Thailand News Today | ‘Digital Nomad’ visa, ‘Property’ visa, Huge drug bust | Dec 16

BOI proposes new smart visa rules to lure foreign talent, digital nomads

The Board of Investment in Thailand is asking the Cabinet to approve new smart visa rules designed to attract more overseas talent to work in Thailand.

The aim is to allow digital freelancers currently working in Thailand to exchange their tourist visas for smart visas. To be eligible, applicants must have an employment contract with a foreign firm lasting at least six months and proof of qualifications and professional experience. BOI partners will help in screening their professional backgrounds.

This could also help the freelancers known as digital nomads who work around the country in co-working spaces and cafes, working… currently under other visas which don’t really fit their requirements.

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The new proposals also relax requirements for executives, reducing the 10 years’ experience and education level (bachelor’s degree) currently required.

Thai police seize ketamine and heroin suspected to be trafficked to Taiwan

Police seized 300 kilograms of ketamine and 228 kilograms of heroin in a series of raids in Bangkok and Nonthaburi, a suburb just outside the city.

Police suspect the drugs were awaiting shipment to Taiwan. The Thai Narcotics Suppression Bureau teamed up with Taiwan’s Central Criminal Investigation Bureau for the operation.

Yesterday, police raided a warehouse in Nonthaburi, seizing 300 kilograms of ketamine. The bust led to another raid at a home in Bangkok’s Huai Khwang district where officers seized 228 kilograms of heroin. Police are still looking for the homeowner.

Last month police seized 12 tonnes of Ketamine in Chachoengsao, only later to find it was a cleaning and food additive.

Southern insurgency State of Emergency order extended another 3 months

With ongoing violence related to the religious separatist insurgency in the South, the State of Emergency in the South has been extended by the Cabinet for another 3 months.

While the ethnic and religious conflict dates back to 1948, the provinces of Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani, bordering Malaysia have been plagued with violence since the early 2000s with drug cartels, oil smuggling networks and even pirate raids.

In recent months, a number of rangers, police and locals in the South have been killed or injured from ambush shootings and roadside bombs. Over the past 20 years some 6,000 people have been killed as part of the insurgency violence in Thailand’s southern provinces.

Property developers eye Elite Card residence scheme, amid interest from nationals of China, Hong Kong, Germany

Around 20 development companies have shown interest in an Elite Visa scheme that offers residency to foreign investors.

Of those, Sansiri, Nusasiri, Four Seasons, and Raimon Land have confirmed they will join the program that offers 5 year residency to foreign nationals who invest at least 10 million baht in condos.

Thai media reports also indicate increasing interest in the scheme from nationals of China, Hong Kong, and Germany. The program, called the Elite Flexible One, offers residency of 5 years, extendable to 20 years, for 500,000 baht. There is a 2 year application period, running from January next year.

Earlier this month, Thailand Privilege Card, which sits under the Tourism Authority of Thailand and runs the Elite Visa program, confirmed it would increase the fee associated with its most popular offering, the Easy Access visa. From January, the price of this visa will increase by 20%, to 600,000 baht.

Cannabis no longer a Category 5 narcotic… except for the buds

Cannabis plants and extracts are no longer classified as a Category 5 narcotic in Thailand’s Narcotics Act.

But don’t spark up a joint just yet… cannabis buds containing high amounts of THC which causes the euphoric effects, are still illegal.

The leaves, stems, stalks and roots of cannabis as well as hemp have been removed from the narcotics list. (Basically, any part of the cannabis plant except for the THC-rich buds.) The de-listing was published in the Royal Gazette yesterday, making it official. Only those approved by the government can cultivate the plant.

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