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Thailand Immigration Crackdown Update

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we're discussing Immigration crackdowns here in the Kingdom of Thailand.

For those who watch this channel with any kind of frequency, you may have noticed I haven't done much on immigration crackdowns in the past few weeks; basically in the entire month of November I really didn't even discuss it.  The reason for that is, well frankly it sort of seemed a little bit redundant and from here, unless there's something of particular import with respect to the specific facts of a given case or if I see some sort of protocol or procedural changes, I am probably just going to start doing this on a monthly basis; just kind of a round-up if you will of Immigration crackdown news to sort of provide further insight to those who are interested in this topic.

This comes from the Nation. It was published November 2nd, 2018, titled, “730 more Foreigners Rounded up in Nationwide Crackdowns”. Quoting directly, "Immigrations Police carried out their latest nationwide search for foreigners living illegally in Thailand and made several hundred more arrests on Thursday. Itthipol, who is an officer that was quoted here, Itthipol said "The 38 operations had thus far resulted in the arrest of 4,231 foreigners." So as you can see, these numbers are going up and up as time progresses.  We are seeing a lot of folks who have been deported, presumably blacklisted, in association with these crackdowns.  Going further, again from the Nation.  The headline, “Big Joke to Continue with Crackdown”, dated November 5th, 2018.  Acting Immigration Police Chief Major General Surachate Hakparn, who recently got the job because of his relentless crackdowns on foreigners, continues with his mission of removing overstaying or illegal foreigners and pulling in more tourists. Though the deadline he set for getting rid of 7,000 visa over-stayers and illegal migrants by the end of October is past, Surachate, who's better known as Big Joke, continues with his so-called mission."

So again, underlying theme is, I don't see and I've said this before and I've been saying this now for months if not I don't know, we may be going on years now that we have been discussing these crackdowns. I don't see this ending. I think frankly these are probably going to be a mainstay for some time, as frankly I don't think they are ever going to run out of over-stayers and folks who are basically in Thailand, I shouldn't say criminals because not everybody that is an over-stayer is necessarily a criminal, but I just don't think they're going to run out of visa violators any time soon. 

Moving forward, again from the Nation,, the headline: “542 Foreigners Arrested in Latest Weekly Crackdown”. This is from November 16th, 2018. Quoting directly, "Police searched 262 locations". Really think about these numbers for a minute. Police searched 262 locations in one operation. So these all occurred on one day. These are not insignificant actions that are being undertaken by Immigration Police. I really try to stress this with folks who I both see in the office and who want to discuss these issues. They are not messing around.   They are very, very serious about collecting and catching immigration violators. Like I said, and I have said it in other videos, I think they have had something of a paradigm shift on this issue where they no longer believe it's is simply be sort of an administrative matter and it's kind of almost just sort of the civil fine kind of an issue, they view this as a species of criminality, albeit a petty one, but a species of criminality nonetheless. So going back to this and quoting further, "Police searched 262 locations around the country on Thursday and arrested 542 foreigners who have been living in Thailand illegally and or committed criminal offences.  This was the 39th crackdown on foreigners living illegally in Thailand with the previous operations called operation Black Eagle.” That's the first time I've ever heard that name. For the most part, I have heard of this referred to as Operation X-ray Outlaw Foreigner, or Operation Outlaw Foreigner, but apparently it has another name which is Operation Black Eagle. Quoting further, "Police have so far conducted more than 5,570 searches," I mean think about that! 5,570 searches.  That is a lot of manpower that has been expended on this issue, "and arrested 4,773 foreigners with more than 3,500 foreigners blacklisted and deported." So again I'm not trying to point out the numbers in and of themselves. What I would prefer people get in mind conceptually is how serious Immigration in Thailand is on this stuff. There was a time when Immigration could be by international standards be deemed to be rather lax. That time has come and gone. This Immigration regime is not lax. They are expending resources and using time and man hours to round up people who are in violation of their immigration status. 

Finally to sort of round this out. This is from November 30th, 2018.  This is from the Bangkok Post. The title of the article is: “Foreigners to get Visa Text Alerts”. There was a specific line in this article that I thought was pertinent to this overall immigration Crackdown round up. To quote directly, "Police Lieutenant General Surachate said earlier this month, the number of foreigners overstaying their visas has come down to 0 following a series of raids on aliens and criminal suspects over the past year." Now does that mean that I necessarily think these raids are going to stop? No I do not. I also think specifically he meant long-term over stayers as I think on any given day there are folks that are just a day or two into an overstay that probably aren't tabulated within that number when he said zero. So I think what he meant was that they'd gotten the number of long staying over-stayers down to nearly or virtually to zero.

But that being said, the thing to take away from this is I don't think these crackdowns are coming to an end any time soon and I think we can expect to see more of these. That being said, I'm not going to be making a video on this every time there's a specific crackdown but I will be doing a periodic round up of these crack down unless as I said earlier there's something specific in a given crackdown that I see that is of a particular relevance to foreigners here in the Kingdom then I will go ahead and do a specific video on that but unless that happens I'll probably just do some of the biggest tranche of these based on a bunch of different articles chronicling the Crackdown Regime here in Thailand as the months progress.