Innocent tourist family arrested due to airline drugs record

Published:  17 Jun at 6 PM
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The arrest and punishment of an innocent French family by immigration officers at Thailand’s Phuket Airport is being explained away as a mistake by Phuket’s governor.

French holidaymakers Damien Della Libera, his partner Eloide Triche and their daughter Oxanna were arrested when they were honest enough to realise they and several other passengers had taken a wrong turn out of the airport and left without receiving their tourist visas. The arrest happened when they realised their mistake and returned to the airport to get their passports stamped.

According to the couple, after their arrest they were ordered to sign a paper stating that immigration and local police had pulled them in when their mistake was realised. The couple were fined 2,000 baht each and were let go, although it’s unclear whether or not they signed the statement.

However, Phuket governor Maitree Intrasud chose to support immigration's stance, saying that the couple had been arrested because several drug arrests of passengers on the same airline had been made at the airport in the past. He continued that 10 passengers had misread exit signs, picked up their luggage and left the airport, adding that tourists should know that a tourist visa is required and that immigration had done their jobs 100 per cent.

French Ambassador Thierry Viteau told reporters the Embassy wanted to know exactly why the family were detained and confirmed that a complaint had been lodged with the immigration authority. Also involved was Danish Ambassador Mikale Winther, who said that abuses of authority, harassment and extortion had been points of discussion between himself and the French Ambassador.

Although it seems apologies have been offered to the two ambassadors, the family has received no explanation or statement of apology to date. The ongoing discrepancy between the Phuket Governor’s account and that of the family is unlikely to be resolved.
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