15 Vietnamese pickpockets arrested in Thailand

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Some had been deported earlier, but changed their names and re-entered the country on fake passports, police say.

Police in Thailand have arrested 15 Vietnamese nationals who were part of a pickpocket ring operating in the country’s major tourist destinations, the Bangkok Post reported on Friday.

The paper said some of the men had been arrested and deported earlier, but changed their names and used fake passports to return to the country. They continued to carry out petty thief cases which targeted foreign tourists, according to police reports.

Police officials blockaded an apartment in Din Daeng, a central district in Bangkok, and arrested the group of cutpurses just a week following the capture of its 52-year-old Vietnamese gang leader, the report said.

Immigration officers in Thailand are recording the pickpocket’s biometric data before launching deportation proceedings to prevent them from returning to the country and committing similar crimes.

The number of Vietnamese visiting Thailand witnessed a 6.48 percent year-on-year pickup in the first four months of 2018, putting Vietnam among top 10 tourism markets with the highest number of visitors traveling to Thailand, according to a recent report by the Tourism Authority of Thailand.

Citizens of ASEAN member nations can travel within the region without applying for visa, but a tourist status only gives them permission to stay for 30 days.

Earlier this year, immigration officers in Thailand detained 16 Vietnamese nationals for overstaying their tourist visas to work illegally in Bangkok.

Thailand recently announced that it was hunting for more than 8,000 foreigners, mostly from Asia, Africa and Europe.

The Xinhua news service recently cited a Thai defense ministry spokesperson as saying the people who have overstayed their visas could be engaged in criminal activities.


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