Although the expat did nothing unlawful and was cleared of accusations that his current visa had expired, he now fears for his future in Thailand. “I am really worried about getting a new visa after the police held my passport for some hours. They now have my name and details, and could make a problem for me in the future,” explained the foreigner.
At this point, a European suddenly appeared on the scene and began translating what the police were saying. He claimed to be working undercover for his embassy and helping police to arrest drug takers.
Since he wasn’t carrying his passport with him, the expat was taken to a police station to await his Thai wife who produced the document some time later. The foreign ‘translator’ joined them.
After going over the passport, the police said he had overstayed his visa, which was a serious problem that could result in a hefty fine, and even a ban on him returning to Thailand for the next five years.
A heated exchange between the man’s wife and the police ensued which prompted the translator to suggest to the expat he was probably better off out of the country and away from such an angry woman anyway.
After almost 12 hours in the police station, the man was finally released without charge – and without his passport. Outside, he was approached by yet another non-Thai who said he could arrange for the return of his passport. However, there would be a “cost” – 120 baht – a surprisingly small amount which he gladly paid.
“Now I simply worry that I may face problems next time I try to leave the country or get my visa extended,” said the man. “I have a wife and three kids to look after, so it’s not a pleasant prospect.”
NOTE: The embassy mentioned in this article was contacted and stated categorically from photos supplied that the “translator” was not known to them.