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30-year-old Michael McLaughlin at first denied any knowledge of breaking the law but later changed his story by admitting he was hiding in Sisaket because he wanted to stay in Thailand and avoid returning to the United Kingdom.

A 30-year-old UK national is facing deportation after being arrested by Immigration Bureau officers in Sisaket as part of a nationwide crackdown on visa overstayers. 

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Michael McLaughlin was detained and questioned by police on Thursday in Sisaket. He is now being held at Sisaket Police Station as legal proceedings are prepared against him for overstaying his visa in Thailand. He later faces being transferred to an Immigration Bureau detention centre in Bangkok and deportation from the country.

The Immigration Bureau in Sisaket province, in lower northeastern Thailand, announced on Tuesday that it had arrested a UK man for overstaying his visa in Thailand by 75 days.

The move appears to be part of a nationwide crackdown with reports of foreigners being rounded up also in other parts of the country.

The British man was named by police as 30-year-old Michael McLaughlin who was arrested while walking on the main road near the technical college of Ramkhamhaeng University.

Immigration Bureau boss in Sisaket confirmed drive to rid the country of overstayers led to his arrest

Police Colonel Arthip Somdon the Chief of Sisaket Immigration Bureau confirmed that the arrest of Mr McLaughlin was part of a new drive to purge the kingdom of people who may be overstaying their visas.

He revealed that the Immigration Bureau database had shown that Mr McLaughlin was due to have left Thailand by the 21st of September 2022 and had overstayed by 75 days.

Officers with Sisaket Immigration Bureau were looking for the young UK man and requested that he produce his passport later at the Immigration Bureau headquarters where he was formally arrested and detained.

Detained at Sisaket Police Station pending legal action and incarceration at a detention centre in Bangkok

He was later taken to Mueang Sisaket Police Station where he was held and legal proceedings were launched against him.

It is understood that he will later be transferred to an Immigration Bureau detention facility in Bangkok pending his deportation to his home country.

He also probably faces a partial ban on entering Thailand for 1 year and a fine of ฿20,000 as his arrest and subsequent detention before his eventual deportation will mean he will exceed the 90-day limit after which this sanction kicks in.

This will depend on how quickly his case takes to be heard before the court and how swiftly a flight can be organised which must be paid for by the UK man.

Traumatic experience prior to deportation

For many foreigners in stories before the pandemic, their incarceration before deportation by the Immigration Bureau in Bangkok was a traumatic and problematic experience which often requires assistance from family members outside Thailand and the national embassy of those detained.

Visitors warned of the deadly danger of working in Thailand without a proper visa and valid work permit

Replying to the charge initially, Mr McLaughlin explained that he was unaware that he had breached the law by overstaying his visa stay. 

However, he later changed his story to investigating officers and admitted that he had been hiding in Sisaket province. He told the police that he loved Thailand and did not want to return to the United Kingdom. 

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Further reading:

Visa amnesty finally ending but the new regime is pragmatic and may allow for further renewals

Visa amnesty to be retrospectively extended to October 31st says top Immigration Bureau officer

Time up for some long-stay business owners as immigration warns of arrests after Saturday’s deadline

Visa amnesty to end with 30-day extensions on application as the focus moves to long-stay visa holders

American and Thai wife arrested for operating an illegal visa business in Bangkok using fake official stamps

Broken-hearted Swede fears history will repeat itself as shock parting left him stranded in Laos for 4 months

Two Immigration Bureau officers in Nonthaburi suspended after video appears to show bribe request

Stranded foreigners must get embassy letter, new visa or leave Thailand to avoid arrest by police

US Embassy in Bangkok – guidance on the visa amnesty expiry

UK Embassy in Bangkok – letters for visa extensions

PM signs order granting visa extensions to all valid visa holders until April 30th to cull queues

Officials find a visa solution for up to 500,000 foreigners riding out the coronavirus crisis here in Thailand

Smart cars highlighted by the Immigration Bureau as it seeks out foreigners hiding from the law

Immigration boss warns that a new crackdown on foreigners flouting Thai laws has begun

It’s a hard station for Thai police and foreigners should understand better the job they do to keep order

Expats launch website to campaign for easier immigration reporting rules for visa holders

Elderly Hungarian arrested at Suvarnabhumi for a visa overstay offence found dead in a holding cell

Canadian arrested at the border but a lifeline for foreigners seeking marriage and retirement visas

Australian business woman deported to Sydney on charges of illegal overstay after being arrested

Thailand’s top immigration cop wants genuine foreigners to come forward – new visa regime is forever

About the Author

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James Morris and Son Nguyen

James Morris is a pename for an international writer based in Bangkok who works on various international news media. He is a sub editor with the Thai Examiner news website since it began in 2015. Son Nguyen is an international writer and news commentator specialising in Thai news and current affairs. He commenced working with the Thai Examiner News Desk in May 2018.

 

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