By Suriya Patathayo
Surachate also revealed that a Police Senior Sergeant Major at the bureau, whose name was not released, was accused of and reportedly confessed to stamping the forged documents for the suspects in exchange for a payment of Bt5,000 per head. The officer was temporarily dismissed from the force, pending a disciplinary probe and criminal investigation, Surachate said. The police said they would check for more accomplices, including a middleman who brought in the foreigners' documents to receive the forged visas.
Surachate said the five foreigners arrested over the forged visa were Olawale Raimi, 33, from Nigeria; Jonas Silva, 39, from Guinea-Bissau; Riches Obbonna Onu, 44, from Nigeria; Tshepo Zuma, 37, from South Africa; and Ouattara Ben Ibrahim, 21, from Ivory Coast.
These five men were among the 12 suspects - found to have been carrying one or two passports with the same photos but with different names and details. The police said they would hunt for the other seven suspects later, Surachate said.
Surachate affirmed that his bureau would coordinate with the Department of Consular Affairs to prevent criminals from entering Thailand, employ technology such as retina and facial scanners, and amend the Immigration Act to cover all aspects to boost the visitor-screening efficiency.