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Burmese in a van at Immigration, Ranong: overstayers share facilities

US Woman Held for 'Visa Run' Overstay Blunder

Thursday, October 14, 2010
UPDATE

The American who unexpectedly found herself arrested and detained in Bangkok signed in at Phuket's On On Hotel in Phuket Town simply as ''Nick.'' A spokesperson at the hotel said today ''Nick'' was a friendly guest who had been staying there about two months. She's aged 20-30, with braided hair.
Did you know ''Nick''? If so please contact Phuketwan at editor@phuketwan.com

Original Report

AN AMERICAN woman tourist is being held in detention in Bangkok because she was unable to pay her overstay fine on a ''visa run'' from Phuket to Ranong, on the border with Burma.

Precise circumstances of the case are being clarified, but it appears the woman either misunderstood the conditions of her permission to stay in Thailand or failed to realise there was a 500 baht a day penalty for overstaying.

As a result, she was arrested by Immigration officials when she attempted a one-day ''visa run'' from Phuket to Ranong and was unable to pay the overstay fine.

The woman, a backpacker and yoga practitioner, has since been transferred to the Bangkok immigration detention centre, leaving her possessions at the hotel where she was staying in Phuket City.

The US embassy has made arrangements to have the woman's belongings transferred from the hotel, where the management held her luggage for a week.

The incident comes as a dramatic reminder to travellers to be aware of the precise requirements of their visa to Thailand or entry permit. Often, problems arise when visitors misread visas or entry stamps.

Once Immigration officials detect a violation, they are obliged to impose a 500-baht-a-day penalty, up to a maximum of 20,000 baht.

The latest case involving the American woman closely follows an incident involving another American, Dean Mancuso, 50, who is still in a cell at Immigration headquarters in Phuket City, awaiting further developments.

US embassy officials are endeavoring to trace members of Mr Mancuso's family in the US in the hope that they will come to his rescue.

Mr Mancuso has led a hand-to-mouth existence, cadging money from tourists on Phuket, since losing his passport in 2004 and opting not to replace it out of fear and embarrassment.

Mr Mancuso's arrest leaves his Thai wife and two young daughters facing even greater poverty. He is reportedly being treated well at Phuket Immigration, despite sharing a cell with about 12 others.
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Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Why is this news? This type of thing must happen to backpackers and tourist at least 100 times a year. Is it because she's a woman that P.W. decided to do a story on this. Or are they trying to build a rather generalizing case against Americans as the last 4 paragraphs seem to suggest?

Posted by Just Curious on October 14, 2010 11:11

Editor Comment:

I am constantly amazed at how, given the choice of hundreds of options, some readers will always come to the most misanthropic, black-hearted conclusion - even when there is not the slightest evidence to support it.

Just Curious, please supply us with your statistical analysis of the cases where people are arrested at the border while doing visa runs. We've never seen any.

I notice too that you are another contributor with no discernable character because you change your tag name more often than your underwear.

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News or not...it's a good reminder to stay on top of your sh-t!

Posted by sky on October 14, 2010 12:19

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It would be interesting to know how long her o/stay was. It sounds possible that she is a month over having been at the hotel for 2 months.
I'm sure immigration would have allowed access to an ATM or bank. What else do you do with an insolvent illegal?
As for Mr Mancuso, I have no sympathy. not replacing his passport because of "fear and embarrassment" has led to a bigger dose of both.

Posted by OzMick on October 14, 2010 13:58

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You'd have to be a complete idiot not to know there's a fine for an overstay OR to live in Thailand since 2004 'cadging money from tourists' because you're too "embarrassed to get a new passport". What complete B.S.

Stop making excuses for these fools. Thailand is doing absolutely right by getting rid of them. They'd be losers in any country.

Posted by Helen S. on October 14, 2010 14:14

Editor Comment:

We're not making excuses, Helen, simply reporting the news. In two paragraphs, you've managed to use the words ''fools,'' ''idiots,'' and ''losers.''

Our sympathies are with his wife and children. We don't ''make excuses'' for anyone, but we certainly prefer not to be so judgmental.

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The sad thing about this guy is despite being basically a vagrant, he's got a Thai wife and a couple of kids; very irresponsible fellow.

As for being "treated well" at the Phuket Immigration detention center, I've seen this place before, when I visited a UK guy who was nabbed for overstay several years ago.

Not a nice place; crowded, hot, dirty, no bedding. 12-15 guys in a space of about 400 sq.ft. And fish heads and soggy rice soup twice a day. We brought him food.

Posted by WingFat-Asia Road Warrior on October 14, 2010 15:25

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Travelled to this country many times, in and out. Always make sure I read and understand my entry and exit stamps. Have never had a problem.

Ignorance of the law is no excuse. It is the visitor's responsibility to do this and they will have no problems. Passport issue. My passport expired whilst here in Thailand. I simply went to the consulate, filled out the paper work and submitted it.

Within two weeks i had my new passport. Also,while there i met a lady who had lost her passport. She told me it had been stolen. No problem, she filled out the proper paper work, filed the police report gave all the proper documents to the consulate and in time received a new passport. What is there to be ashamed or frightened about? Just weak excuses for overstaying.

Posted by Anonymous on October 14, 2010 15:48

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I believe tourists are taking advantage of the overstay. They assume they can just stay as long as they want by breaking the law and then simply paying for there overstay. Try that in another country and see what happens! So for those that overstay, you deserve what is coming your way!

Posted by derrick on October 14, 2010 15:50

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Just Curious is just another whining American who thinks that his or her countrymen are being picked on, get over the end of another short-lived empire.

Posted by Lord Jim on October 14, 2010 16:39

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If she had done this in the UK she would be in Holloway prison awaiting deportation. FACT. And believe me...Holloway is not a nice place to be. So save the 'ain't Thailand primitive' comments...its the same all over.

Ed....any info on how big the overstay/fine was? I presume it wasn't just a single day....

Posted by Sandman on October 14, 2010 17:47

Editor Comment:

We just don't know the details. US privacy laws mean we are unlikely to find out.

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I've been in Thailand much more than 10 years on just tourist visas and non immigrant visas. I don't mean coming and going on holidays, I've actually been staying here.

I've never had more than 2 days overstay, even back in the 200bt a day overstay fine days.


I don't understand why people allow themselves to become overstayed, its so simple to go to the border or go get a visa, not much fun but so easy. I wonder why people want to be overstayed.

Posted by Randee on October 14, 2010 20:02

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I believe tourists are taking advantage of the overstay. They assume they can just stay as long as they want by breaking the law and then simply paying for there overstay. Try that in another country and see what happens! So for those that overstay, you deserve what is coming your way!

Posted by derrick on Thursday October 14, 2010 at 15:50............

Well if you do that in USA. They give you a nice view apartment, $700 a month for spending money. Free medical treatment. bus and train pass + food stamps to get free food.

This is what our President's Aunt Zatuni did coming from Kenya and over staying her visa many times over many years.

USA is better to it's law breakers than it's legal citizens who pay taxes.

Posted by MIKE on October 14, 2010 21:25

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i can show at least 5 guys more in soi bangla (foreigners) who do living with work they should not do it or not allow to do it and i know few ppls who don't have a passport. sometime i think everbody wear a pink sunglass in thailand and adopt the thai culture. the thai culture talk and see only about the good things, the bad things are ingnored...thats no news...and what we should do now? pay for this girl they overstay? in europe there are even tougher laws for immigration i dont know why everybody whine for people who not accept the law. phuketwan maybe u should start a compain for people who do good things for thailand and not people who are homeless and lazy to get back on the feets...

Posted by Mike on October 14, 2010 21:59

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Why dont all persons not Thai, just abide by the Thai Law, and leave when visa runs out. Have been to Thailand many times & left on time. No excuses for people caught,and don't feel sorry either for these individuals. They understand prior to leaving their native country how long they can stay. So all you overstayers, respect the Thai Law, and you won't have a problem. Don't feel sorry for none of you who get caught.

Posted by torro on October 14, 2010 22:39

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So are these two cases examples of the recently highlighted change in enforcement of visa rules, or not? I recall you were previously scathing about one of your competitor's stories on this recently. Surely they could have just exercised discretion, and let her go if her overstay was small, instead of wasting money transferring her to Bangkok.

Posted by Alan Mann on October 15, 2010 10:26

Editor Comment:

There has been no change in visa rules and it's not apparent that there has been any change in enforcement of those rules, either. The source of those reports has produced no evidence to support those claims - but it has generated interest in the launch of a ''news'' site. Draw your own conclusions.

These two cases happen to be incidents that were drawn to our attention. Immigration officials are obliged to act when violations occur or are impossible to ignore. The man who lived without a passport on Phuket encountered police from time to time and had medical treatment at a hospital, without anyone questioning his background. The woman simply made a big mistake, from what we can gather. If she didn't have the money to pay the overstay fine, there is no way it can be overlooked. There are probably many other overstayers out there.

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I work in Afghanistan as a security contractor. It is hot here and dusty. I am able to track the taliban and use gprs to report the position to rescue them. For a break I like to come to Phuket and meet the boys. I not overstay there, neither should yoga players.

Posted by Shilo Watts on October 15, 2010 10:47

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PW made a big enough deal out of the Pattaya One story about over stay arrests as being "false and praying on ignorance of expats."
Seems the report had merit after all?

Posted by Phuketarium on October 15, 2010 10:51

Editor Comment:

Nope, the report had no merit whatsoever. Nothing has changed, as other media outlets have also pointed out. They simply highlighted an existing law, and gave no examples of the supposed ''crackdown.'' And they are still trying to explain their actions. ''Preying,'' not ''praying''.

I see you are no longer using the tag, 'Ripley.'

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Editor,
Why don't you use a tag too, if you wish to respond in the same manner as your readers? Since it is established you edit out portions of comments you don't wish to address, I submit the term Editor should be reserved for an impartial moderator who clarifies and moderates, not belittles and bullies.
I know of two other users that use other " Tags " but since they always agree and compliment you, they're allowed.

Posted by Jack the Ripley on October 16, 2010 10:07

Editor Comment:

My identity ''tag'' is as the Editor. I am not being sly, or disguising anything, being a provocateur, dissembling, or kidding myself. I don't belittle or bully. Multiply tags are discouraged because they're like wearing a balaclava in a bank: a sign of malicious intent. I certainly do have an obvious tendency to rebuff racism, bigotry, or attempts to inflame xenophobia. Sometimes I have up-to-date knowledge of the topic in the article: not all readers are out asking questions, updating their knowledge, every day. Unfair criticism always gets what it deserves. All opinions based on reason and logic are tolerated, whether I agree or not. Comments are usually only moderated to remove unproven allegations, myths or claims for which there is no real evidence. Even compliments are not posted, or moderated where they're exaggerated, as readers who have said pleasant things could tell you. You should put that to the test sometime, using any one of your many aliases. While it's a clever pun, Jack the Ripley is just another character assassin, an unidentified nonentity hiding beneath a balaclava.

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I have heard it all now.....Mike, please, please go away. Away from the US and away from Muang Thai. Your opinion is ngu ngu plah plah. Please do not spread your right-wing kee here in Phuket.

Posted by Doretta on October 16, 2010 15:52

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You have removed portions of my comments regarding drowning stats in summer vs winter and then belittled my opinion as "outlandish and based on falsehood." I maintain, if you are an editor, behave like one. Let the readers decide what the " facts " are.

Posted by Any name I wish on October 18, 2010 13:05

Editor Comment:

Horse Doctor/Ellen, If you want to be treated with respect as a reader, stop wasting my time and the time of other readers with your ego-driven diatribes. Anyone who wishes to waste more time can look back on the debate we had about water safety. You lost it. Your opinions on safety just don't stand examination and are not worthy of further consideration.

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So now PW "editor" is printing reader's names, reader who opinions you don't agree with that is, to punish them I suspect?
Phuketwan loses more and more credibiity everyday especially when out right lies like MIke's comment are published with no caveat. Yeah, you're Thai alright

Posted by Ripley on October 19, 2010 08:03

Editor Comment:

I have very little idea what you are talking about, and I suspect we share this troubling condition.

I don't aim on catching your bigotry.

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But you keep printing my "offensive" comments, who's the egotist here?

Posted by Monkey Land on October 19, 2010 11:38

Editor Comment:

You seem to have problems understanding what's offensive and what's not. If someone criticises their own country, that's legitimate. You are a character assassin who wears many different balaclavas, and claim to be a proponent of free speech. What you actually mean is your speech. As your name on this particular message indicates adequately to other readers, you are a racist, a cultural imperialist and a complete hypocrite. You're a shameful example of democracy gone wrong. You want free speech only so you can abuse the privilege.

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TIT, either u accept it, or do as me, just don't go back to LOS.

Posted by jojo on October 23, 2010 23:07

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Wow...some of the comments seems a bit stretched....

These things happen, we as human beings makes mistake. I'm from Asia and the one thing and only one thing that ashames me is how farangs are treated in asia with double pricing, overstatying fees, no easy to get work visas etc..when we asian go to the west..we are treated like equal's and if we have talent we make it to the top of western society.

We Asian are not double charged in the west for visiting touristy places..we could get a work permit if we are educated..most of all we are treated equal..Asia is a century away from maturity and understanding of human psyche...

Posted by lavista4u on October 24, 2010 17:19

Editor Comment:

Countries everywhere treat citizens and non-citizens differently. Double-pricing is probably practiced more in Asia than in the West, but every country obliges visitors to follow its laws on visas etc.

Nothing exceptional in Thailand's approach.

What's unusual is for an Asian to criticise all of Asia (large place that) and to define the issues purely in terms of race. Just whose standards for ''maturity'' and ''understanding of human psyche'' are you applying? Where did you say you were from exactly?


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