Maj Gen Chachaval Vachirapaneegul, Deputy Commissioner of the Immigration Bureau’s crime suppression unit, told The Phuket News on Wednesday (May 18) that new form, titled “Foreign National Information Form” is mandatory.
The form asks for foreigners to provide details of their social media accounts, Facebook, Line and email addresses, details of vehicles owned by the foreigner completing the application, and bank account details, among other information, including places frequented by the foreigner.
The top and the bottom of the three-page form features the warning: “Providing false information to an officer, shall be punished under the Penal Code.”
The form applies to nearly every type of application a foreigner can submit to Immigration. The header itself states (verbatim): “This form shall be used for making record of information of every alien entering and staying in the Kingdom of Thailand and shall be submit with Notification of residences for Aliens (section 37, 38 of Immigration Act, BE, 2522), or 90-days notification, or Extension of Stays (all purposes), or Re-entry Permits, or in all cases involving alien labors.”
Gen Chachaval made plain his position on the use of the new form: “If a foreigner doesn’t want to fill in their information by themselves, they will be questioned for our records anyway. If they don’t fill in the form, we will suspect their reason.
However, he did not clarify whether a foreigner declining to provide all the information asked for would constitute basis for rejecting the foreigner’s application.
Gen Chachaval did confirm that providing details of social media accounts was optional, as stated on the form, but said that all other sections on the form were “required”.
“We will not force people to provide their social media details,” he said.
The form started being handed out at Phuket Immigration on Monday, one day after the order for Phuket Immigration Superintendent Col Sunchai Chokkajaykij to be transferred was published in the Royal Gazette. Col Sunchai declined to reveal to The Phuket News where he has been transferred to.
Col Kantawat Pongsatanbordee, Chief of Immigration Bureau’s Information Technology Center in Bangkok, last Sunday was named as the incoming Phuket Immigration Chief, with the Royal Gazette stipulating he was to formally take office on Thursday (May 19).
On Tuesday, Col Kantawat declined to comment to The Phuket News on any issues. “I am not ready to give any opinion yet,” he said.
The claim that the form is mandatory is an about-face for Gen Chachaval, who as recently as April 19 told the press in Bangkok that the form was not mandatory when questioned about its introduction at Immigration offices there. (See story here.)
He also said that the new form in use in Phuket was official, even though the copies collected by The Phuket News on Monday (May 16) were photocopied on the back of other photocopies and did not carry the standard TM number in the top right corner indicating it is an official form used by the Immigration Bureau.
The reverse side of the copies collected by The Phuket News specifically provided PorNgorDor 1 tax payment details of three persons involved in a restaurant in Phuket, including the persons’ names, the company name and tax number.
Gen Chachaval assured he would soon rectify the Phuket Immigration Office publicly revealing such information.
He also assured that the details of the “Foreign National Information Form” would remain secure. “We will keep all details provided on a secure server and they will only be shared with other law-enforcement agencies when needed,” he said.
That assurance came less than four weeks after a website-development “error” saw personal details, including the names, addresses, professions and passport numbers, of thousands of foreigners living in Southern Thailand posted online on March 27. (See story here.)
Gen Chachaval said the new information form was “necessary”.
“In the past, immigration lacked information about foreign nationals living in Thailand when problems happened. This updated information will help is catch foreigners faster,” he said.
“The information will be linked our data system and will not be revealed or given to others (sic). The information collected will be kept private, but will be used for national security purposes,” he said.