Phuket Airport Immigration denies “express lane’ corruption

PHUKET: Royal Thai Navy officers today called into question alleged corrupt practices by immigration officials at Phuket International Airport, such as soliciting cash payments from tourists.

“We have heard that many immigration counters are not open when tourists arrive on international flights, so officers are supposedly soliciting money from them to use a ‘VIP’ lane to avoid the long queues,” said Capt Somphong Narkthong of the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command.

“A total of 19 counters are supposed to be open during international arrivals to support incoming tourists. From now on, every time a counter is closed during this time, immigration will have to explain the reason to Army officers.”

Airport Immigration Superintendent Watcharapol Kanjanakuntorn confirmed that immigration will comply with all orders from the Army, but denied that any officers solicited payments from tourists.

“I have never heard of officers collecting money from tourists. However, if anyone is asked to pay money to use a faster lane, please report it to me directly,” Lt Col Watcharapol said.

Col Watcharapol told the national media, including television reporters, “In the past, we have had problems with our computer systems and a lack of staff on hand. But right now we are fully prepared to serve all incoming tourists.”

— Saran Mitrarat

Phuket News

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

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