Connect with us

Phuket

Phuket visa runners caught in “cash only’ immigration scare

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

Phuket visa runners caught in “cash only’ immigration scare | The Thaiger
  • follow us in feedly

PHUKET: A van full of foreigners returning to Phuket from a visa run to Penang were delayed at the Malaysian border for more than two and a half hours today as Thai immigration officers demanded that they all present large amounts of cash to confirm that they each had enough money to fund their stay in Thailand.

Any foreigners who could not produce the required cash were told that they would not be allowed to enter Thailand and would have to remain on the Malaysian side of the border, the Phuket Gazette was told over the phone by one of the visa runners.

The call was made while the foreigners were standing in the Sadao Immigration Office on the Malaysian border in Songkhla.

Foreigners entering Thailand on a visa-on-arrival stamp issued by immigration officials at the border were required to show 10,000 baht cash, while people entering on a tourist visa issued at the Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate were required to show 20,000 baht cash.

One school teacher on the visa run had to show 40,000 baht cash, as she was entering the country on a non-immigrant B (Business) visa issued at the Royal Thai Consulate in Penang.

“I showed the officers an ATM slip that proved I had the money in a Thai bank account, but the officers would not accept it as proof [of funds],” Phuket expat Steven (last name withheld) told the Gazette.

Steven also showed them the birth certificate for his three-month-old Thai daughter.

“They did not accept that,” he said.

Additionally, he showed officers his name entered on his landlord’s official Thai house registration document (tabien baan) confirming him as a long-term tenant.

“That was no good either,” he added.

Officers started manually recording the serial numbers of all banknotes presented so that they could not be passed to other visa runners to use as evidence of funds, another Phuket expat told the Gazette.

“The officers explained that it was an old rule now being enforced at all checkpoints,” said Steven.

That explanation concurred with the crackdown ordered by former Immigration Commissioner Pharnu Kerdlarpphon in May, which targeted foreigners using visa-on-arrival border runs as a way of staying in Thailand to work illegally (story here).

However, the “cash only” requirement did not.

By this afternoon, however, Sadao Immigration Deputy Superintendent Banphot Kittivira told the Gazette that cash was not the only way for foreign arrivals to provide evidence of funds.

“I don’t know what happened with those foreigners, but we had a meeting of all officers today to make sure that everyone understood that cash is not the sole way to meet the requirement,” said Lt Col Banphot.

Balance slips printed by any of the ATMs at the checkpoint are accepted, but bankbooks are not, he added.

Foreigners conducting the visa run confirmed to the Gazette that after 1pm, all of them were suddenly cleared by immigration – many by presenting only access to funds, not by showing cash.

Col Banphot reiterated that his officers were only enforcing the crackdown on foreigners using visa-exemptions and tourist visas to stay in Thailand and work.

“Foreigners working illegally in Thailand on tourist visas must be stopped,” he said.

Col Banphot explained that, in accordance with the long-standing law, foreigners entering Thailand must be able to prove to immigration officials that they have access to the required funds as follows:

• People entering on a tourist visa exemption or visa-on-arrival must show they have access to at least 10,000 baht per person or 20,000 per family.

• People entering on a tourist visa or non-immigrant visa issued at a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate must show they have access to at least 20,000 baht per person or 40,000 baht per family.

Col Banphot noted that the money requirements did not apply to children under 12 years old, but that all foreigners were required to show immigration officers a return flight or confirmed bus ticket exiting the country when asked.

If cash is presented, officers will manually record the serial numbers so that they cannot be used by other visa runners on the trip, Col Banphot confirmed.

“We welcome all people to live and work in Thailand, but please apply for the right visa to do so legally,” Col Banphot said.

The van driver caught in today’s “misunderstanding”, who asked to be named only as “Mr Gee”, said that he had no idea that immigration officers would be demanding that foreigners present cash.

“Normally the border crossing takes 45 minutes for 10 people to clear immigration, but today it took from 10:30am to past 1pm,” said Mr Gee, who works for Phuket’s well-known Thai Visa Run Company (TVR).

“We knew about the rule, it is nothing new, and we knew that they recently started enforcing it, but we had no idea that the officers were going to ask foreigners to present cash.”

Regardless, Mr Gee said he was glad the problem was resolved.

“At least foreigners will not have to carry large sums of money in cash with them on a visa run,” he said.

“Our office has been informed of what happened today, and we will make sure all our customers know they need to be able to prove they have the correct amount of funds for their stay before they join the visa run.”

Meanwhile, Ranong Immigration Superintendent Aekkorn Butsababodin confirmed to the Gazette that his officers will also not be demanding that foreigners present cash.

“All we require is that the foreigners prove they are genuine tourists,” said Col Aekkorn.

“As long as they can show their travel itinerary or means of financial support during their stay, they will be allowed through.”

— Chutharat Plerin

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.
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.

Thailand

Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket

Caitlin Ashworth

Published

on

Thai Airways to resume flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Phuket | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Airways

After nearly 9 months on the ground due to the coronavirus pandemic, along with problems balancing their accounts, Thai Airways will resume flights between Bangkok and Chiang Mai as well as Bangkok and Phuket later this month. The flights will start back up on Christmas day.

Flights from Bangkok to the 2 key tourist provinces have been grounded since April 1. Starting December 25, the airline will run 3 flights a week on both routes. A source told the Bangkok Post that the new schedules will run until at least February 28.

Thai Lion Air, Thai Air Asia, Nok Air, Thai Smile, VietJet Air and Bangkok Airways have returned to the domestic skies since July and slowly adding frequency to their routes.

In addition to resuming the domestic flights, the Thai Airways is relaunching some international flights from January 1 to March 27 including weekly flights to Frankfurt, London, Copenhagen, Sydney, Seoul, Manila, Taipei and Osaka. Flights from Bangkok to Tokyo will be available 3 times a week and flights from Bangkok to Hong Kong will be available every day.

Thai Airways has been tackling bankruptcy throughout the lockdown and trying to make up for more than 300 billion baht in losses. Since many flights were suspended due to travel restrictions, Thai Airways has tried to make money by business ventures on the ground, like a pop-up restaurant serving in-flight meals and selling off unwanted equipment from their warehouse. There also disposing of much of their older fleet, including all of their Boring 747-400s.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

Catch up with the latest daily “Thailand News Today” here on The Thaiger.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.
Continue Reading

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

97 police officers investigated for fiddling Covid-19 payments

Maya Taylor

Published

on

97 police officers investigated for fiddling Covid-19 payments | The Thaiger
PHOTO: www.newsbeezer.com

97 police officers, from 41 police stations, are currently being investigated for an alleged scam involving Covid-19 payments meant for officers who worked extra shifts during the crisis. The case was assigned by national police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk in November, when it came to light that some officers may have fraudulently claimed allowances meant for others.

In one incident, an officer responsible for transferring extra payments to police on the southern island of Phuket transferred the money to his own accountant instead. At the time, the transfer was dismissed as a mistake (in his favour), with the officer in question receiving a warning, and payments then made to the qualifying officers.

Wissanu Prasatthong-Osot from the National Internal Affairs Police says the investigation should reach a conclusion within the next 10 days.

“The result of the investigation should be ready in 10 days. Currently, 97 officers in 41 police stations ranging from non-commissioned to generals are under investigation for being involved in the swindle. The bureau aims to provide justice to all policemen involved. After the investigation concludes, the victims will receive their full allowance, while the offending officers will be punished under the law and disciplinary standards.”

Nation Thailand reports that a full list of alleged offenders has been sent to Suwat, with Wissanu promising that none will escape prosecution.

“The National Police chief had also ordered the transfer of offending officers at the commander and sub-commander levels out of their areas as per the investigation procedures.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.
Continue Reading

Tourism

Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route

Caitlin Ashworth

Published

on

Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce to propose Guangzhou-Phuket tourism route | The Thaiger
PHOTO: 77 kaoded

A tourism route from Guangzhou, China to Phuket could help the island province recover from the recession brought on by the pandemic and lack of foreign travel, according to the Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. The president of the organisation, Narongsak Puttapornmongkol, says they plan to submit a letter proposing the route under a travel bubble scheme to the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The Thai-Chinese Chamber of Commerce is proposing a travel bubble with around 20 cities in China with no recent coronavirus infections and considered to be at a low risk of spreading the virus. Travellers from Guangzhou recently entered Thailand on the new Special Tourist Visa. It was the second flight of international tourists since travel restrictions were imposed in late-March.

“We believe that the Travel Bubble and the quarantine reduction will resolve the tourism business, which is a huge economic opportunity to recover.”

Once a vaccine is widely available, Narongsak suggests that those who wish to Thailand could also present their vaccination certificate or examination reports from the place of origin. He adds that the mandatory state quarantine period is likely to be reduced.

SOURCE: Pattaya News

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.
Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.
Continue Reading
Thailand News Today | Thai Airways corruption, Southern floods, Border Covid outbreak | Dec 3 | The Thaiger
Thailand20 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways corruption, Southern floods, Border Covid outbreak | Dec 3

Thailand News Today | Prayut acquitted, Chinese probe, Speed limit 120 kph | December 2 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 days ago

Thailand News Today | Prayut acquitted, Chinese probe, Speed limit 120 kph | December 2

Thailand News Today | No ‘tourism’ until Q2, Tiger smuggling, Win drivers jailed | Dec 1 | The Thaiger
Thailand3 days ago

Thailand News Today | No ‘tourism’ until Q2, Tiger smuggling, Win drivers jailed | Dec 1

Thailand News Today | Digital Travel Pass, Chiang Mai outbreak, Alcohol ban | November 30 | The Thaiger
Thailand4 days ago

Thailand News Today | Digital Travel Pass, Chiang Mai outbreak, Alcohol ban | November 30

Thailand News Today | Army deny Twitter spin, “Don’t Reopen”, English proficiency low | Nov 27 | The Thaiger
Thailand7 days ago

Thailand News Today | Army deny Twitter spin, “Don’t Reopen”, English proficiency low | Nov 27

Thailand News Today | Shots fired, the yellow ducks, “no coup” promise | November 26 | The Thaiger
Thailand1 week ago

Thailand News Today | Shots fired, the yellow ducks, “no coup” promise | November 26

Thailand News Today | No vaccine, no flight, protest latest, smoking ban | November 25 | The Thaiger
Thailand1 week ago

Thailand News Today | No vaccine, no flight, protest latest, smoking ban | November 25

Thailand News Today | Holiday road toll, protests tomorrow, GDP recovery | November 24 | The Thaiger
Thailand1 week ago

Thailand News Today | Holiday road toll, protests tomorrow, GDP recovery | November 24

Thailand News Today | Dinosaurs in BKK, BOT tackles Baht, Special K isn’t special | November 23 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Dinosaurs in BKK, BOT tackles Baht, Special K isn’t special | November 23

Thailand News Today | Bangkok exodus, Pattaya air pollution, Vaccine next month? | November 20 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok exodus, Pattaya air pollution, Vaccine next month? | November 20

Thailand News Today | Protests to escalate, Domestic violence, Tourist visa exemptions? | Nov 19 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Protests to escalate, Domestic violence, Tourist visa exemptions? | Nov 19

Thailand News Today | Emergency Decree, Protesters shot, Baht boost temporary | Nov 18 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Emergency Decree, Protesters shot, Baht boost temporary | Nov 18

Thailand News Today | Protesters v Police, Quarantine reduction, VietJet passenger arrest | Nov 17 | The Thaiger
Thailand2 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Protesters v Police, Quarantine reduction, VietJet passenger arrest | Nov 17

Thailand News Today | The RCEP reset, Hotel Talkfest, Protesters to be arrested | November 16 | The Thaiger
Thailand3 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | The RCEP reset, Hotel Talkfest, Protesters to be arrested | November 16

Thailand News Today | Coconut Business, Weekend protests, Pork dressed as Beef | November 13 | The Thaiger
Thailand3 weeks ago

Thailand News Today | Coconut Business, Weekend protests, Pork dressed as Beef | November 13

Follow The Thaiger by email:

Trending