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Police have charged two foreigners with fraud after they obtained money from a Syrian man in exchange for falsely claiming they could secure the release of his son, who had been detained for overstaying his tourist visa.
Metropolitan police commissioner Pol Lt General Sanit Mahatavorn named the detained men as Kazan Wakew, 27, from Syria, and a Lebanese man known only as Basel. A third suspect, Islam Ahmed, 32, from Egypt, was still at large, he said.
The arrests were made after a Syrian man, Alhalabi Mohammad, filed a complaint with the Justice Ministry, accusing the three suspects of extorting Bt655,000 from him in exchange for the freedom of his son who had been arrested and detained in prison by Immigration officers for overstaying his visa.
The father, who ran a barber shop in Soi Nana for four years, claimed that he had already paid the money but his son remained in jail. He said he wanted justice, even though he could himself face legal action for staying in Thailand with an expired visa.
The three claimed to be volunteers for Lumpini police.
Sanit said the two suspects denied extorting money, saying the incident took place because Islam and the son, both married men, had both become keen on the same woman.
Islam then told Lumpini police that the son had been involved with drugs. The police found no such evidence but charged the son with overstaying his visa and detained him pending trial.
“Then the suspects told the father they could help secure the son’s freedom and asked for money in return,” he said.
Sanit insisted that any translator working on behalf of Lumpini police would be wearing a polo shirt with “Translator” on it and would have had to get permission from the station.
Alahabi thanked Sanit and the Thai police for taking action against those whose acts tarnished the reputation of police. “I had seen those three foreigners arresting foreigners in the Nana area and they then were released,” he said. “So I assumed that they would be able to help my son, so I paid them.”
He did not think that his son would be deported back to Syria because of the war there. He did think, however, that he could be sent to a third country via the United Nations.