Following a directive from Thailand’s Prime Minister to step up measures against foreign crime, Phuket police have made mass arrests of foreigners.

Phuket Provincial Police have announced mass arrests of foreigners across the island. At least 16 foreigners arrested for various offences have been announced. This morning (7 March), three more arrests have been announced, according to Phuket News.

Another series of arrests went unexplained, except that Phuket Provincial Police posted a message on their official Facebook page*: “Now in all areas of Phuket, police are taking offences committed by tourists seriously. We want the people of Phuket to trust us.”

However, in the wake of the case of Swiss expatriate Urs Phra, Prime Minister Settha Thaisin said he had instructed the Royal Thai Police and the Ministry of Tourism and Sports to step up enforcement of foreigners.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul warned foreigners living in Thailand to obey the law. Otherwise, your visas will be cancelled,” Anutin added.

Phuket provincial police chief Major General Sinlert Sukhum said officials would consider blacklisting foreigners or cancelling visas for visitors who break the law in Phuket.

Among the foreigners on the list of those arrested in police raids is a Russian arrested at 3.30 pm for illegally operating a marijuana shop in Kathu.

Russian nationals Tatyana Zaichkina, 22, and Timur Tuktalov, 26, were arrested on warrants and charged with exceeding the permitted period of stay, which expired on 1 February 2024.

Australian national Carl Ken Haddad, 22, was arrested on Karon for illegal possession of diazepam, which is classified as a category four psychotropic substance in Thailand.

Police arrested Russian national Andrey Alexandrov, 37, at a currency exchange kiosk near Nai Yang Beach after finding that his permitted stay in the country had expired on 4 March. The Russian has been charged with exceeding the authorised period of stay, although the excess was only one day at the time of his arrest.

In Cherngtalai, police arrested 35-year-old Briton Adam Howard-Fleming. Two men and a woman from Myanmar for working illegally without a work permit at Mekka Jerk restaurant near Bang Tao night market.

Police arrested a 26-year-old Australian man, whose name was not disclosed, in a rented room in Kathu for overstaying in the country for 34 days. The Australian was also wanted for failing to pay hospital bills totalling 178,000 baht after being involved in a motorbike accident in January.

In Patong, police arrested a 28-year-old Romanian man, whose name was not released, for working illegally selling tours to tourists.

Four workers from Myanmar were arrested at the Beachfront Bliss Condo construction site in Nai Yang. None of the workers could provide passports or work permits, and they face charges of illegal entry into the country and illegal work. The report did not mention a case being filed against the employer.

The arrests continued into the evening, with 34-year-old Russian national Denis Gaikov arrested at 11:30 pm for working illegally at the Bada Bing marijuana shop in Wichita. In Mai Khao, 50-year-old Kazakh national Ekaterina Fedorova was arrested for “driving for hire” without a work permit.

Arrests of foreigners violating any laws in Phuket are expected to continue.

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