Thai immigration are stepping up their efforts to fully scrutinise passports of incoming foreigners in order to better manage the threats posed by the global terrorist and criminal environment.
Specialist teams composed of professionals from both the public and private sectors will be based at international airports around the country, scrutinising passports in a bid to stop terrorists and criminals entering the Kingdom, reports the Bangkok Post.
The teams will be comprised of workers from the local police, Special Branch, Office of the Narcotics Control Board, airline and bank employees.
Pol Lt Gen Natthon Phrosunthon, chief of the Immigration Bureau, said the teams’ main focus was on tracking down fake passports.
Training took place yesterday by a team of specialists from Australia and Canada.
A Thai Immigration 24/7 Centre has also been set up which will screen foreigners as they enter the country to see whether they are on any international blacklists. Integrated IT facilities will allow the Centre to search domestic and international databases, including Interpol, to allow for the identification of transnational criminals.
In another move to beef up security and reduce congestion at airports and border crossings, Immigration are also doubling the Visa on Arrival fee to ฿2,000, according to Stickboy Bangkok.
Spokesman Maj Gen Sansern Keawkamnerd hopes that the increased fee will encourage tourists to apply for visas in advance of their arrival into Thailand, at their own embassies and consulates. This should enhance security as more rigorous checks can be undertaken this way, prior to foreigners even entering the country.
Visas On Arrival are granted to passport holders from 19 countries, allowing them to enter Thailand for 15 days as long as they fulfil conditions regarding proof of funds and a confirmed return ticket. They should not be confused with the Visa-Exempt.
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