In the heart of Thailand’s central province, Kanchanaburi, an Iraqi man was apprehended today by immigration police officers after avoiding detection for nearly 15 years as an overstayer. This arrest is just a small part of a nation-wide initiative conducted by the Royal Thai Police and Immigration Bureau to clamp down on illegal immigrants dispersed across the country.
The law enforcement agencies’ careful and methodical investigations yield results at the province level, which, most recently, unveiled the case of this Iraqi national whose name is Oday Jabbar Khudhair. This 43-year-old man had been craftily hiding in plain sight within a guest house nestled in Kanchanaburi. Swiftly, at the stroke of 11 am, Kanchanaburi Provincial Immigration Officers arrested Khudhair with precision, bringing an end to his long-running evasion.
Following a detailed audit of the records, it was ascertained that Khudhair first arrived in Thailand on the 24th of May, 2008, armed with a Non-Immigrant Visa (Non-B). This visa granted him permission to stay until the 21st of August in the same year. Unmoved by the regulation, Khudhair deliberately overlooked the visa requirements, eluding authorities and sticking to the shadows.
Over the years, Khudhair, in an attempt to remain unnoticed, roamed across various provinces of Thailand, traversing from one location to another, before finally establishing himself in Kanchanaburi. This pattern of calculated evasion led him to outstay by an astonishing length of 5,468 days, which is close to 15 years.
Now, as per the Section 81 of the Immigration Act, Khudhair has been charged with residing in the country well past his permitted timeframe, which can land him up in jail for up to two years along with a hefty fine up to 20,000 Baht. After serving his sentence, the man will be escorted and deported back to Iraq.
Interestingly, a similar incident of an overstayed Iraqi national unfolded earlier this year in Pattaya. When apprehended, the man reportedly fainted out of shock. Nevertheless, the nature and extent of Khudhair’s case make it one of the longest reported overstays.
In recent memory, noteworthy cases include a Hungarian woman caught on in Koh Samui for overextending her visa by a decade, a Chinese man sentenced for a seven-year overstay in 2022, and a British man arrested this year for overstaying by 11 years.
These significant overstays have shaken up Thai authorities who have been proactive with their operations. According to their May report, nearly 1,300 overstaying foreigners were rounded up in a brisk span of nine days, a sharp increase from the previous year’s comparable operation, where only 785 cases of overstays were uncovered between October and November.