App helps cops nab overstayers in Thailand
‘Pineapple eyes’ allow the public to be the eyes of the Thai immigration bureau
Immigration police arrested two Vietnamese suspects for working illegally at a shop selling fried rice in Bangkok, following a tip-off the officers received via the Line application.
The pair, identified as Tai Hu Den and Duan At, were found by the officers while they were working at a shop on Sukhon Thasawat in the Lat Phrao area.
One factor that led to the arrest was that “people told us through eyeimm1178,” the Immigration Bureau’s deputy chief for investigation, Pol Col Phakkhaphong Saiubon said yesterday, attributing the success to the Line ID it has announced to the public, which urges people to be the police’s eyes.
The officers accused Tai Hu Den, 37, of working illegally. They say he has visited Thailand many times. Duan At, 33, was accused of overstaying his visa and illegally working here.
They allegedly admitted to police during questioning they are staff members at the food shop.
Authorities are preparing to take legal action against the suspects under the 1979 Immigration Act.
In Duan At’s case, his illegal stay which has allegedly lasted for over a year is considered “very long” and he can be put on a blacklist of foreigners prohibited from entering Thailand, Pol Col Phakkhaphong said.
The arrests are part of the government’s policy to deal with illegal immigrants.
The Immigration Bureau is spearheading the crackdown recently made more effective by the Line App.
Earlier in April, bureau chief Nathathorn Prousoontorn rolled out eyeimm1178, dubbed “pineapple eyes,” as a new communication channel between his agency and the public, who are encouraged to look out for irregularities and give clues to police via their smart phones or computers.
The Line ID was announced days before the Songkran festival in mid-April as part of attempts to ensure greater safety for tourists during the Thai traditional New Year celebrations.
Thailand is targeted by some transnational criminals, so police need people’s help to monitor any irregularities, the Immigration Bureau said.