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Forged documents put 300 Thai-Lao marriages in danger

The battle with forged documents in Thailand continues, with the latest case reportedly putting up to 300 Thai-Laotian marriages in jeopardy.

Immigration Police Bureau chief Pol Lt-General Sompong Chingdoung announced on October 20 that a 52-year-old Thai man has been arrested for allegedly luring Laotian women to pay between Bt40,000 and Bt70,000 for a document allegedly issued by Laos authorities that can be used for registering marriage with Thai nationals. Suspect Narongsak Kaewsaenmuang was arrested by Immigration 4 Police Command officers for public fraud on September 26 in the border province of Nong Khai.

It was alleged that Narongsak had conspired with a group in Laos to advertise the service of arranging state-issued documents that Lao women can use to marry Thai men. This document usually takes a year to be issued legally, prompting some people to look for shortcuts, especially people claiming to have connections.

In the service provided by Narongsak, after the money was transferred to his bank account, the group sent out these so-called documents.

It was not until the chief of Udon Thani’s Muang district noticed that the documents used to register three marriages were forged and filed a police complaint, that the case made headlines, with reports revealing a larger scale of damage.

Four similar “marriages” were uncovered recently in Ubon Ratchathani’s districts of Muang, Don Mod Daeng, Muang Sam Sib and Khong Chiam. Police investigation has led to all seven couples being summoned for information and that led to Narongsak.

Police said the Laos consulate in Khon Kaen had in March written to provincial governors in 20 provinces in the Northeast of Thailand to check the authenticity of documents certifying Laotian citizens’ single status and related information, which were used to register hundreds of Thai-Laotian marriages last year.

It turned out that some 300 couples had used forged papers, and if they are charged for forgery, then their marriages will be cancelled, and they will be deported back to Laos.

Sompong also urged members of the public to look out for suspicious activities by foreigners and alert police via Immigration Police Hotline 1178 or via the agency’s website.

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