Mae Sot officials probed for 30m baht bribes in migrant ID scandal

Picture courtesy of ฐานเศรษฐกิจ

In Mae Sot district, Tak province, three Registration Department officials have come under scrutiny for allegedly accepting 30 million baht in bribes to issue identification cards to 700 Myanmar migrants over the last three months. Mae Sot’s mayor, Prasert Puanglakorn, has signed an order temporarily reassigning the implicated officials to non-active posts in other departments while the municipality conducts an investigation.

The coveted pink card is provided to foreigners registered in the house registration system as proof of legality. Lasting for ten years, this card enables individuals to apply for employment. The registration officials in question allegedly distributed ID cards to 700 Myanmar individuals, including both refugees and affiliated members of rebel groups like the People’s Defence Forces, which is currently active in Myanmar’s Kayah state.

According to a source, these officials issued 15 to 20 ID cards daily for the past three months, charging 40,000 to 100,000 baht (US$1,152 to 2,880) for each card, amassing 28 to 30 million baht (US$806,219 to 863,806) in bribes. It remains unclear how news of this fraudulent card-issuing spread, Bangkok Post reported. Tak governor Somchai Kitcharoenrungroj received a substantial number of complaints from locals and other officials about bribery.

Long lines formed at the Mae Sot district office with migrants registering for pink ID cards, frustrating Thai citizens who needed to register or renew their own IDs. Governor Somchai subsequently ordered an investigation into the registration division at the Mae Sot district office.

During a visit to the home of a Thai agent, officials discovered that the names of over 100 Myanmar migrants had been added to his house registration. The investigation will now broaden its scope.

In a separate matter, residents from Myanmar’s Kayah state have sought refuge in Thailand’s Mae Hong Son due to a spate of airstrikes launched by the Myanmar military. Since June 13, violent clashes between Myanmar’s military junta and rebel forces have driven 3,879 Myanmar nationals to seek sanctuary in neighbouring Thailand.

Crime NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

Related Articles