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Posts Tagged ‘US Arrest Warrant Thailand’

24th March 2010

The issue of extradition is becoming more important as the world becomes increasingly “small” thanks in part to technology and the movement towards globalization. In a global environment, legal issues are becoming increasingly international as people are leaving their home countries and taking up residence in countries abroad. In order to understand extradition we need to understand how the international legal system operates when it comes to the issue of dealing with individuals who have warrants or arrests in multiple jurisdictions.  First we need to define what “extradition” means as it can have a significant impact upon individuals throughout the world.

The online informational resource wikipedia.com defines Extradition as follows:

“Extradition is the official process whereby one nation or state surrenders a suspected or convicted criminal. Between nation states, extradition is regulated by treaties.”

This leads to the question: If extradition is the process of surrendering foreign criminals to another nation, then how do countries determine when it is appropriate to extradite individuals? This can be incredibly important as activities which are considered criminal in one jurisdiction may be considered legal in another. To further quote wikipedia:

“The consensus in international law is that a state does not have any obligation to surrender an alleged criminal to a foreign state as one principle of sovereignty is that every state has legal authority over the people within its borders. Such absence of international obligation and the desire of the right to demand such criminals of other countries have caused a web of extradition treaties or agreements to evolve; most countries in the world have signed bilateral extradition treaties with most other countries. No country in the world has an extradition treaty with all other countries…”

Extradition Treaties represent the agreement between two countries regarding the procedure for dealing with those individuals who have a criminal warrant or conviction in one of the nations that is a party to the Treaty. The Kingdom of Thailand and the United States of America have an Extradition Treaty. To quote the American State Department’s website:

“There is a bilateral treaty on Extradition in force between the United States and Thailand, 11 Bevans 1008, 43 Stat. 1749 (1924) and Treaty relating to extradition signed at Washington December 14, 1983, entered into force May 17, 1991. There is a treaty on transfer of prisoners “Treaty on Cooperation in Execution of Penal Sentences” signed at Bangkok October 29, 1982, entered into force December 7, 1988.”

From a practical standpoint, the existence of an Extradition Treaty does not necessarily mean that those with arrest warrants, convictions, or fugitive warrants in the USA will be automatically picked up, arrested, and extradited by authorities in Thailand. Instead, this is unlikely as the Thai authorities do not have direct access to the databases that contain US criminal warrant information. However, recently the Thai immigration authorities have announced that they are taking measures to streamline their information gathering process when it comes to foreign nationals. Authorities in Thailand hope to be “plugged in” to US law enforcement databases soon.

Another issue with regard to US warrants involves US passports as Consular Officers at the American Citizen Services Section of the US Embassy in Bangkok may confiscate an American’s passport if they have outstanding US warrants. In such a scenario, the American would likely be accorded an opportunity to willingly return to the USA.

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22nd February 2010

Recently the Royal Thai Immigration Police Department announced a new initiative to sweep up foreign criminals residing in Thailand. This effort is to be made possible through what appears to be the interlinking of various warrant databases. Once Thai Immigration officials link their system to that of countries such as the United States, or international organizations such as the European Union it will be less difficult to track down those in Thailand with a foreign arrest warrant or fugitive warrant.

The Bangkok Post is reporting that the new chief of the Thai Immigration Bureau is taking measures to see that foreign criminals in Thailand are apprehended through an initiative known as the “Three S’s” The Three S’s stand for “Security Standards and Service.”

In the realm of security, new initiatives are to be taken which will provide Royal Thai Immigration Police with access to international criminal warrant databases. These records would provide Thai Immigration officers as well as regular police officers with criminal histories of foreigners present in the Kingdom of Thailand. This information will be used to ascertain the location of such international criminals and facilitate apprehension.

The new campaign will also entail the creation of a new National Criminal Center. This Center seems to be intended as a repository for international criminal records. At the time of this writing, it is the author’s understanding that this Center will coordinate their activities with such foreign agencies as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, as well as other national, state, and local law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and around the world.

Another facet of Thai Immigration’s crackdown is the campaign to apprehend and deal with illegal aliens. Based upon the information contained in the above cited Bangkok Post article the new Royal Thai Immigration Chief seems to have expressed an intention to apprehend those foreign nationals who are present in the country illegally. How this will impact long term western tourists and expatriates remains to be seen as overstaying one’s Thai visa has become increasingly common since it is not longer possible to obtain a 30 day visa exemption stamp at Thai land borders.

In a way, these two initiatives are related as it could be easily inferred that those using Thailand as a place to evade foreign criminal warrants could also be Thailand visa violators.

For more information on this issue please see a previous blog post located here: criminal warrant.

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17th February 2010

United States criminal warrants are a serious matter that should be addressed in a timely fashion. That being said, there are those Americans outside of the USA who have outstanding US warrants. In many cases, the presence of a US warrant on one’s record can cause many travel complications.

In the past, the Thai Immigration database was not equipped to retain information regarding arrest and fugitive warrants for other countries. However, a recently released article promulgated through the website Thaivisa.com has noted that Royal Thai Immigration Police are implementing new measures in order to apprehend those with outstanding warrants from countries outside of Thailand. To quote Thaivisa.com directly:

“Thai Immigration officials plan to build an online information network that will collect arrest warrants from around the world in hopes of nabbing criminals hiding out in the Pattaya area…At a meeting at Immigration Division 3, Col. Athiwit Kamolrat, head of the Chonburi Immigration Office, said immigration police are working with the Suppression of Human and Child Trafficking, and Youth and Women’s Protection divisions of the Royal Thai Police to tighten the noose on human traffickers, pedophiles and international fugitives that often use Pattaya as a base or hideout…He said officials are currently closely monitoring Europeans from France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Switzerland and the United Kingdom; Asians from Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and South Korea; as well as those from Russia and the United States for whether they have entered Thailand legally, have obeyed the law and are not hiding from authorities at home…To boost their efforts, Athiwit said the Pattaya Immigration Office will take the lead in setting up a “transitional crimes information center” which will collect arrest warrants from around the global as well as extradition requests received by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

For those with an outstanding US criminal warrant or fugitive warrant obtaining a new passport can be very difficult as the personnel at the American Citizen Services Section of the US Embassy in Bangkok will likely confiscate the passport of an American with outstanding criminal warrants. The measures being undertaken by the Thai Immigration authorities would seem to denote that the Thai government is increasingly looking to crack down on fugitives who are present in Thailand. How these new rules will ultimately effect the Thai Immigration process and the obtainment of a Thai visa remains to be seen, but it could be inferred that Thailand is taking an increasingly hard line against the presence of foreign fugitives in the Kingdom of Thailand.

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