Visas, Tips & Deportations: Immigration’s ‘Big Joke’ Leaves Farrangs Laughing

Published on 9th October 2018 by Stickboy BKK

Big Joke Leaves Farrangs Laughing

After only a week into his stint as immigration chief, “Big Joke” certainly has sparked some laughs at his bureau.

Pol. Maj. Gen. Surachate Hakparn, whose penchant for grabbing headlines – and credit – earned him the comical nickname from the media, took over as the Immigration Bureau Oct. 1 and has made sure his name has been in ink every day.

He might want to rethink his publicity tour after Monday when, Surachate’s “godfather”, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, said immigration would deport within a month anyone without a proper visa while Big Joke suspended five airport immigration officers for refusing to issue visas on demand unless they got a bribe.

The irony, of course, seemed lost on the boys with fancy watches and tight uniforms.

Big Joke Leaves Farrangs Laughing

Prawit, whose backing got Surachate his post, ordered the big joker to get rid of anyone caught overstaying their visa or in the country without one. The government’s security chief claimed those nasty farrangs were largely criminals or working in occupations reserved for Thai nationals.

Big Joke confirmed the order, claiming his minions had already found 1,000 dodgy farrangs.

Perhaps some of those were Chinese, Indians and other nationals of third-world countries who have been unable to get proper visas without greasing the palms of those same minions.

Five bribe-taking immigration officers at Don Mueang were transferred to inactive posts – basically suspended – for demanding 200-baht “tips” from applicants.

The crackdown came more than two years after the bribery scam by immigration cops in Bangkok and Phuket were first exposed.

The final straw came this week when a Chinese tourist at Don Mueang posted on Facebook that he had to wait more than six hours to get a visa because he refused to pay the “tip”.

Surachate tracked down the poster and got details that led to the officers’ transfer. Big Joke also broke out the Microsoft Paint and made up some “No Tips” signs he taped up on airport immigration booths.

That should fix things.

Photo Credit: Immigration Bureau

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