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Ringgit tea money stopped at Sadao immigration booths

SONGKHLA: The immigration police chief has ordered an end to accepting ringgit tea money at the Sadao border crossing, ending a 20-year tradition on arrival from Malaysia.


Bangkok Post

Wednesday 12 July 2017, 09:09AM


Immigration police commissioner Natthathorn Prohsunthorn (centre) announces his policy at the Sadao border crossing in Songkhla province on yesterday (July 11). Photo: Suwit Kaewhorthong
Immigration police commissioner Natthathorn Prohsunthorn (centre) announces his policy at the Sadao border crossing in Songkhla province on yesterday (July 11). Photo: Suwit Kaewhorthong

Six immigration officers were transferred from the main southern border checkpoint pending investigation.

Immigration police commissioner Natthathorn Prohsunthorn arrived at the border crossing yesterday (July 11) following reports that visitors from Malaysia had to insert two ringgit, about B16, in their passports before presenting the documents to immigration officers for stamps.

He told subordinates not to take the tea money and vowed to punish those who defied his order.

He said the payment was valid if visitors arrived outside official work hours, between 6am and 9am and between 6pm and 11pm. The Interior Ministry set the rate to pay for the overtime of officers during such hours.

The extra payment rule remained unless the ministry changed it, he said. However, some officers demanded the payment even during official work hours.

Big signs were already erected at the checkpoint: “No fee is charged when passing this border during office hours”.

Six immigration officers were transferred from the Sadao border crossing to the Immigration Bureau 6 of Songkhla pending investigation into the tea money issue. Some officers sought the transfer themselves.

According to sources, tea money inserted in the passports of Thai and Malaysian people entering Thailand from Malaysia through Sadao was a normal practice for about two decades. It became a tradition among frequent travellers including Thai people working in Malaysia. The rate for a one-month visa stamp stood at 10 ringgits or about B79. As at least 5,000 people entered Sadao each day, the tea money amounted to B80,000-B100,000 daily.

Read original story here.

 

 

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Christy Sweet | 12 July 2017 - 15:24:59

That's right, no more ringett, only Thai baht will be accepted. 

 At both Sadao & Pedang Besar, "farang"  get directed to a "special service counter" where if you don't have 200 baht in the passport, expect BIG hassles. Ugh, been through it many times. 

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CaptainJack69 | 12 July 2017 - 12:40:57

There should never be any fee for just crossing a border. Extended immigration services like getting or extending a visa, sure. Using that visa to cross the border, no.

Any such fees, combined with the ridiculously convenient ban on filming anything inside immigration facilities, provide the perfect breeding ground for corruption.

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simon01 | 12 July 2017 - 10:29:48

So why are they still charging 200 baht "Tea money" at the boarder at the Ranong visa runs and Penang visa runs too. Thats even for people with all the correct documents, work permits and retirement visa's. How can they say they are tackling corruption when it happens at just about every boarder. That means everyone that enters  or leaves Thailand sees it as their first impression of Thailand and also the lasting memory as they see it on leaving too.  

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