Immigration police apprehended Barut Wanayo, a 42-year-old Burundi citizen, and Filemon Sotti, 23, a Surin FC football player from Ghana.
Police said the visa numbers, A4049935 in Wanayo’s passport and 848623 in Sotti’s passport, were similar to the visa seals stolen from the Thai embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The letter A was missing from Sotti’s visa.
The pair produced their passports to enter Thailand from neighbouring Laos.
They claimed that they applied for visas at the Thai consulate in the Laotian city of Savannakhet. Police suspected that the visa seals were counterfeit.
Wanayo told police that he has been in Thailand for four years and was engaged in garment exports to African countries. He said he was contacted by an Indian broker last November and paid Bt10,000 for the visa.
He travelled to Vientiane to have his visa extended and was apprehended at the border checkpoint in Nong Khai. He denies all charges.
Sotti who has played for Phayao FC and later for Surin FC over the last two years claimed that his visa was stamped at the Thai consulate in Savannakhet and stood firm that it was genuine.
Pariwat Sajjapan, chief of Nong Khao Immigration Bureau, said the visa number in Wanayo’s passport was similar to the one missing from the Thai embassy in Kuala Lumpur while Sotti’s visa carried the signature of the former consul-general who has left the position.
They were both detained at Muang police station in Nong Khai for further questioning.