Foreign Nationals Arrested in Koh Phangan for Illegal Work


In Koh Phangan, Surat Thani Province, authorities apprehended Mr. Somphet, a 37-year-old German national, and Ms. Arbely Natalie, a 34-year-old Canadian, for conducting work activities without the necessary permits. The arrests took place at Samma Karuna, a wellness center in Koh Phangan, where they were reportedly leading a yoga session.

The operation stemmed from a tip-off about foreign nationals organizing unauthorized yoga sessions. Tourist Police, the Koh Phangan District Administrative Officer, and Immigration Police conducted the raid after social media promotions indicated Mr. Somphet would lead a session titled “The Shaolin Experience” on March 29.

Upon their arrival at the venue, the authorities observed a session in progress, closely mirroring the activities described in the complaint, leading to the immediate arrest of Mr. Somphet and Ms. Arbely Natalie. During the investigation, Mr. Somphet revealed that he charged 9,000 baht per person for the course, with the earnings split between him and Samma Karuna Co., Ltd., the entity that employed him.

Further inquiries uncovered that Mr. Somphet had overstayed his visa by 34 days, compounding his legal troubles. Consequently, authorities are preparing to deport him back to Germany.

The incident highlights the ongoing crackdown on illegal employment and immigration violations on Koh Phangan, involving a collaborative effort from local Tourist Police, Immigration Police, and administrative officers.


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