Nong Khai Man Arrested With Fake Passport Stamps
NONG KHAI â€” Police have arrested a man in Nong Khai province who allegedly provided foreign tourists with fake departure stamps in their passports.
The suspect, Chatchai Chaikhamthong, 40, was arrested at a parking lot in Wat Sri Muang temple yesterday in a sting operation, said Pol.Maj.Gen. Pallop Suriyakul na Ayutthaya.
According to Pol.Maj.Gen. Pallop, the suspect had been offering the fake stamp service to foreign tourists â€” mostly Chinese and Vietnamese â€” who wished to leave the country via the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge. The stamps exempted these tourists from having to have their immigration documents examined when they passed through checkpoints, the officer said.
Pol.Maj.Gen. Pallop said the tourists who sought Mr. Chatchai's service were those who either overstayed their visas or had arrest warrants on their records. Mr. Chatchai reportedly charged tourists 5,000 baht per stamp.
A search of Mr. Chatchai's home by military officers turned up four passport rubber stamps and boxes of departure (TM 6) immigration forms.
Mr. Chatchai claimed he had the rubber stamps made at a shop in Nong Khai province and acquired the immigration forms from a contact in Bangkok, police say.
However, Pol.Maj.Gen. Pallop said police are trying to determine whether Mr. Chatchai may have actually acquired the stamps from immigration officers, because each stamp bears a number that belongs to a respective official.
Mr. Chatchai reportedly said he has been offering the service for two years.