Thai customs end intrusive frisking of designer-brand wearers at airports

The Thai Customs Department has officially put an end to the embarrassing and intrusive practice of frisking travellers passing through border control with designer-brand items at airports. The department said the searches were a burden for travellers.

According to the deputy director of the Customs Department, Phanthong Loykunlanan, the department has abolished frisking tourists to make travel more convenient. However, travellers must prove that their luxury items are for personal use and not for sale.

As per the regulations for importing or purchasing luxury goods from abroad, the Thai Customs Department’s website states that travellers who have no declaration to make must have personal belongings in a reasonable quantity and not exceed a total value of 20,000 baht.

Phanthong revealed that Customs Department officials will not search travellers even if they pass through with an expensive handbag or wearing a luxury watch.

Phathong said…

“The Customs Department officials at the airport must not search the travellers with designer-brand fashion items if it is not necessary. This is the policy from the Customs Department director. The director said the search is a burden for the travellers. It will end up with problems if we keep searching everybody.”

Phanthong also stated that Customs officials will only search travellers if they receive a report of suspected criminal activity from relevant departments, and they must be in uniform while doing so.

Last year, a Thai woman shared her experience of entering the country with designer brands and faced a fine of 54,000 baht.

The woman reported that she and her boyfriend stayed and worked in South Korea and travelled to Thailand via Suvarnabhumi Airport on Friday, May 20, last year.

She said officials seized all of their design-brand items. The officers suspected that they had intentions to sell their goods in Thailand.

The couple denied the allegation and spent hours negotiating. They were fined 27% of the product prices from their luxury bags and 37% on their clothes. The total fine was 70,000 baht, later reduced to 54,000 baht.

Another woman commented on the post saying that she experienced a similar scenario and ended up paying a 60,000 baht fine to the Customs Department.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger focusing on Thai news and what's happening in Thailand. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp.