By Khaosod, Thailand/June 23, 2024

KOH PHANGAN — Tourist police on Koh Phangan have arrested a French tourist who claimed to be a cult leader and invited other foreign tourists to join his rituals. The man had overstayed his legal limit.

On June 22, tourist police officers on Koh Phangan arrested Mr. Evariste, a 39-year-old French national, at the Baan Tai Malay Mosque in Koh Phangan district, Surat Thani province.

Previously, authorities received complaints about a foreigner living near the mosque, claiming to be a religious leader participating in rituals and inviting foreign tourists visiting Koh Phangan to join religious ceremonies.

Officers conducted surveillance and spotted a foreigner matching the description from the complaints. When they approached Mr. Evariste, he appeared nervous. When asked for his passport, he claimed it was at another location where he had set up a tent near the mosque.

Officers escorted him to the tent and found that his tourist visa was for 30 days, but Mr. Evariste had overstayed by 3 months.

The authorities charged him with “being a foreigner staying in the Kingdom after permission has expired” (overstaying by 78 days) and transferred him to Koh Phangan Police Station for legal proceedings.

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