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Friday 7 April 2023

Heading for a few drinks on a night out? Don't forget your passport!

You are heading out for a night on the town in Thailand.

Conscious of drink spiking and other issues, you place your passport, credit cards and other important documents safely in your hotel safe.

Better safe than sorry, so to speak.

While you are enjoying a few drinks and the entertainment, the local police raid the establishment and demand your passport.

Our Thai correspondent says this is a growing trend. 

If you can't produce your passport you might be asked to pay a "fine" - in cash of course - to absolve yourself.

The Pattaya News reported this week that Pattaya Police and immigration authorities launched "a city-wide search" targeting foreigners who might have overstayed their visas, or been involved in illegal activities.

The paper reported, apparently tongue firmly in cheek, that "about 50 law enforcement officers swept across Pattaya City to deter illegal activities".

And what did they find? Nothing. How many criminals did they arrest? Err, none.

The officers told the Pattaya News that they mostly targeted foreigners working illegally in Pattaya, overstayers, and illegal migrant workers.

Separated into three groups, the police and immigration visited nightclubs and several venues around crowded tourist spots such as Walking Street and Soi 6 to check tourists’ passports for overstayers.

They also searched venue employees to see if they carried any weapons or illicit drugs.

Here's the kicker. Pattaya Police said the inspection "succeeded at deterring crime as nothing illegal was found".

Not exactly a way to encourage tourism though. And demanding tourists carry their passports surely increases their chances of being mugged, or robbed. Completely illogical. 

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