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Biometric scanning system to be tested at five provincial airports

Jack Burton

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Biometric scanning system to be tested at five provincial airports | The Thaiger
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The Ministry of Transport is considering using biometric facial scanning of air passengers, initially at five provincial airports, as part of a pilot project to develop smart airports across the kingdom.

The deputy transport minister said Tuesday that a working committee, comprising members of the Department of Airports, the Royal Thai Police Office and the Ministry of Interior, has been set up to conduct a study into the use of biometric scanning systems.

The airports chosen to be part of the trial are Krabi, Surat Thani, Udon Thani and Khon Kaen.

He said biometrics are widely used at airports in Europe, the Americas and in Singapore and Malaysia.

He stressed the need for biometric systems in airports in Thailand, an important aviation hub in Asia, claiming the systems could cut check-in times by half and eventually might allow passengers to check in without showing their passports or ID cards.

The deputy transport minister also claimed that a recently updated biometric system makes it possible for passengers to check in at their hotels before leaving for the airport.

In addition to the scanning system, he said the Transport Ministry plans to make the five provincial airports more convenient for passengers by arranging rest areas and work spaces for them while they wait for flights.

SOURCE: thaipbsworld.com

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Thailand

British arrivals ‘on hold’ after family confirmed with B117 Covid strain

The Thaiger

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British arrivals ‘on hold’ after family confirmed with B117 Covid strain | The Thaiger

In their latest proposal, Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health will request the CCSA to defer the entry of British visitors to the country after evidence of the faster-spreading B117 strain (aka. the “G strain”) of Covid-19 was found in 4 British travellers arriving in Thailand on December 21.

Over 30 countries have reported cases of the highly-transmissible UK variant of the novel coronavirus, raising fears of increased global spread of the virus, even as countries begin to unroll vaccination programs in the new year, including Singapore and Taiwan. Up to recently, Taiwan has had very few Covid-19 infections.

Vietnam is the latest nation to report a B117 case, which authorities detected in a woman quarantined after recent travel from the UK. Vietnam has banned nearly all international travel, but it is providing repatriation flights for citizens stranded in the UK.

Department of Disease Control announced that all passengers who were on board the same flight as the 4, or anyone who had come into contact with them, has now been located, tested and found to be clear of infection.

The 4 English patients were all from the same family travelling from Kent. The family are now confined to a hospital “and will not be released until medical officials test and clear them of Covid-19 risk”, according to the Centre of Excellence in Clinical Virology at Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medicine.

The Centre’s Dr Yong Poovorawan says they’ve been collecting samples from Covid-19 patients for research and reported that the Covid-19 detected in the 4 British patients are of the B117 strain which is spreading quickly through the UK.

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Expats

Video of foreigner’s road rage in Pathum Thani gets mixed reaction from Thais

Caitlin Ashworth

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Video of foreigner’s road rage in Pathum Thani gets mixed reaction from Thais | The Thaiger

A video of a foreigner lashing out after a motorbike accident, yelling and hitting a Thai motorbike driver for pulling out in front of him and causing him to crash, has gotten a mixed reaction from Thais (you MUST watch it… below). The incident also caught media attention and Thairath made a post on Facebook pairing the clip from the foreigner’s helmet camera with dramatic music and editing.

The foreigner was driving on Route 3309 in Pathum Thani’s Muang district, north of Bangkok. He was filming a video on his helmet camera while he talked about the motorbike when another motorbike driver suddenly pulled out from an intersection, causing him to crash.

The foreigner fell off his motorbike and confronted the driver, yelling “Hey, what the f**k is wrong with you?!” He slapped the man’s helmet.

Some people say the Thai motorbike rider was driving irresponsibly and the incident could have been much worse if it involved a car. Some say the foreigner should’ve controlled his anger. Others say that’s just how traffic is in Thailand…get used to it.

To watch the dramatised video edited by Thairath, click HERE.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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Government to raise 5-year Elite visa fee by 20%, as foreigners flee Covid countries

Maya Taylor

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Government to raise 5-year Elite visa fee by 20%, as foreigners flee Covid countries | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.thailandelitevisa.com

As more foreigners opt for one of Thailand’s “elite” visas, allowing stays of between 5 and 20 years, and costing anything from 500,000 baht to 2 million, the most popular version is in for a price hike. The cost of the 5-year “Easy Access” visa will go up by 20% from January, to 600,000 baht.

It’s understood there were a record number of new applications for the visa this year, as foreigners sought refuge in a country that appears to have pretty much suppressed the Covid-19 virus. Nikkei Asia reports that an additional 2,674 applicants signed up for an elite visa during the company’s 2020 financial year, which ended in September. That’s an increase of nearly 25%, with the scheme generating revenue of 1.6 billion baht.

Somchai Soongswang from Thailand Privilege Card, which sits under the umbrella of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, says applications were received both from tourists stranded in Thailand, and people overseas who wished to escape Covid-19 in their own country. To date, Thailand has recorded just over 4,000 cases of the virus, significantly lower than the numbers logged by other south-east Asian countries.

It’s understood that as of the end of September, over 11,100 people hold an elite visa, as part of 9 different packages offered by Thailand Privilege Card. Most of them are from China, Japan, South Korea, the UK, and the US. The company plans to sign up at least another 2,700 for the fiscal year 2021, and is currently working on its latest offering, which will be the 10th visa package in the scheme.

The “Flexible One” elite visa is aimed at property investors who spend at least 10 million baht. For their investment, they will be offered a 5-year visa, either for free or at a discount, in a move aimed at boosting the Kingdom’s flailing property market.

SOURCE: Thai Visa | Nikkei Asia

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