‘Big Joke’ arrived in Pattaya to follow up on a recent Chinese ransom case and to ensure that Chinese and some other foreign expats in Pattaya will be scrutinized closely as part of Operation X-ray.
First our previous stories:
A Chinese woman has been abducted while getting her kid at a school in Pattaya. Her husband filed a complaint with the police, saying the suspects wanted 4.7 million baht in exchange for his wife’s freedom.
A Chinese woman and her brother have been safely released today, March 22nd, after being abducted by their fellow Chinese. One suspected kidnapper was arrested while another fled back to China.
Now for the update:
‘Big Joke’, the Assistant Commissioner of Police Surachate Hakparn, arrived in Pattaya on Friday (March 24th).
Big Joke told the Pattaya News that Thai police have contacted their counterparts in China with Interpol ‘Red Notices’ to extradite suspects in the ransom case that managed to flee Thailand. Meanwhile, the one arrested suspect has refused to cooperate with the ongoing investigation and is reportedly refusing to speak to any law enforcement or media.
According to Big Joke, the Chinese nationals involved in this ransom case are known criminals in an organized gang that China has previously cracked down on, causing them to flee. Following the Chinese crackdown the Chinese nationals escaped to Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos. Some of them were doing call center scams, some were illegally staying in Pattaya without a proper visa, and some were committing crimes like this ransom targeting other Chinese nationals.
Chinese and some other foreign expats in Pattaya will be scrutinized closely as part of ‘Operation X-ray’ to make sure that they aren’t involved in illegal businesses and other crimes, Big Joke added, without giving specific details or information.
TPN media notes that Operation X-ray has been run before by the Thai police in prior years and involves scrutinizing Immigration and Police records to identify wanted individuals currently in the Pattaya area and then targeting these individuals for removal.
Operation X-ray also involves using sophisticated technology such as Immigration vehicles equipped with smart cameras to identify certain wanted individuals who may be walking on a street or area. This technology has often been used to catch overstaying foreigners.
Operation X-ray also involves much closer scrutiny of visa renewals for foreigners of concern, including questioning sources of income and their backgrounds. This is especially true for those of working age without work permits and an uncertain line of income.
In recent months heavy scrutiny has been on education and volunteer visas in particular with Big Joke previously stating many Chinese criminals in partnership with corrupt Immigration officers were using these visas to stay longer in Thailand but not actually volunteering or going to school. Many were working illegally or running illegal businesses.
This scrutiny is expected to get even tighter.
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