SURAT THANI — A european man was arrested and charged Monday with overstaying his visa for six years on Koh Tao.
As part of a nationwide crackdown on illegal immigrants, police arrested Czech national Josef Ruzicka, 47, who had overstayed his tourist visa more than 2,000 days. The operation was led by Col. Wanchana Boworaboon of Surat Thani immigration police.
“We were checking his immigration records. Usually foreigners’ records will say when they exited or entered the country. This man was already in the records, but he didn’t exit the country to go anywhere,” Police Capt. Ampai Meemattu said.
Ruzicka’s arrest is part of the “X-Ray Outlaw Foreigner” operation, in which police have targeted areas with large tourist populations to arrest foreigners overstaying their visas. The raids – first started by recently appointed Immigration Bureau commander Maj. Gen. Surachet Hakpan – began in and around Bangkok, but have since spread nationwide.
Police say they received an anonymous tip who said Ruzicka had been living on Koh Tao for six years without leaving the country. Ruzicka was caught at Sai Review Resort, where he was living with his Thai girlfriend in a hotel room.
Ruzicka overstayed his tourist visa for 2,266 days after it expired on July 2, 2012. He has been placed under Koh Tao police custody and will be deported, authorities said. The Czech national was blacklisted and banned from entering Thailand for 10 years. Ampai said Ruzicka will be fined no more than 20,000 baht.
Those who overstay their visa by less than a year face five years on the blacklist. Those who overstay for more than a year, such as Ruzicka, are blacklisted for 10 years.
Foreigners who willingly contact authorities after overstaying their visa face shorter periods on the blacklist: Those who overstay less than 90 days are not blacklisted. Overstaying one’s visa 90 to 365 days results in a one year ban. One to three years bans offenders three years, while three to five years results in a five-year ban. Overstays of five years or more result in a decade-long ban.