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.
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.