Russian expat who lives and works legally in Pattaya and Belarusian man with valid student visa were really amazed when they found their portraits in the list of overstayers.
This story began on 20 March when Immigration Bureau on special press-conference announced the arrest of “Russian Mafia from Pattaya” wanted by Interpol. On that day Immigration officers also mentioned a group of foreigners from Eastern Europe who were detained for violations of visa rules and illegal work in Thailand. Among them were citizens of Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. Photos of “overstayers” were placed on the stand and proudly demonstrated to journalists.
Our reader, 44-year old Andrei Berdnikov was surprised when he saw his own face captioned as overstayer on the Immigration Bureau “Wall of Fame”. Why he was surprised? Well, that’s because he stays in Thailand absolutely legally, has valid visa and work permit and for almost 6 years works in his own motorbike rental company in Banglamung. Together with Andrei among the overstayers were also displayed 26-year old Belarusian Sofien Djema and Russian citizen Ekubdzhon Yunusakhunov.
Andrei and Sofien told Thaipoo the story which can provide probable explaination of their appearance on the “Wall of Fame”. On 17 March about 1 p.m. Sofien was riding the personal car of Andrei to buy the canister of gasoline. The car of Immigration officers was on the road about 300 meters of Andrei’s office in Banglamung. A group of foreigners stood near the Immigration car. They spoke about something and blocked the road. There was not enough space for Sofien to drive past Immigration officers and farangs so he signaled.
Andrei thought that it was loud signal which prompted Immigration officers to chase the Sofien’s car. They made a photo of Sofien and the car when he parked near the Andrei’s office and went inside. At that moment Andrei’s client Ekubdzhon was in the office, sat on the sofa and waited when his rental contract will be renewed. Immigration officers detained Andrei, Sofien, Ekubdzhon and one more Russian client (he was freed almost immediately).
‘They detained us ‘for not having visa for employment’ and brought us to Soi 9. Police officers heard our explanations and finally freed us after returning all the documents’, said Andrei.
As Sofien explained, at first in the Immigration office they were offered to sign some documents. Sofien, Andrei and Ekubdzhon refused because of inaccuracies in that documents. After that all three were brought to police station where they spent 8 hours. Finally, police officers fingerprinted 2 Russians and Belarusian, returned them documents and released without any charges.
Andrei and Sofien showed us their visas which prove their legal residence in Thailand. According to the stamp in Andrei’s passport he can legally reside in Thailand until 15 December, 2017. His work permit is valid until 30 November, 2017.
Sofien has Non-Immigrant Visa “ED” for studying in Thailand and can legally reside here until 1 May 2017.
As we can see, Andrei and Sofien are not overstayers at all because both men have valid visas. They were not charged with any immigration violations and, of course, have no any connections with arrested “Russian mafia” from the Interpol wanted list. But Thailand is amazing country and you’ll never know on which “Wall of Fame” you’ll find your own portrait next time.
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