Connect with us

Phuket

Anything to declare? Airport officials asked to target bags of undisclosed cash

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

Anything to declare? Airport officials asked to target bags of undisclosed cash | Thaiger

PHUKET: Officers at Phuket International Airport have been asked to target people carrying large amounts of undisclosed cash in the ongoing battle to crack down on transnational crime.

The request comes from Glenn Tankard of the Australian Federal Police (AFP). Mr Tankard was in Phuket early this month in his role as head of the Thai Transnational Crime Coordination Network (TCCN) central office in Bangkok.

“Immigration at the airport should look out for suspicious people, such as those who do not declare that they are carrying US$10,000 or more,” said Mr Tankard.

“Excess, undeclared money is a standard indicator that someone is involved in money laundering, which only arises from other crimes… This is something very small that immigration can pick up that could paint a bigger picture of a possible criminal network.”

Catching people who are trying to smuggle in large amounts of undisclosed cash can expose international criminal networks, including drug smugglers, wildlife smugglers, human traffickers and arms dealers, Mr Tankard added.

The AFP officer explained that his recent four-day visit was to follow up on a joint Thai-Australian initiative targeting transnational crime, for which a meeting of Phuket’s top-ranking police officers was held in Phuket Town in August last year (story here).

“The joint project [TCCN] between the AFP and the Royal Thai Police has been going on for about eight years. The key is the computer database in which Thai police collect and analyze intelligence, especially data about transnational crimes across the borders of Thailand,” Mr Tankard said.

“I came down here [from Bangkok] just to talk to staff who work in the transnational crimes unit, to make sure there are no problems with hardware.

“The system was initially installed at Phuket Provincial Police Station in Phuket Town about six years ago and at Phuket International Airport at the end of last year, so staff at the airport might need more training.”

THE DATABASE

The database – called the Case Management and Intelligence System (CMIS) – links all TCCN units across the country, allowing them to share intelligence on transnational crime.

“There are about 30 TCCN units throughout Thailand,” Mr Tankard said.

Maj Gen Apichat Suriboonya, head of the National Central Bureau – Interpol Bangkok office, explained to the Gazette that the CMIS also allows officers to crosscheck information about every wanted criminal in the Interpol database, which compiles information from the international crime agency’s 190 member countries.

The system can also identify all passports reported to Interpol as lost or stolen.

“The CMIS is regularly updated with the latest reports from Interpol. All the information is uploaded to our central server in Bangkok, which all TCCN units across the the country can search,” Gen Apichart said.

“It can search passports in the system by name, telephone number or any relevant information about the person. It can also match a face to a name.”

ON THE LINE

The CMIS is the same database used to verify passports used as collateral to rent cars and motorbikes in Phuket, which rental operators in Patong now submit to Interpol via the smartphone application Line (story here).

However, Mr Tankard said that the Line project was outside his remit. “I am aware of the operation launched by Interpol to check information about lost and stolen passports from all provinces in Thailand, including Phuket, but I believe it is an operation being run solely through Interpol,” he said.

“All the information sent is collected in Bangkok. The information is put into the shared system so that we can find links between stolen passports and use them to identify individuals who might be involved in the lost and stolen passport trade.”

GOING LOCAL

Following the discovery that two passports stolen in Phuket were used to board missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, Gen Apichat told the Gazette that he would like to see the CMIS made available at Patong Police Station.

“Many tourists from around the world visit Phuket, and in particular Patong, and many passports are reported as lost or stolen in Patong. That was brought to the world’s attention with the passport that was used for two passengers to board the Malaysian Airlines flight,” he explained.

“Having the CMIS at Patong Police Station can help identify any passports reported as lost or stolen that are being used by other people [other than the genuine holders].”

However, Mr Tankard said he had not been notified of any request to assist in setting up a CMIS access terminal in Patong.

“I understand that having a CMIS in Patong would make it quicker and easier for officers there to check the system. Right now, they have to ask the TCCN at Phuket Provincial Police Station to check for them.

“We are always looking into installing the software at more locations in order to gather more information, including in Phuket and other tourist destinations. However, we have yet to decide when we will set up another transnational crime center in Phuket. We are looking into it.”

— Chutharat Plerin

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Phuket. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Phuket

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy

Maya Taylor

Published

on

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | Thaiger
PHOTO: Flickr / dronepicr

Expats living in Thailand are up in arms after Phuket officials confirmed that foreigners arriving on the island would have to pay for a rapid Covid-19 test that is free for Thais. The testing requirement is part of new restrictions now in force to combat the spread of the virus. However, it is not the cost of the test – 500 baht – that has angered so many expats, but the fact that officials see nothing wrong with charging people based on their nationality.

On Monday it was announced that EVERYONE arriving in Phuket would have to pay 300 baht if they needed the ‘rapid covid test’. But that was amended the next day. Now we have the latest example of 2-tier pricing in Thailand (below).

The news was shared by travel blogger Richard Barrow on his Facebook page and has so far generated over 430 comments (and still growing), most of them furious…

“Unbelievable. I know Thailand is xenophobic, but for the authorities to do that is an absolute disgrace. They can piss off. I’ll take my business elsewhere in future.”

“I pay Thai taxes, I have for 16 years! am happy to bring my money elsewhere then!”

“Phuketians: “Tourists please come back.” Also Phuketians: “500b khap.”

It was not just foreigners commenting however, with at least one Thai person condemning the policy…

“I feel so so ashamed of how my country (or its government) so desperately wants more money to continue their corruption. Any possible ways they can rip you off – they will do shamelessly.”

Effective yesterday, anyone flying in to Phuket from elsewhere in the country must take a rapid Covid-19 test, unless they have taken a negative PCR test within the last 72 hours or can prove they’ve received both doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. With less than 1% of the country vaccinated – almost none of them foreigners – the second requirement is unlikely to be met by many.

Foreigners who have to take the rapid test, regardless of whether they are tax-paying work permit holders or retirees contributing to the economy, long-term residents or married to a Thai, will have to pay 500 baht. For Thais, it is free. The focus of expat anger is not the cost, but the principle, which is being roundly condemned as xenophobic.

Foreigners employed in the Kingdom in particular, are angered, given that they have been paying tax for years and have social security coverage. In response, Phuket health officials have issued an “explanation” – that manages to explain very little.

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | News by Thaiger

Meanwhile, while the new restrictions apply to everyone arriving by air, for those arriving by road, only people coming from the high-risk “red” provinces need to meet the entry requirements.

And, just as a footnote, if your rapid covid test conducted by airport officials happens to come back positive you will be whisked away to a Phuket field hospital for a 14 day stay.

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | News by ThaigerSOURCE: TPN

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Thailand’s covid vaccine passport – will it only be used for travel?

Tim Newton

Published

on

Thailand’s covid vaccine passport – will it only be used for travel? | Thaiger

Hi. Im Tim Newton. Just upfront saying that these are my personal opinions and don’t necessarily reflect that of The Thaiger.

So today the Thai Government now has officially announced vaccine passports. The documents are going to be the next big thing in the long and winding Covid road. Firstly, before some comments, the details that we actually know.

This Covid passport legislation has now been announced in the Royal Gazette, so it’s not being considered, it’s actually law. According to media info, the vaccine passport will be an official document which can be used by vaccinated people travelling abroad.

I fear this Covid passport will end up as just another victim of the unintended consequences. The benefits, mostly intended for international travellers, will be used as another way of whittling away our remaining privacies and adding another layer of little annoyances to life and work in the Land of Smiles.

Look at the vaccine roll out in Thailand. Usually a business should try and under-promise and then over deliver. In this case the Thai government have done the exact opposite. Timelines for vaccination are not being met and the ordering of vaccines appears chaotic and, at best, just slow in getting to the startline.

The PM has rushed to assure the citizenry that the delays have been caused by an abundance of caution. And unfortunately the 2 horses they’ve backed in the vaccination race are having a few bad PR days and neither may be a long term solution to the latest variants of Covid-19 spreading around Thailand. But I’ll let the scientists sort that out… certainly not the legion of instant vaccine experts that have now infected the internet.

I’m all for trying to get the country open again, as soon as practicable, and safe to do so. But I’m starting to think the best course of action is to lock my gate and resort to an online worklife and Food Panda… the mad foreign guy locked up in his house with his 3 cats.

Here in Phuket we now have an arrival regime that demands either proof of vaccine, a negative Covid test, or a 300 baht rapid Covid test at the airport. The chances of me subjecting myself to an airport officials sticking a swap up my admittedly large nose in the vague hope it will probably come back negative, is zero. Again, on a daily basis we get emails from foreigners who say they’ve been whisked away to hospitals, and more recently field hospitals, with no recourse or means of appeal, or even the chance to get a second test.

Here’s one from this morning…

I can’t call the embassy as I don’t have a SIM card, I also have been told to order outside food as they won’t feed me. They won’t provide me with my test results and told me that I’d need to stay 14 days here in quarantine, but the doctor I talked with yesterday said 5 more days. I’m so confused as to what to do next.

Now, stripping all this back to basics, I’ll concede that we’re all in this mess together at the moment, and that we may have to forego a few personal freedoms for the greater good. I have no issue wearing a mask in public. I have no worries leaving my phone number at the door when entering premises. I will do my best to stay socially distant when in public.

But all these restrictions are easy to ramp up and much harder to wind back. And, at a deeper level, our trust in institutions, governments, and medical officials is being eroded. And that’s not good as we stumble forward in trying to get the world open again.

Will I get a vaccine passport? Probably. And I’ll also expect to have to carry it everywhere I go as it’s used as just another reminder that I’m just a guest in this country and I better just get used to it.

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Phuket requires Covid-19 vaccination or 72-hour test

Avatar

Published

on

Phuket requires Covid-19 vaccination or 72-hour test | Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Checkpoints in Phuket will only allow Covid-19 tested or vaccinated travellers in.

To help wrangle the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak in Phuket, strict controls for everyone entering the island go into effect today until the end of April. The provincial communicable disease committee approved the measures in an effort to stop the proliferation of Covid-19 in the province.

The new regulations state that only people who have received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine or have tested to be Coronavirus-free within 3 days of arrival, will be allowed to enter Phuket. Proper certification or documentation must be presented to verify this information – either a Covid-19 vaccination certificate or the results of a recent negative Covid-19 test.

Anyone attempting to enter Phuket without the full vaccine doses, or a negative Covid-19 test within the last 72 hours, will be charged 500 baht for a rapid antigen test at their port of entry. For Thais, the cost is free. The 2-tier price policy has been slammed by expats and other foreigners in the country. Read HERE.

These tests generate results in about 15 minutes and then negative-tested visitors will be allowed to proceed. If a person receives the test and is diagnosed positive for Covid-19 they will be sent to medical facilities immediately for treatment.

All entrants to Phuket are also required to use the Mor Chana Covid-19 contact tracing app to check in and record their travel timelines. That mobile app is available at gophuget.com.

The new restrictions apply to local and foreign travellers except for people making deliveries that are not staying overnight. Those people will get a special certification from their companies to present at the checkpoint entrance to the island.

Phuket is now classified as a Red Zone province, one of 19 provinces throughout Thailand where infections are on the rise. 208 current Covid-19 infections were registered at the start of this week in Phuket.

In response to the increasing Covid-19 infections in Phuket, Surat Thani has made special restrictions for anyone travelling from Phuket to Surat Thani. Those people will be required to scan and register their trip through the “Save Surat” website before being quarantined for 14 days.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

Continue Reading
CCSA Update: 1,458 new Covid-19 cases, provincial totals | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 days ago

CCSA Update: 1,458 new Covid-19 cases, provincial totals

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy | Thaiger
Phuket14 hours ago

Expats condemn Phuket’s “xenophobic” rapid-test payment policy

Police inspect Pattaya restaurants for compliance with alcohol sales ban | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)19 hours ago

Police inspect Pattaya restaurants for compliance with alcohol sales ban

Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 days ago

Phuket begs Kolour attendees to come for Covid-19 testing

Phuket requires Covid paperwork to enter from red zone provinces from Wednesday (April 21) | Thaiger
Thailand3 days ago

Phuket requires Covid paperwork to enter from red zone provinces from Wednesday (April 21)

7 people develop adverse side-effects after receiving Chinese vaccine | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 days ago

7 people develop adverse side-effects after receiving Chinese vaccine

Alcohol sales may be banned in restaurants, but no lockdown for now | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 days ago

Alcohol sales may be banned in restaurants, but no lockdown for now

Officials investigating woman’s alleged attempt to sell national parkland for 350 million baht | Thaiger
Eastern Thailand7 days ago

Officials investigating woman’s alleged attempt to sell national parkland for 350 million baht

Burmese prisoners granted amnesty on first day of Myanmar’s New Year | Thaiger
Crime5 days ago

Burmese prisoners granted amnesty on first day of Myanmar’s New Year

New restrictions for domestic flights effective along with other nationwide restrictions today | Thaiger
Transport5 days ago

New restrictions for domestic flights effective along with other nationwide restrictions today

Teen crashes motorbike into parked car while looking at phone | Thaiger
Thailand4 days ago

Teen crashes motorbike into parked car while looking at phone

Thailand’s covid vaccine passport – will it only be used for travel? | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)22 hours ago

Thailand’s covid vaccine passport – will it only be used for travel?

Bangkok is now a red zone. Government gives people today to get back from Songkran break. | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 days ago

Bangkok is now a red zone. Government gives people today to get back from Songkran break.

Thai Health Ministry predicts 5 likely Covid outcomes post-Songkran, warns of risks posed by partying | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 days ago

Thai Health Ministry predicts 5 likely Covid outcomes post-Songkran, warns of risks posed by partying

Thailand aims to secure 5-10 million Pfizer vaccines | Thaiger
Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 days ago

Thailand aims to secure 5-10 million Pfizer vaccines

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4 | Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism2 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2 | Thaiger
Phuket2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism2 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23 | Thaiger
Thailand2 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO | Thaiger
Tourism2 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8 | Thaiger
Thailand3 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Follow Thaiger by email:

Trending