Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘US Warrant Thailand’

10th May 2010

In a recent posting on the popular website Thaivisa.com it was noted that the United States of America has honored an extradition request from Thai authorities that a suspect in a “drug gang” be extradited to the Kingdom of Thailand. The following is quoted from ThaiVisa.com:

BANGKOK: — Suwit “Cheng” Prasoprat, a member of the China-based “14K” drug gang, was handed over to Thai authorities on Sunday, nine years after a request for his extradition was filed, deputy attorney-general Thavorn Panichpan said yesterday.

Thavorn said members of the drug gang fled overseas after police investigators filed a case in February 2001 against Thaveewit Krairattanareuk, 46, plus Suwit and four others for having 3.6 tonnes of heroin destined for the US, and the attorney-general agreed to prosecute the gang.

Once it was discovered that Suwit was lying low in the US, Thai authorities filed an extradition request in March 2001, which was approved by an American court. However, Suwit appealed against the extradition in 2002, and though the Appeal Court upheld the lower court ruling, he appealed again to the Supreme Court. On April 19 this year, the US authorities notified Thailand that the extradition request had finally been approved and Suwit arrived in Bangkok on Sunday.

Lawyer Rewat Chanprasert said they previously extradited Boonsong Mekpongsathorn, 60, another suspect in the same case who also fled to the US.

Boonsong had been given the death sentence by the Thon Buri Criminal Court in January 2005, and the case was now with the Appeal Court. Thaveewit and another suspect, Komsak Kornjamrassakul, 50, were given life sentences in June 2001 and are now appealing their jail terms.

Narcotics Suppression Bureau chief Pol Lt-General Adithep Panjamanont said court permission would be sought to detain Suwit for a week pending further investigation, before the case was handed to prosecutors. He said the case stemmed from an arrest in 1998 over the possession of 126 kg of heroin on its way to the United States.

Police inquiries showed that Suwit, a Thai man with two nationalities and an address in the US, plus accomplices in China and Hong Kong known as the 14K gang, had carried out criminal activities in Thailand including arms deals, human trafficking and drug dealing.

Thai and US authorities worked together on the case until they had enough evidence for arrest warrants for Suwit and Boonsong in 2001, he said.

Adithep added that the police would extend the investigation to cover money-laundering and other criminal charges on Thai soil against Suwit, his accomplices and the 14K gang.

It was also reported that there are two other suspects in the same case – Suchat Rakraeng, who remains at large, and Kriengkrai Diewtrakul, who is in a Chiang Rai prison for another crime.

In an increasingly “globalized” world, cross-jurisdictional cooperation is becoming evermore commonplace. In the scenario described above, it is interesting to note that the subject is being extradited back to Thailand. There are some who speculate that as Thai authorities connect their computer systems to international warrant databases an increased number of foreign nationals residing in Thailand will be extradited to foreign jurisdictions as a result of increasing requests for extradition. Whether or not this will actually occur remains to be seen, but it is interesting to note the increasing trend of intergovernmental cooperation on an international level.

It should be noted that Royal Thai Immigration Police have begun integrating their system with warrant and criminal databases around the world. Therefore, there is reason to believe that this inter-connectivity could have a dramatic impact of Thai visa issuance and Immigration procedures in the future.

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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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7th December 2009

Recently, this author was asked about whether or not Thailand and the USA share an extradition Treaty and, if so, what are the ramifications of an American criminal warrant or conviction for those living in Thailand.

Extradition, “is the official process whereby one nation or state requests and obtains from another nation or state the surrender of a suspected or convicted criminal.”

Thailand and the United States currently have an Extradition Treaty. It is similar to the US-Thai Amity Treaty in that it is bilateral, but the subject matter of the Amity Treaty is very different compared to that of an Extradition Treaty. An Extradition Treaty provides a framework whereby the United States authorities can request that a suspect be handed over to the American authorities. That being said, for more information on specific legal citations please see the relevant Wikipedia page.

As Thailand and the United States share an Extradition Treaty, a person with American Criminal Warrants or American Arrest Warrants could be subjected to United States jurisdiction while in Thailand or while traveling between Thailand and another country. Even if not arrested in Thailand, it is always wise for those with criminal warrants or convictions to deal with the matter so that it can be “put to rest.” It is never wise to run from one’s criminal problems.

For those with a prior criminal conviction or pending criminal warrants the issue of passport re-issuance can be critical. The United States Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand and the United States Consulate-General in Chiang Mai assist with new passport re-issuance through their American Citizen Services Sections. If one is currently wanted in a US jurisdiction, then the Consular Officers at American Citizen Services are unlikely to issue a new passport or travel document until the American (or foreign national)  in question returns to the United States to deal with the pending matter.

Of further importance to many non-US Citizens with pending American criminal warrants is the effect of criminal proceedings upon one’s ability to acquire United States Immigration benefits (most importantly, a US visa). If one has an arrest or conviction for domestic violence, this fact could have a major impact upon one’s ability to petition for a K1 visa due to the provisions in the Adam Walsh Act and other relevant US law. Further, if one has a criminal conviction in the US, the underlying facts of the case could lead to a later finding of inadmissibility by a Consular Officer adjudicating a later visa application. In some cases, an I601 waiver may be available for those who are found to be inadmissible. Consulting with an attorney experienced in Immigration matters could provide insight regarding the Immigration ramifications of an American criminal conviction.

An American attorney in Thailand (or southeast Asia) could be of assistance to a client by acting as a liaison with American authorities or with other American attorneys. Simply providing legal advice regarding the impact of one’s prior choices could be a boon to some as well. No attorney can assist in evading US law, but a lawyer licensed in the United States could assist by providing legal counsel and advice regarding the ramifications of a client’s previous decisions.

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