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Phuket Airport Immigration chief ‘thankful’ for No Tips order

PHUKET: The chief of the immigration officers stationed at Phuket International Airport told The Phuket News today (Oct 8) that he is ‘thankful’ for new Immigration boss Maj Gen Surachate Hakparn ordering his officers to no longer accept cash ‘tips’ from tourists arriving in the country.

immigrationcorruptiontourism
By Tanyaluk Sakoot

Monday 8 October 2018, 05:51PM


Gen Surachate gave the order last Thursday, just four days after taking up the position of Commissioner of the Immigration Bureau last Monday (Oct 1). His appointment as Immigration chief followed his high-profile performance as the Deputy Commander of the national Tourist Police.

In taking up his new position, Gen Surachate last Monday vowed to take action on the issue of officials allegedly extorting tour operators, promising the public to tighten the regulations “to prevent the issue from damaging the image of Thailand”.

He said banners will be erected to inform tourists that there are no extra charges for immigration processing. In addition, an investigation into the matter will be launched to find the culprits. Violators will be prosecuted and are likely to face embezzlement charges, he said. (See story here.)

Last Thursday, Gen Surachate made good on his promise with signs being posted at Survanbhumi International Airport clearly labelled ‘No Tips Please’ in Chinese and English.

The next day (Friday, Oct 5), two senior immigration officers had been transferred pending an investigation into visa brokers bribing the officers in order to obtain illegally issued visas by using falsified documents. (See story here.)

And by Saturday the Royal Thai Police Immigration Bureau posted on its official Facebook page the warning: “Please be announced that Please No Tip to the Immigration . (Tip = Bribe ) If you see any immigration officer do anything like that please let us know or inbox us immediately.”

The number given to report any such extortion – or bribes – was the Immigration hotline 1178. (See post here.)

Gen Surachate also posted on his own Facebook page yesterday his clear understanding that ‘tips’ were ‘bribes’ or cash being extorted by officials from tourists, and that officers at Don Muang international Airport were under investigation for money received from Chinese tourists. (See post here.)

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Phuket Airport Immigration Chief Pol Col Supachok Yongstar this afternoon confirmed to The Phuket News that the signs had now been posted at Phuket Airport – in Hindi, Chinese and English.

“Finally our commander has insisted this. There is no ‘fast track service’ anymore,” Col Supachok said today.

“We have responded immediately by setting up the ‘No Tips’ signs. Everything is going well right now,” Col Supachok said.

“I think the fault is not only Immigration Police, but there is the tourist side. They must not ‘give in order to receive’ at all. I am glad that’s so clear for everyone about ‘tips’ for fast track,” he added.

“Taking extra money for fast track service has ended. It is in the past already. The past is gone. There is no need to talk about it again,” Col Supachok said.

Meanwhile, in response to a complaint that The Phuket News was already investigating involving a Ukrainian tourist who said she was forced to pay an extra B400 to be issued a visa on arrival as ‘a processing fee’ at Phuket Airport, Col Supachok today denied his officers were acting inappropriately.

“Let’s start for the future, as Maj Gen Surachate has finished this already. There is no longer a fee for fast-track service,” he said.

While The Phuket News was investigating the complaint by the Ukrainian tourist, Ministry of Tourism & Sports officials stationed at the Tourist Assistance Centre (TAC) at the airport confirmed that such complaints were not uncommon – and were referred to the appropriate superior officers.

 

 

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DeKaaskopp | 11 October 2018 - 14:44:48

@Pas,you know,relocating with a couple of mules costs a lot of money.Someone would have to ask for a crowdfunding again,as unsuccessful   done some years ago!

Pascale | 10 October 2018 - 17:00:08

Mrs.S,if you feel so disgusted , why are you still here?  "Big Joke" please take notice.

Christy Sweet | 10 October 2018 - 14:05:32

The root of this problem is unsustainable salaries. And the root of that problem is tax avoidance.  IMO,  the root of that problem is greed, selfishness and a disregard for any civic duty beyond wearing the correct clothes on the correct days. 

Christy Sweet | 10 October 2018 - 12:57:40

Why wouldn't the signs be in Russian, too? Oh..  never mind.

Christy Sweet | 10 October 2018 - 12:56:01

Both Pattaya and Phuket Immigration offices  are charging for Residential Certificates, which should be free.  Asking for a receipt gets your application handed back with a surly look. Try to report it to the  hotline and you'll be given a phone number  that never answers.  I  have not iota of respect  for this nation- it disgusts me.

MartinK | 10 October 2018 - 05:46:46

Yep the inefficiency and corrupt practices of airport immigration are the tourists fault thanks Col Supachok. I follow his logic if there were not so many of them they would have fewer problems and temptations.  A few hours in line after a long flight will fix that.

Kurt | 09 October 2018 - 17:10:57

" Everything is going right/well now", the immigration Colonel of Phuket airport said. Meaning, before it was with his knowledge not going well/correct. Why this colonel, who damaged the image of Thailand in the eyes of arriving tourists, is not dismissed/transferred to a non damaging postion and be ordered not to talk with press to contain further damage of Immigration police status.

Timothy | 09 October 2018 - 08:30:21

I'm sure they are really happy about not getting the tips. Now we can expect some huge queues, hours to clear immigration. More officers playing with their phones instead of doing their job....Personally, I loved the fast track. Don't know how he could blame the tourists. Your choice is stand in line for an hour, after a 25 hour trip, or follow the guys in black to the fast lane. Done.  

Kurt | 09 October 2018 - 07:10:18

Was it to difficult for the Phuket Airport Immigration police COLONEL to order/implement himself a 'no tip' policy? ( tip = bribe). Disgusting to read: "The fault  ( taking bribes) is not only Immigration Police".  No? The spiral thinking/down playing of such a high ranking government servant to clean this corruption plate is astonishing.  Where did the tips (bribes) go to all th...

Discover Thainess | 08 October 2018 - 20:39:57

I have heard some nonsense announcements here in phuket but that is by far and away the best !! :-) 

Nasa12 | 08 October 2018 - 18:48:47

Hope the coming a sign with NO TIP = corruption, inside Phuket Town and Patong immigration as well. 

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