Nearly 300 Thais stranded at the southern border, paperwork issues

Around 300 Thais trying to return to Thailand are stranded at the Wang Kelian immigration checkpoint in northern Malaysia’s Perlis State. On the other side is Thailand’s Wang Prachan checkpoint in Satun’s Khuan Don district. They’ve been denied entry after failing to comply with the strict new regulations set by the Thai authorities.

Thailand and Malaysia have closed their checkpoints along the southern border. The two countries do not allow entry by foreigners via these checkpoints except their own citizens.

Thai nationals are meant to be permitted to return to Thailand via the Wang Prachan immigration checkpoint in Satun. But to be eligible, the Thai nationals are required to contact the Thai embassy in KL or a Thai consulate in Malaysia to get a formal letter of their residential status in Thailand. The Thais are also required to obtain a health certificate which are issued not longer than 72 hours previously.

250-300 Thais, most of them who worked as crew on Malaysian fishing boats, but live in Satun, as well as some Thai tourists, converged on the Wang Kelian checkpoint from around 9am yesterday. But they were denied entry by the Thai immigration police because they failed to produce all the requisite paperwork.

By 2pm a meeting was held between Thai and Malaysian authorities on the Thai side of the border. All the talking wasn’t able to resolve the situation and the Thais were told they could not cross into Thailand.

Eventually, after hours of negotiations, the Satun Governor Veeranan informed the throng that the Thai consulate in Penang, would speed up procedures so that the stranded Thais would be able to return home.

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