for a family holiday in January and was caught by Karon police holding an e-cigarette on Jan 30 whilst on a scooter with her fiance as her parents and brother followed behind.
Cornu said she was stopped by four police officers who snatched the e-cigarette and demanded B40,000, which she refused to pay. She said she was then arrested and taken to Karon Police Station where officers tried to bully her into paying a
Cornu was charged, her passport confiscated and a trial date set for Feb 11. Her return flight was scheduled for the following day. She posted bail of B100,000 and was released the same day pending trial.
On Feb 11 Cornu attended Phuket Provincial Court where she was convicted for the offence and says she was fined B827 (23 euros). She was then sent to Phuket Immigration for what she thought was to collect her passport. Upon arriving at the
immigration office, she was informed that she would be transferred to Bangkok for deportation.
Cornu was then taken to Bangkok where she claims she spent four days and three nights in a prison cell shared with 60 other women in dire conditions where she had to sleep on a hard, dirty floor with no sheets or mattresses before returning home
Karon Police Chief Col Prasarn Hankotha responded to Cornu's claims by denying the bribe but seemed to confirm the arrest, jailing and deportation.