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Domenico Amodio, 48, from an Immigration photo on Phuket

Phuket Expat Visa Arrests Continue: Italian Nabbed on Phuket City Street

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
PHUKET: An Italian expat became the latest person arrested today in a continuing crackdown on visa overstayers on Phuket.

Domenico Amodio, 48, was arrested by Immigration officers as he stood on the footpath in Thalang Road, Phuket City.

He did not have his passport. Officers were later able to determine that he arrived on Phuket via Phuket International Airport on May 23, 2011 and was due to leave Thailand before June 21, 2011.

He was later taken to Phuket City Police Station for further questioning.

Phuketwan has learned of cases where officers engaged in raids appear to no longer allow people they are questioning to go home to get a passport and/or a work permit.

Raids on workplaces appear to have intensified along with street arrests. Expats living and working on Phuket are advised to carry their passports and work permits with them at all times.

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With all the problems in Phuket this is where the government spends their money. Easy work but is in important compared with .......

Posted by Fiesty Farang on September 24, 2013 21:41

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All my sympathy and admiration for those who have contributed to such an important stop: tomorrow Phuket will be able to look to the future in a different perspective.. LOL

Posted by dave on September 24, 2013 21:51

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why arn't they targeting all the illegal Burmese?

Posted by Ciaran on September 24, 2013 22:05

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how can you take your passport to the beach, end up getting stolen or ruined

Posted by michael on September 24, 2013 22:35

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A Thai captain causing a horrendous boat accident with a boat licence already expired is just advised to renew the license.

A Farang with valid Visa, not damaging anything is not allowed to get the already approved docs from his home...

'Thai need to be protected more than foreigners', said a Senior Thai Officials the other day, no Thai Official objected to that statement.

Foreigners beware, you are just not safe over here.
Thai smile, Wai, Bye bye

Posted by xenophobia rules! on September 24, 2013 22:35

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I see,
so if I dont have my passport with me, I gonna get deported immediately?
funny

Posted by yvonne on September 25, 2013 01:12

Editor Comment:

Not necessarily, yvonne, but the law says you have to carry your documents with you.

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if you have a fake passport or even two as i have found out you cannot have the person arrested or interviewed without a warrant ...meanwhile i see these overstayers hit the news , makes me wanna throw up !! corruption will not end until somebody puts their hand up to do the hard work .

Posted by i give up on September 25, 2013 05:33

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@ED - i dont think the law actually refers directly to a passport but also to an identification card which could be a license etc - the law is vague in relation to this.

"The Alien Registration Act BE 2493 stipulates that foreigners must carry an identification card or passport and be able to present it on request"

Posted by Ciaran on September 25, 2013 05:48

Editor Comment:

Workers from neighboring countries may only have ID cards. The law seems very precise.

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ed,i try many time to know better about this story of carry always real passport or wp toghether, also official tell me different way.........so what is the true? If i carry with me,my driving license car,id tax,and copy of passport and wp is enough or not? It will be very difficult to carry passport due to stolen or broken too.......wp is in place of work is ok,but passport go together all times will be very difficult and also easy to forget.

Posted by Alexino on September 25, 2013 08:39

Editor Comment:

I know of one case where an expat was raided at work and not allowed to go home to fetch her work permit and passport. Good copies may have been enough but she didn't have them with her.

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Police could target to Thais not from Phuket to provide 1000 baht in their wallet or somekind prove that they are on island making honest living!

Posted by Mr. Massaman on September 25, 2013 08:51

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The requirement of carrying a passport is both untenable and unrealistic. There are too many opportunities for a foreigner to lose the important document. The US government provides the following advice to its nationals "Your passport, cash and credit cards are most secure when locked in a hotel safe." Other governments such as Canada, Australia, Japan, & Taiwan give the same advice to their nationals. There are more efficient and rational methods to address illegal foreigners. The enforcement of a regulation that allows itself to be exploited by corrupt officials only adds to the perception that Thailand is becoming more hostile and annoying for legitimate visitors and residents.

Posted by Ryan on September 25, 2013 09:26

Editor Comment:

That advice is clearly aimed at citizens in countries without laws requiring you to carry your identification documents.

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It's ok just cry a little, if that doesn't work cry a bit more, if that doesn't work cry even more and hey presto all is forgiven!!!!!

Posted by phuket madness on September 25, 2013 09:42

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It would be great if PW could confirm with a senior immigration officer from BKK what is actually required since the law seems to refer to identification only.

Furthermore why is one not allowed to pick up their documentation from where they are kept safe if the purpose of the check-up is to establish the identity and legality of the person staying in Thailand.

I'm willing to bet that 80% of foreigners do not carry their passports with them at all times while abroad, including while in Thailand.

Posted by ThaiMike on September 25, 2013 10:05

Editor Comment:

The law is clearly subject to interpretation.

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@phuket madness - Certainly worth a try all right - seemed to work for the boat captain last week.

As for the comments and story above - I for one do not carry my passport on my person. I am too worried about the nightmare of getting passport and visas replaced if lost or stolen. I keep it in my car safely hidden. My car is always with me or in my vicinity.

Posted by Ciaran on September 25, 2013 10:26

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"Phuketwan has learned of cases where officers engaged in raids appear to no longer allow people they are questioning to go home to get a passport and/or a work permit. "

Were those people in possession of any kind of identification like a Thai DL?

Posted by stevenl on September 25, 2013 11:02

Editor Comment:

If the raid is over the legitimacy of a business or in search of a work permit, a Thai licence wouldn't be much use.

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I just took pictures of my relevant passport pages with my mobile phone. Since I carry it with me all the time, it seems like the best compromise to me.

Hopefully if I do get checked, those will be enough to convince the officers I'm here legally.

Posted by ThaiMike on September 25, 2013 12:13

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I was stopped and grilled by immigration police last week and they accepted a black and white photo copy of my passport and visa pages. Just make sure you have copies of your current visa.

Posted by BigP on September 25, 2013 12:42

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Got arrested once in Bangkok and Chief of Police said an updated copy of passport is enough. Work permits has a note saying that it should be at the place of work when authorities check. My Embassy provides a special ID card to carry around, for this purpose, in Thai and English.

Posted by Siver Surfer on September 26, 2013 14:13

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I am one of those odd people that usually carries my passport with me. From now on I will for sure.

Posted by NomadJoe on September 29, 2013 10:06

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@Ciaran: FYI The Alien Registration Act BE 2493(1950) was repealed by BE 2533 (1979). I see where you got that quote and I am not sure why the officer quoted used the old law. I can only speculate that the editor did his or her own research and injected the repealed law into the officers comments.

There are two laws which pertain to foreigners carrying passports or ID which police can use to detain or arrest. One is the Thai ID Card Act which, despite the name, requires all people in Thailand, including foreigners, to be able to produce government issued identification when requested by a "competent official." For a foreigner, carrying a passport or a Thai drivers license fulfills the requirements of this law.

The other relevant law is the Immigration Act; BE 2522;

Section 58 : Any alien who has no lawful document for entering the Kingdom under Section 12 (1); or
has no Residence Certificate under this Act; and also has no identification in accordance with the Law on Alien registration, is considered to have entered into the Kingdom in violation to this Act.

This is why you often see it reported that a foreigner was arrested for "entering the Kingdom illegally." Officers seem to usually allow people to prove they have entered legally by using copies of your passport and entry stamp, or to retrieve the passport if it is in a different location, but it is up the officer. The burden of proof is on the passport holder to convince the officer they entered legally. That is why there is no correct answer to the question "Do I need to carry my passport." If you don't have a Thai DL, then certainly you do. If you have a Thai DL, then copies or going to retrieve it may suffice. It's up to the officer.

Here is a recent quote (Sept. 2013) from the Thalang Police Superintendent:

''Foreigners must always carry their passports with them. It is the law in Thailand.

The Alien Registration Act BE 2493 (1950) [sic: should be BE 2522 (1979)] stipulates that foreigners must carry an identification card or passport and be able to present it on request.

Anyone not carrying a passport who can later produce it is still liable to a 1,000 baht fine."

What is not clear is if he is talking about the ID Card Act, in which case a Thai DL would suffice, or the Immigration Act.

Posted by NomadJoe on September 29, 2013 11:02

Editor Comment:

We haven't injected anything into anything. There is no quote of the kind you suggest in this article.

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If you are working then yes you need to have the WP at the location. HWile moving about, a passport OR govt issued ID is what the law says. No way am I carrying my passport, a colour copy of the ID page, last entry stamp and visa is sufficient. If harrassed, I would dare them to try to prosecute such an bogus offense.

Posted by Medea C on September 29, 2013 15:17


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