The Thai Customs Department will by year end complete installation of 23 x-ray machines above the baggage carousels at Suvarnabhumi Airport in a move to implement further checks of the luggage of inbound passengers. The machines will be switched
on early next year.
The Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce of Thailand (JFCCT) represents the foreign business community in Thailand. It has broken its silence on a decision by the country's Immigration Bureau to fully apply an onerous immigration law that dates
back to 1979.
For months, foreigners working and residing in Thailand have been venting about dramatically increased immigration reporting requirements under a regulation known as TM30. But it was not until late last week that the JFCCT issued a statement on
the urgent need for a rethink. The umbrella body also sent a letter of concerns and recommendations to Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda.
Ease of doing business is a hallmark of any nation's attractiveness for trade, investment and tourism, said Stanley Kang, the JFCCT's Taiwanese chairman. TM30 is undoing those good achievements. Our neighbors do not have this continuous tracking
The chairman of the JFCCT, which comprises 33 chambers with 9,000 member companies, questioned the Immigration Bureau's rationale that the more stringent reporting requirements will be effective in combating crime and terrorism. This particular
form does not seem to be the best way to do this as it relies on self-disclosure, Kang said.
Kang noted that those with business visas and work permits already disclose their places of residence and work. They are also still required to reconfirm their residential address every 90 days at an immigration office using another reporting
form, the TM47.
TM30 has now attracted attention at the highest levels, Eric Brand, chair of the JFCCT tourism committee, told Nikkei. We are confident that TM30 will be abandoned soon.
Thailand's expat community is reeling after the news of Thai public hospitals given the green light to charge higher rates for foreigners than the locals.
The new split rates kick in from September 29. The unpopular Thai policy of dual pricing will now cover public hospital care. Public hospitals in Thailand will now be able to legally charge foreign nationals higher rates for services under new
regulations published last week.
There will now be four tiers of rates that can be charged for services based on the patient's immigration status in ascending order of price:
foreigners from neighbouring countries
working foreigners on non-immigrant visas
tourists & retirees.
For example, an HIV test costs 160 baht if you're Thai. It goes up to 240 baht for working expats and then to 320 baht for retirees and tourists. Or, a spinal MRI examination will cost Thais 18,700 baht. That jumps to 23,375 baht for working
expats and 28,050 baht for retirees and tourists.
But the costs, allowing greater charges for working foreigners and tourists, will still be a lot less than the charges at most Thai private hospitals.
Thailand's Ministry of a Digital Economy and Society plans to open a 'Fake News' Center by November 1st at the latest. The minister has said that the centre will focus on four categories of internet censorship.
Digital Minister Puttipong Punnakanta, said that the coordinating committee of the Fake News Center has set up four subcommittees to screen the various categories of news which might 'disrupt public peace and national security':
natural disasters such as flooding, earthquakes, dam breaks and tsunamis;
economics, the financial and banking sector;
health products, hazardous items and illegal goods,
and of course, government policies.
The Fake News Center will analyse, verify and clarify news items and distribute its findings via its own website, Facebook and Line (a Whatsapp like messaging service that is the dominant in much of Asia).
The committee meeting considered protocols to be used and plans to consult with representatives of major social media platforms and all cellphone service providers. It will encourage them to take part in the delivery of countermeasures to expose
Thailand's Cold War immigration tactics unnerve long-term foreigners
Draconian 24-hour reporting requirement inhibits freedom of movement
Thailand's Immigration Bureau is sending a chill through the foreign business community, long-term expatriates, students and retirees following the full application in recent months of an onerous immigration law dating from 1979.
According to section 38 of the 1979 immigration act, house owners, heads of household, landlords or managers of hotels who accommodate foreign nationals on a temporary basis who stay in the kingdom legally, must notify the local immigration
authorities within 24 hours from the time of arrival of the foreign national, Thailand's immigration authorities recently advised.
Critics view the requirement as a Cold War relic dredged up from a bureaucratic silo, and compare it to some of the regulations in force in neighboring Myanmar (formerly Burma) that curtailed the movements of foreigners for decades after Gen. Ne
Win seized power in 1962.
Thailand has long been an attractive destination for Western expats - where money goes further and can buy a good quality of life. But the revival of an arcane immigration law has angered the expat community and got them questioning their
freedoms in Thailand, as George Styllis reports from Bangkok.
I've been made to feel as if I'm not welcome here , says Zareeka Gardner, a 25-year-old English teacher from the US. Since arriving in Thailand in April, she has racked up immigration fines totalling 12,400 baht (£330). A large part of
that is because her apartment manager failed to promptly file a form saying where she was staying.
Thailand's Immigration Act contains a clause requiring all foreigners to let the authorities know where they're staying at all times.
Previously this job has been done by hotels collecting guests' details, or it was just ignored. But as of March, the government has been applying the law without compromise or exception.
Landlords must notify immigration authorities whenever a foreigner returns home after spending more than 24 hours away from their permanent residence - be it a trip abroad or even leaving the province. The same applies to foreigners married to
Thais - their Thai spouse, if they own the house, must file the report.
The form, known as a TM30, must be submitted within 24 hours of the foreigner's arrival or the property owner will be fined. If the fine isn't paid, the foreigner will be unable to renew their visa or other permits until that's rectified.
Long-term foreign residents of the kingdom have spent the weekend scratching their heads in bewilderment over the baffling requirements of the now notorious TM30 form after a recent forum at the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand (FCCT)
with senior Thai immigration officials present on the panel.
On Thursday evening at the FCCT, foreign expats and guest speakers alike expressed concerns about the lack of clarity and consistency in the application of the TM30 regulation, and the officials said they would do their best to forward the
complaints and queries to Immigration Bureau