Stranded tourists rush to leave Thailand after being threatened with arrest for overstaying visa

Video Credit: Newsflare
Published on September 23, 2020 - Duration: 03:11s

Stranded tourists rush to leave Thailand after being threatened with arrest for overstaying visa

Stranded tourists flocked to the airport in Bangkok, Thailand, today (September 23) amid warnings they would be arrested for overstaying a visa amnesty.

Thailand banned international arrivals on March 22 before closing immigration offices and giving a temporary reprieve for those stuck in the country during the Covid-19 pandemic, unable to return on international flights.

However, police chiefs warned that an estimated 150,000 holidaymakers still in the country with expired visas would be tracked down and arrested if they had not left before September 26.

Immigration Bureau deputy spokesperson Pakpong Sai-ubol said: ''Overstaying the tourist visa is punishable by both a jail term and fine under the Immigration Act.'' Footage from the Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) shows hundreds of passengers queueing for flights to the Philippines and India.

Some of those in the lines said they had been in Thailand since before the pandemic and ''wanted to stay'' but were ''not able to renew their visas''.

American tourist Andrew Aandolph, 36, said he is travelling back to the Philippines with his Filipina wife Venus, 33.

Andrew said: ''I've been staying in Thailand for seven months.

We don't want to fly back home because Thailand has been handling the pandemic better than the Philippines.

I'm disappointed to leave but we have to.'' American YouTuber Wade, 34, is travelling back to Dumangas, the Philippines with his Filipina wife Princess, 21.

He said: "It's crazy.

Thailand needs tourists, why did they kick the tourists out?" Strict rules have prevented anyone form obtaining new tourist visas during the pandemic.

The 'tourist visa' extension loophole had previously been used by people to stay for extended periods of time in the country.

Anyone who has overstayed their visa for more than 90 days is barred from re-entering the country for one year.

Thailand has ranked highest in a global survey for its effective handling of Covid-19 and recovery from the crisis.

There have been just two local transmissions of Covid-19 in more than 100 days.

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