The Phuket Immigration revealed to the Thai media that two foreigners received red cards and four foreigners received a yellow card this month, March 2023, so far.
Phuket Immigration reported that there are in total 181 foreigners in the legal process of criminal cases. Most of them are Russian, French, British, Myanmar, and Cambodian. The most criminal cases are in Patong.
Most cases are drunk driving, following by overstaying, illegally entering the kingdom, and working without a work permit.
According to Phuket Immigration the system is indeed like a football game. Red cards in sports mean leaving a sport field but in terms of Immigration it means withdrawing one’s visa and requiring the foreign national to immediately depart Thailand. The length of a ban for entry to Thailand under the red card rule varies based on the severity of the crime.
However, many foreigners don’t know about Thai culture or Thai laws, Phuket Immigration noted. As a result, many foreigners claimed when arrested or told about penalties based on their behavior that they didn’t know the law or rules or claimed that nobody had clearly told them the laws or rules. Many claimed they saw other people do the same type of crime or rule violation and not get penalized and felt they could do so also or asked why others were not penalized and they were.
Phuket Immigration however stated that the only consideration point in these cases was what the individual arrested or in trouble had done and not others. Phuket Immigration also stated it was the responsibility of a visitor to be familiar with laws of the country they were traveling to and not of the country to specifically inform every tourist or foreigner individually of every law and regulation.
Phuket Immigration has set up a measurement tool for the red card and yellow card system. For the first time one did something wrong, they gave them yellow cards for a warning and reported their behavior to consulates. If they did it again, they will receive red cards. Their visa will be withdrawn and will be deported as previously stated.
From March 1st to March 15th, 2023 four foreigners who are two French, a Ukrainian, and a Swedish national have received yellow cards. Two foreigners who are a Swedish and a French national have received red cards and their visas were withdrawn and they were deported.
TPN notes this system is currently only being operated in Phuket as a trial program but if successful may expand to other areas popular with tourists such as Pattaya, Chiang Mai, and Koh Samui.
There are still many questions about the card program, however, such as what behaviors and offenses earn yellow cards and which don’t. Those questions were not specifically answered but Phuket Immigration said that if foreigners followed the laws and rules of Thailand they would have no problems.
Phuket Immigration noted that based on the statistics they released vs. the number of tourists that only an extremely small percentage of tourists and foreigners would ever get into trouble deemed suitable for a yellow or red card.