Phuket immigration police are hunting for owners of visa agency that allegedly defrauded almost 100 foreigners seeking visa extensions.
Immigration officers, joined by Phuket police, on Tuesday showed up at the Asia Titan Group office on Soi Thep Anusorn in Wichit District and the owners’ house in Koh Kaew to find both vacant and closed.
Police called the owners “prominent” people who are being asked to come in for questioning. If they don’t, arrest warrants will be issued.
Kim Shanti, owner of Shanti’s Lodge in Chalong, said he knew of more than 60 foreigners who paid ATG to extend their visas, only to have ATG’s owners do a runner, leaving them at risk of overstaying their visas.
He volunteers to be a “co-ordinator” and help them in working with the Phuket Immigration Office.
Many of those affected are not expats: They’re people who took advantage of the never-ending Covid-19 extensions to stay the country, rather than go back home.
Not only do they not have new extensions, many don’t even have their passports, Shanti said.
Police said affected foreigners must go to Immigration, explain their situation and apply for an extension themselves.
Phuket Immigration this week issued a notice urging all foreigners affected by a bogus broker or or agency to contact the Phuket Immigration Help Center at 086-407-7763 or 076-221-905 ext. 10.
The notice asks foreigners to have the following documents prepared before contacting the Help Center:
- Passport or copy of passport
- Evidence of action against the company/agent about the visa
- Evidence of legal proceedings such as documents, reports etc (if any)
- Other related information
Foreigners may file a formal complaint through the hotline or make an appointment to receive assistance.