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Prominent Extradition Cases in Thailand - Snaring Minor Offenders to Big-Time Crooks
By John Le Fevre

24 March 2011

Other Recent Cases of Extradition or Deportation

In September and October last year Thai police arrested two Thai men aged 27 and 35, accused of the May 2009 murder of Luke Mitchell in Melbourne, Australia, based on an arrest warrant issued by the Victoria Police, extradition requested under the inherited England-Thailand extradition treaty.

The two accused appeared in court in early January 2011 and are due to appear in a Bangkok Court again in May, while Mr. Georgiou has told the Bangkok court hearing his extradition request that he no longer wishes to challenge the application.

More recently Chonburi immigration arrested 73-year-old convicted British pedophile, Roderick William Robinson, wanted in the UK after jumping bail on 1998 child molestation charges involving a 13-year-old girl.17

Though media reports make it unclear whether arrest warrants had been issued for Robinson or not, Chonburi immigration circumvented any prolonged extradition proceedings by using provisions of a relatively new amendment to the Immigration Act of Thailand B.E. 2522 (1979), granting immigration special powers to revoke a visa for a person residing in the kingdom.

Section 7 of the Immigration act states that the visa for a person residing in the kingdom can be revoked for: “Having behavior which would indicated possible danger to the public or likelihood of being a nuisance or constituting any violence to the peace or safety of the public or to the security of the public or to the security of the nation, or being under warrant of arrest by competent officials of foreign governments.”18

Robinson had previously been extradited from Portugal to Australia to face similar charges to those in England, but jumped bail in Australia and relocated to Thailand while awaiting an appellant court verdict. In addition he was wanted in New Zealand for similar offenses there.

While all that is known about the mechanism that triggered the arrest and cancelation of Robinson’s visa is that England's Serious Organised Crime Agency(SOCA) tipped off Chonburi immigration to his presence and address in Thailand, any formal extradition proceedings could have become prolonged and complicated, with up to three countries potentially vying for Robinson’s return. Thailand Immigration took the extradition decision out of the hands of the court and were able to instigate deportation proceedings against Robinson, following the standard practice of sending Robinson back to his country of citizenship.19

Clarification between Extradition and Deportation

While some local newspapers referred to Robinson’s return to England as an extradition, Joe Leeds, manager of Chaninat and Leeds law firm in Bangkok said this is not correct as his return was not made under the terms of the Extradition Act and there are significant differences in the process.

"When extraditions occur the process is handled according to the Extradition
Act by the Office of the Attorney General as the result of a foreign government requesting the arrest and detention of an individual pending a hearing on the charges lodged by the foreign government. 

If successful, custody of the defendant is transferred from the Thai authorities to that of the foreign country requesting extradition and law enforcement agents from that government will physically be handed the person to remove from Thailand.

In a deportation the Immigration Bureau initiates the process and sends the defendant back to their home country.

Extraditions are initiated by a foreign government, which may or may not be the defendant's country of citizenship, and the process is handled pursuant to a different set of laws than Immigration”, Mr. Leeds said, adding that , “ordinarily, deportation would be a faster process than an extradition request.”

Whether an individual is legally extradited or deported, Thailand can likely expect to see more of these cases move through the courts as Thai officials continue to strengthen ties and crime-fighting collaborations with foreign law enforcement entities. 


Credit: United States DEA-Extradition of Viktor Bout from Thailand

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17. http://www.pattayamail.com/news/fugitive-pedophile-arrested-in-pattaya-1649, http://www.pattayaone.net/pattaya-news/20453/pattaya-immigration-issue-order-to-revoke-visa-of-british-national/

18. http://www.mfa.go.th/web/2482.php?id=2487

19. http://www.pattayapeople.com/default.asp?Folder=16&IdArticle=25744


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