The back-cracking traditional Thai massage has been added to a prestigious Unesco heritage list.
Nuad Thai is now part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, which features traditions and practices passed across the generations. By being
part of the list, Thai massage has been recognised as something to be preserved for future generations.
Unesco is the United Nations' agency for education, culture, and science.
Unlike conventional massages, Thai massages involve a lot of movement
and typically sees people assuming a series of different positions. Therapists use not only their hands but sometimes their forearms and knees to apply pressure. There is also no oil involved in Nuad Thai massage.
If you notice an increased police presence in Pattaya it has been attributed to a recent TV programme shown in Germany revealing some of the common scams that take place in Thailand.
The Thai Interior Ministry has responding by instructing state
agencies to step up tourist safety, or at least increase the police presence.
The German television show Achtung Abzocke reported on scams targeting foreigners, such as taxis charging excessive fares, overpriced products and services, gangs
selling fake rail tickets and driving licences, and people pretending to be tourist police, said Ronnakit Ekkasingh, deputy mayor of the Pattaya Special Administration.
Police patrols will be stepped up along a 3km stretch of Pattaya beach from 10pm
to 4am every day.
Thai news service Naew Na reported that a team of five Chonburi immigration officers arrested a 45 year old German national outside a hotel in Pattaya.
He was on overstay of five days and was handed over to the custody of the Pattaya police.
The arrest team was led by Pol Capt Prasert Chaiwong with four other colleagues. They were sent into action by the chief of Chonburi immigration Pol Col Samphan Leuangsajjakun who in turn was acting under orders from national immigration chief Lt-Gen Sompong Big Oud Chingduang, said Naew Na.
Meanwhile in other Thai news the authorities are wondering where all the European tourists have gone.
Update: And in the context of TM30 and heavy handed policing...
Thailand has spent the last few years making it more
difficult to visit Thailand, and particularly to stay in Thailand, and also making it more unpleasant for visitors who brush with the immigration police or have to report to the police every time they change location because they are staying with friends
or using AirBnB.
So now Thailand is having to consider ways to attract other tourists to make up for the shortfall. Thai Visa reports:
Kobsak Pootrakul, deputy secretary general to the prime minister has said
that Thailand is about to introduce a Double Entry Tourism Visa. This will enable a visitor to go in and out of Thailand to neighboring countries such as Cambodia, Laos or Malaysia then return to Thailand to complete their holidays. One media outlet even
mentioned that a multiple entry visa was being considered.
The double entry visa would have a time limit though exactly how long this might be has not yet been announced.. Kobsak also mentioned the possibility of applying online.
Pattaya City has accelerated infrastructure construction expecting to boost the number of tourists. City deputy mayor Manoch Nongyai said:
The main project is the construction of a
light rail system with a distance of around 8 kilometres, which can connect to the high-speed train station in Central Pattaya. It is expected to cost Bt7 billion to Bt8 billion.
We will open a Public Private Partnership joint
venture for the private sector, likely from China, to invest in this project. The construction will begin late next year along with the high-speed train project
In addition, the Pattaya-On-Pier project -- based on the Pier 39 in
San Francisco -- will be a new tourism attraction in Pattaya. The project consists of shops, pubs, restaurants and a water sports centre. There is also space for holding events and festivals. This project is expected to be completed by April next year.
The area behind Pattaya Walking Street in South Pattaya is likely to be the location.
To develop existing tourist attractions, we plan to construct a cable car system at Pratumnak Hill. We will open a concession for private
investment along with various infrastructure projects in the EEC.
Thailand's 7-Eleven stores have announced that it has selected 137 trial branches will cease to hand out plastic bags to shoppers starting Nov. 25, before implementing the government's no plastic bag policy nationwide on Jan. 1, 2020.
We would like to
conduct a trial first before the actual implementation of the policy, said Suwit Kingkaew, senior vice president of sustainable development.
However Suwit said that there are circumstances where plastic bags are still allowed, such as hot foods,
wet foods, meats and fruit, which he said was in accordance with Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment's recommendation.
The branches that will stop giving plastic bags next week will display posters to let customers know that they should
bring their own bags when shopping there, said Suwit. If customers don't have their own bags, 7-11 also sells high-quality fabric bags at a reasonable price.
The policy was implemented quite smoothly in the UK several years ago with supermarkets
selling 10p stronger plastic bags that are genuinely re-usable. It sounds like that this won't be an option here. Previous attempts by 7-11 to provide an alternative to carriers were expensive fabric bags that were way too small to be useful.
Four promotional models or 'pretties' were each fined THB2,000 (£52) last night for wearing too little at a gig in Bangkok.
The four modelswere summoned to the local police station yesterday where they explained that they collectively received
THB10,000 for serving tables 9pm to 11pm, according to multiple media reports. Before donning their skimpy outfits, they reportedly prepared backless bras to make sure they don't accidentally flash anyone.
The curvaceous quartet gained attention
when videos of them in their minimal uniforms went all over social media this past weekend. In the videos, the four models can be seen wearing nothing but hot pants or bikini bottoms under bright aprons. A large surface area of quite large breasts went
uncovered by the aprons, which seemed barely able to hold them in.
The idea of saving the planet through banning single use carrier bags in Thailand has been mooted for some time but voluntary measures have so far had little effect.
Now the website Sanook has reported that the government has given its approval to
ministerial proposals to end the use of three kinds of single use plastic bags by the end of the year.
They called January 1st 2020 D-Day in their headline - then didn't tell the public what those three kinds of plastic actually are.
they said that four more kinds - also not specified - would also be banned from 2022.
There may be an interesting conundrum for street food sellers. They sell their food typically in small plastic bags tied up with a rubber band. But if you think
about, you can't do much better in minimising resources. Surely any other form of container is going to end up using a lot more plastic.
TM30 is the name of the form used to notify the Thai authorities every time a foreigners changes location. Its is the very essence of treating people like shit, to force them to turn up at the local immigration police office to report that they have
changed their location.
After the powerful business community stirred up international press coverage about this dreadful law the Thai authorities promised to make reporting a bit easier.
And indeed the most obvious change is that people on
business visa are no longer held responsible for any failures of Thai hoteliers and landlords to report their whereabouts. Immigration will n longer check on accurate tracking records before granting extensions of stay etc. Exempting this group of people
will probably put an end to much of the negative international press coverage.
It is not so clear how less influential people will fare if their tracking history is incomplete. But Stickman reports on a softening of attitudes:
There has been no official comment on any possible changes nor any admission that maybe they pushed things too far nor acknowledgement that the backlash of expats threatening to leave Thailand (and in many cases actually doing so) was
genuine. But behind the scenes there have been changes made by Immigration. First, the online TM30 registration is no longer delayed, and landlords receive their password almost immediately, and no longer have to wait up to several weeks. Second, there
have been many reported cases where Immigration officers have ignored the (missing) TM30 report and processed visa extensions as normal, making it clear to the applicant that the TM30 is the landlord's responsibility and the expat tenant will not be held
responsible for records that don't match. These were the 2 main sticking points for expats whose landlords refused to comply. This is what is happening in Bangkok. Hopefully it's the same in other centres.
Thailand may become the first country in the world to have all its vehicles monitored by GPS devices in a radical plan being considered by authorities. The Thai Transport Minister, Saksayam Chidchob, has ordered a study into a plan to have all cars and
motorbikes in Thailand monitored and policed using fitted GPS devices as a radical measure to control dangerous driver behaviour on Thailand's roads which is at the root of the country's disastrous mortality and injury rates.
The study into
introducing GPS tracking devices will consider all private vehicles being driven on Thailand's road network to include both four-wheel vehicles and motorbikes. GPS would be mandatory and continuously monitor driver behaviour on all vehicles.
doubt the devices will be also be useful for revenue generation via automatic speeding fines and also for road pricing.
Thailand's Ministry of Transport is backing
down over plans for all private cars and motorcycles to be equipped with GPS devices. He now says that the issue needs further study on real-time connectivity with the database of the Land Transport Department and will measure the cost of that
Thailand's Digital Economy and Society (DES) Minister, Buddhipongse Punnakanta, has launched the government's 'anti-fake-news' centre at the head office of the country's state telecoms company TOT.
Buddhipongse said that any challenged infomation
will be verified within two hours by the centre. The verification process is said to include both human and artificial intelligence. He added:
Some 200 organisations in our network will each send two people to serve as
contact persons within 24 hours who have to receive cases and help verify whether their obtained information is true or false.
The centre will look at the top 10-20 most-shared news items or messages on social media platforms,
including Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter.
People are also allowed to send information they find suspicious to the centre so it can be checked and verified with relevant organisations. The verified information will be shared
through online channels.
Any information deemed as infringement will be forwarded to the Royal Thai Police for investigation.
The center will employ about 30 checkers who will target news about government
policies and content that broadly affects peace and order, good morals, and national security.
Thailand's plans for a new $7.4 billion high-speed rail link from Bangkok to Pattaya got the go ahead on Thursday after months of negotiations.
The Thai government said it had signed an agreement to begin construction with a consortium led by
conglomerate Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group and including China Railway Construction Corporation.
Some Japanese banks have also agreed to provide part of the financing for the link, which will span 220 kilometres and is scheduled to start operating
The High-Speed Rail Linked 3 Airport Project makes use of existing structures and routes as seen in the form of an airport rail link system. Expansions will see the implementation of standard gauge 1.435-meter tracks with 2 new connecting
routes from the Phaya Thai -- Don Muang route as well as the Lad Krabang -- U-Tapao (Rayong) route offering ease of access to and from the airports. These expansions will largely make use of existing routes from the State Railway of Thailand and in total
comprise 220 km. of seamless railway routes. Urban line within Bangkok will see slower speeds of 160 km/hr. (Don Muang Station to Suvarnabhumi Station) while intercity line will reach a maximum speed of 250 km/hr. (Suvarnabhumi Station to U-Tapao
Station). This system comprises 9 high-speed stations, namely, Don Muang, Bang Sue, Makkasan, Suvarnabhumi, Chachoengsao, Chonburi, Sriracha, Pattaya, and U-Tapao.
Whilst another reminds those potential visitors that they are liable to be arrested, jailed, humiliated in the local press, deported, and banned from Thailand for 5 years, just for as little as a 1 day overstay
The council of the economic ministers on October 11th approved in principle new measures, proposed by the Tourism and Sports Ministry, to enhance tourism in the short, medium, and long terms.
The short term measures, to be implemented this year, will
see an increase in the numbers of agents and locations offering VAT refund service to foreign tourists. Also, some rules governing the travel of foreigners in Thailand will also be reviewed (TM30?)
The meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut
Chan-o-cha, also acknowledged the latest assessment of the local and global economies.
Meanwhile in Ko Samui, a contingent of immigration and tourist police arrested a German man who had overstayed in the kingdom, by two weeks. The unfortunate
victim was taken into custody, presumably deported, and his details published in a humiliating way in the local press.
The paper reported that the arrest was in line with immigration chief Lt-Gen Sompong Chingduang's policy, and should anyone like
to inflict this treatment on someone else, then they can call 1178 to report violators.
The European Association for Business and Commerce (EABC) was established in 2011 as a platform representing interests of the European business community in Thailand.
The group has now joined in the chorus of criticism of Thailand's TM 30
nightmare where foreigners are forced to report to the police every time they change where they are staying. The EABC writes:
The European Association for Business and Commerce (EABC) has today proposed cessation of TM.30 (and TM.28), with
immediate steps to streamline it by greatly reducing its scope.
EABC is the voice of European business in Thailand. Mr. Jan Eriksson, President of EABC, stated:
The Immigration form TM.30, or 24 hour reporting, requires property owners and
lessors (Thai as well as foreign) to report the movements of foreigners using such properties. Both Thai citizens and foreigners have found the situation difficult and unnecessary, and the situation has caused some unfortunately negative views about
Thailand both as an investment and doing business location, and as a tourism destination. This is surely not good and need not be so.Â
A correctly completed TM.30 is now a pre-condition to being able to use normal visa services. Mr. Eriksson also
noted: We anticipate that discussions for a Thailand Free Trade Agreement will reÂ-open. That agreement should bring much higher, mutual value and not be burdened by troublesome ease of doing business issues which can be addressed now for the benefit of
all parties, not only European, and not only foreigners.
We commend the government for positive steps in ease of doing business. Currently we feel that TM.30 is undoing those good achievements.
A senior government official said on Tuesday that TM30 will stay on the books but that the government will try and make it easier to comply.
Kobsak Pootrakool, deputy sec-gen to the Prime Ministe said that foreign visitors will soon no longer have
to fill out TM6 arrival and departure forms. He also touted a mobile app in the works for 24-hour reporting under the TM30 form system. He said:
We made the decision last Friday. Within two to three months, life
will be much easier [for foreign tourists and expats].
He spoke at a gala dinner where audience members included ambassadors from ten or so countries. He said arrival and departure forms for tourists, known as TM6 forms, have led to a
storage problems requiring a huge warehouse to store these papers and that the police rarely look at the information in the forms.
Immigration gave a little information hinted that QR codes will likely be used for an improved TM 30 app.
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
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
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 requirement.
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.
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 fake news.
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
Thai Immigration has recently been stepping up the enforcement of an old law whereby the owners of the accommodation used by visitors to Thailand have to report new arrivals to the provincial immigration office within 24 hours. This law has been in place
for a while and underpins hotels registering your passport details when you arrive at reception.
However the Thai authorities have now extended this requirement to all forms of accommodation and has made it the responsibility of the foreign visitor to
get the Thai landlord/hotelier/house owner to report to the immigration office. Large numbers of fines are handed out to visitors who have failed to comply. And even if you don't change your address you still have to report when returning to the same
address from a trip to another province, or a trip abroad.
The requirements are massively intrusive and massively inconvenient, especially if the immigration office is 80 km away, or your landlord is simply not around, or you work for a living and
cannot spend hours wasted on a trip to the Immigration Office. Another problem area is where the owner doesn't want to get involved for legal issues, such as not having the official licences to offer accommodation. AirBnB renters are particularly under
the cosh from the authorities and may not want to identify themselves. Similarly it is very difficult for small hotels to get the required licences.
The requirements are interpreted differently in every province so many of the rules may vary. In
fact Bangkok only recently required this registration. But it was when Bangkok started enforcing the rules that volume of complaints suddenly went up a notch.
Note that authorities have tried to counter some of the complaints by saying that there
is an online app for registrations to save a trip to the immigration office. However the app was designed for commercial use by hotels and requires a certain amount of red tape to get a login. Hoteliers probably already use it, but it will not be
available for more informal arrangements.
There is a lot of discussion on Thai forums and one particularly influential post by Isaanlawyers is as follows:
Yesterday, I met officer Longtor at Korat Immigration. He was very
nice, very polite and we had a conversation in Thai. I had with me a copy of the petition made by a group of expats and Thai people, a translation, some examples of problems related to TM30, statistics and an interpreter in case I could not fully
understand. The interpreter is also a witness of everything that was said.
I live in Thailand since 2004. I have permanent residency and do not need to make Form TM30, form TM47 or a yearly extension. If I helped this group of
expats with the petition, it is because I feel the current system needs to improve. It was recently reported that numbers of Australians and British coming to Thailand are falling, because of the high value of the baht. It was reported that there has
been a 10% fall in the number of Scandinavians living in the land of smiles. The current system seems a mess, and foreigners don't know what to do. I don't do this for exposure, and spent an incredible amount of time on this project. I manage a law firm
in Thailand, and know how things work in Thailand. Often you need connections, it is important to avoid losing face, and I work on difficult cases each month. I was pretty well placed to try something new via a Facebook group. A closed group. I work with
Thai lawyers every day, even if visas are not our specialty. We are more litigators, making contracts and documents in Thai and English.
Recently, I was told that foreign teachers travelling to other provinces on weekends had to
report to immigration Monday morning, so even Thai students were penalised by the strict enforcements of sections 37 and 38 of the immigration act. Like the Bangkok Post mentioned this week, Thailand is shooting itself in the foot, and expats are furious
about these rules that some found draconian.
It is Thai tradition to discuss, negotiate and not to confront people in Thai culture. The petition is a way to show discomfort and open a dialogue with authorities. It is not a perfect
document, some complained about the English (I am a French native speaker -the first version was edited) some complained about it not going far enough (debate about health insurance, or bank deposits required, but we cannot mix everything), some
complained about the SSL security of the website (added). In other words, many pissed me off all week as all I was doing was trying to help others, and I know what I am doing. I am not perfect (nobody is) but nobody else had the guts to do it, and many
feared to sign the petition, thinking they might be deported. In the past, I personally helped change some laws in Canada, so I am not afraid to say what I think. Here I sued immigration twice (never for fun) in the administrative court with success. I
felt that our voice needed to be heard. So with the help of hundreds of people, we made this petition. Yes, hundreds of people helped to correct texts, set up the websites, commented on the website, translated into Thai, and much more. I couldn't see
what else could be done? You want to contest articles 37 and 38 of immigration act based on clause 34 of the constitution? Well, good luck. Talking directly to Bangkok immigration is the next step.... but things in Thailand move slowly. Mediators,
arbitrators, negotiations are often used in court. Starting by talking to local immigration, on the back of few thousand signatures, was the best idea we had.
It became quickly the talk of the town in English medias: Richard
Barrow, the front page of Bangkok Post, cartoons by Stephff, The Thaiger, the Thai Examiner, Pattaya News, etc. I was amazed it went so quickly, but I was expecting more signatures. The website is still there, Reform-Thai-immigration (com) and we hope
you sign and share so things go faster.
Here's a summary of yesterday's conversation with immigration:
We were told that tourists are not affected by these rules. They want the same as before. But AirBNB
must report foreign guests just like hotels. Immigration understand that expats brings a lot of money to Thailand. But they seem to see two problems:
i) A large proportion of foreign workers are from Cambodia, Laos and Burma.
Something like 3 million in the country. Often, they do not respect rules and regulations. That is a major problem for immigration. Rules are enforced largely for them but as there is only one law, it affects foreigners from Western countries.
ii) it seems that some Indian visitors have abused rules, arriving for example in Phuket, arranging fake marriages with Thai ladies, then disappearing in other provinces. TM 30 started to be more rigorously enforced especially for
them, to be able to trace criminals or people abusing the system. Of course terrorists won't provide their addresses, and I pointed this out. Still, immigration want to be strict on TM30 and TM30, and once registered, it is the responsibility of the Thai
landlord to conform.
However each immigration office can apply its own rules, which I think is a headache and doesn't make sense. But this senior officer explained to us how he wants them to apply in Korat. If you are not a
tourist and arrive from abroad, even if articles 37 and 38 mention 24 hours, they will give you 7 days to register the TM30. Foreigners have to register TM30 only ONCE (and not tourists) and afterwards, it is the responsibility of the Thai landlord. If
you leave Thailand for a while and never registered TM30, you will be fined as a foreigner. I believe it is between 800 to 2,000 baht.
Once you are registered in the system, it is the Thai landlord, and NOT the foreigner - the
Thai landlord (or hotel) that will pay the fines.
Now, if you look at clause 37 (4) of the immigration act, a foreigner that goes to another province for 24 hours must report to authorities. This was never previously enforced to
my knowledge and in Nakhon Ratchasima, they don't care about it. They care about TM6, that you made on your arrival in Thailand (airport), the registration of TM30 that you make one time, the 90 days notice (TM47) that you make if you live 90 days in
Kingdom, and your yearly extension
Each immigration office can have its own rules, which I think is a headache and a non sense. But this high officer explained us how he wants them apply in Korat. If you are not a tourist and
arrive from abroad, even if articles 37 and 38 talk about 24 hours, they will give you 7 days to register the TM30. Foreigners have to register TM30 only ONCE (and not tourists) and after, it is the duty of the Thai landlord. If you leave in Thailand for
a while and never registered TM30, you will be fine as a foreigner. I believe it is between 800 to 2,000 baht.
Two great pieces of news:
1) There is a committee set up, looking to modify the immigration law
already in place. But changing laws take time. The head of immigration in Korat is part of that committee and they know some changes must be made. They want to make it easier for foreigners. I even talked about the high value of the baht, and they know
it causes problems for some retirees.
2) But the best news is a document, an order signed on 5th August 2019, that I saw. They did not permit me to make a copy as it is an internal document. However summing up, it is an order from
Bangkok to make an application online for all forms, to simplify things. That means TM6, TM30, TM47, will all be online, accessible on your phone, and you won't have to go to immigration. You will only have to go once a year to immigration for your
extension. The 5th of August is the same day that the Bangkok Post mentioned our petition on the front page with the title Â« Furore over TM30 forms Â». Quite sincerely, I think the authorities did listen to us, and the petition helped. It is a
Other comments were made but again, it can be different depending on the immigration office where you live. In Korat, they told us that if we go to Pattaya on a weekend, we don't have to report. This is clearly
against the articles 37 and 38, but I think immigration understand that they do not want to hurt tourism. But if you do go abroad, yes, your landlord must report via the TM30 on your return.
Other comments were said but again, it
can be different depending on the immigration office you live. In Korat, they told us that if we go to Pattaya a weekend, we don't have to report. This is clearly against the articles 37 and 38, but I think immigration understand that they do not want to
hurt tourism. But if you do abroad, yes, your landlord must report tm30 at your return.
If you go and sleep at a friend's house, outside the province, this officer told us not to bother with reporting and paperwork.... that is
also against the rules, but if you think about it, who could know if you slept over at your friend's house. This is different situation from hotels and hotels, or from landlords, who still must report your stay. Again, 37(4) is not enforced according to
immigration guidelines. Let's hope this online application works well, and will happen quickly. On that, we have no guarantees.
The current system is confused. There are too many forms, too many rules and I clearly told them our
views. Immigration could explain the rules on their websites and apply them the same way in each office nationally. That would be a great improvement.
On 15th August, the FCC (Foreign Correspondents Club) is planning a panel on
TM30 and immigration rules. Foreign journalists will be invited, and the subject might hit the news again. We were told that if the FCC wants an immigration officer present, they need to write a letter to immigration. I should be there if this event
No names of anybody who helped, signed, or contributed were made public. You can share this post, copy it and provide the information to whoever you want. If you think something is wrong in the following text, let me
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha formally resigned as the head of the military government on Monday, whilst taking his position as prime minister of an elected government.
Hs government is supported by a 15 party coalition with a slim
majority on the lower house, but has strong support from the upper house where the 250 members were appointed by the military.
The former army chief Prayuth seized power in a 2014 coup, saying that the intervention had been necessary to restore
order after six months of street protests and violent clashes. Prayuth has a second job as the defence minister in the new government.
From my experience, farmers certainly know the score, and it is standard practise to soak all vegetables in a mild detergent solution. The most worried about vegetables are cucumbers, runner beans and watermelons. Thai farmers are also very keen on
organic farming, not because of concerns about consumers, but because they passionately believe that pesticides kill them and their families.
Pesticide watchdog Thai-PAN has just published its most recent survey, which reveals that 41% of all
vegetables in Thailand's fresh markets are contaminated with chemical pesticides to a level that exceeds internationally acceptable standards. 12 types of banned chemicals were also discovered.
Prokchol Ousap, coordinator of Thailand Pesticide
Alert Network (Thai-PAN), reported that the organization recently analysed 286 samples of vegetables. She said that the sample sources ranged from fresh markets and shop houses to produce shelves in city department stores. The samples included 15 types
of vegetables and nine types of fruit commonly consumed by the public. They were sent for analysis by ISO-17025 certified laboratories in the United Kingdom.
The result is shocking as they found that 41% of the samples were contaminated with
chemical pesticides, said Prokchol.
The worst contamination was found in bok choy, kale, Thai basil, chili, cauliflower, oranges, rose apples, guava and grapes. The lab also found contamination of 33% of imported fruit was over the standard, while
48.7% of locally grown produce exceeded acceptable contamination standards.
She went on to say that fresh fruit and vegetables on the shelves of large department stores were more contaminated than those sold in local fresh markets, adding that
products that are labeled as meeting GAP and GMP standards are safer as only 26% were found to be contaminated.
Thailand's Office of Atoms for Peace (OAP) has warned of excessively high levels of radiation from the so-called energy cards that their distributors claim can cure illnesses and help relieve aches and pains.
Tests on sample cards conducted by the
state agency found radiation measuring at 40 microsieverts per hour, which is 350 times higher than the maximum exposure humans should get to radiation a year.
The agency also warned against drinking water in which an energy card has been dipped,
as doing so raises the risk of cancer. It said OAP would take legal action against the distributors once it has gathered enough evidence from its tests on the cards.
The OAP warning came in the wake of media reports saying that many villagers in
the Northeast had been tricked into buying these so-called energy cards from distributors, who made money from both selling the cards and recruiting new distributors as part of what appears to be a pyramid scheme.
The cards are being sold at
Bt1,100 to Bt1,500 each.
The OAP also said that anyone who wants to discard these cards can contact the Thailand Institute of Nuclear Technology for assistance.
Thaivisa has spoken with Immigration at Prachuap Khiri Khan in a bid to try and clear up some confusion surrounding the recent announcement regarding mandatory health insurance for Non-Immigrant Visa O-A.
The office told Thaivisa that the new
requirements only affect people seeking Non-Immigrant Visa O-A, as obtained from people's home country.
The requirement for mandatory health insurance does not affect those people who stay in Thailand on a Non O extension of stay based on
The requirement also does not apply to those staying in Thailand on a marriage extension or an extension of stay based on being a parent to a Thai child.
The US Embassy has added to concerns that the Thai authorities are gearing up to requiring expats to get health insurance.
The US Embassy has just issued an advisory:
Thailand remains one of the most popular
retirement destinations in the world. Great culture; great food; great people. And as US citizens age, Thailand also offers access to excellent health care, provided at world-class private hospitals by internationally trained doctors. But you need to be
able to afford it.
Sadly, we at the Embassy in Bangkok have seen many instances where US citizens discover, too late, that essential, high-quality health care is out of financial reach and their options are limited. As you
contemplate your own preparedness, we urge you to plan for a few key expenses: medical treatment, nursing care, and, if necessary, medical evacuation.
The Nation newspaper will stop its print editions and go fully online from July 1, when the independent English-language daily turns 48.
Somchai Meesen, chief executive officer of Nation Multimedia Group Plc (NMG), said the decision by the
management was aimed at halting The Nation's financial losses, in addition to expanding its market.
Over the past five years, The Nation has lost Bt30 million a year on average, he said.
The CEO, citing a survey, pointed out that only 36%
of The Nation's readers are based in Thailand while the remaining 64% live overseas, including 25% in the United States. He said that meant most of the newspaper's readers did not buy its paper editions, and they read its reports and articles from the
website and through different digital platforms.
Health insurance has been made mandatory for foreigners aged 50 years and above seeking long-term stay in Thailand.
An acceptabe insurance policy must offer up to Bt40,000 coverage for outpatient treatment and up to Bt400,000 for inpatient
The Cabinet has already approved the new rule, Health Service Support Department director-general Nattawuth Prasert-siripong revealed yesterday. According to Nattawuth, the new rule applies to both new applicants for the non-immigrant
visa (O-A), which offers a stay of up to one year, and those wishing to renew their visa. Each renewal is valid for one year. He added:
Foreigners can buy valid health insurance from longstay.tgia.org or if they wish
to use health insurance that they bought overseas, they must ensure that the coverage amount is no less than what is required by the rule. We are going to discuss with relevant authorities on to how to check the validity of health insurance bought from
Asked about foreigners who cannot buy health insurance because their health risks are considered too high, Nattawuth said relevant authorities might consider requiring them to have higher deposits in bank accounts so as to
make sure that they have enough to live in Thailand.
Forum comments suggest that a rough ballpark figure for this level of cover costs about 50,000 Baht a year for 50 year olds, 100,000 Baht a year for 60 year olds, and is not even available for 70
The deputy commander of immigration told the press of the latest arrests in a long running crackdown on over-stayers and people breaking the law by not continually reporting their whereabouts.
Maj-Gen Itthiphon Itthisanranachai was speaking on
behalf of immigration and a large number of other police departments outside The Street on Rachadapisek in Bangkok at 1am this morning.
The latest sweep checked 229 places such as hotels, schools (both language and private), restaurants and
private addresses. In total 490 people were arrested many from Thailand and neighboring countries.
The Maj-Gen said he was following government orders to rid the country of romance scammers, ATM skimmers and drug dealers. The Thai Rath newspaper
story didn't suggest any of the recent arrests had been linked to such issues.
Of the recent arrests 14 were for visa overstays; 338 for entering Thailand illegally; 70 cases of not reporting an alien's whereabouts within 24 hours; 20 not staying
at a registered address; and 16 illegal workers.
Of the 229 places raided 68 were businesses and shops, 6 were entertainment venues, 62 hotels and other accommodation and 93 others. The arrests for unreported whereabouts suggest that the police
were targeting short time hotels.
A little-known political party competing in next week's Thai general election revealed one of its priority proposals for Thailand was to legalise the production and sale of sex toys.
The Tai Rak Tham party also proposed 24 hour opening for
Deputy leader Chitsanupong Trairatrangsri said the party wished to emphasise the policy as the country has a huge amount of rubber which was the raw material for sex toys. Therefore, if the production of sex toys was allowed
in Thailand, it would add value to the rubber trade, he said.
Cecilia Cornu was in Phuket for a family holiday in January and was caught by Karon police holding an e-cigarette on Jan 30 whilst on a scooter with her fiance as her parents and brother followed behind.
Cornu said she was stopped by four police
officers who snatched the e-cigarette and demanded B40,000, which she refused to pay. She said she was then arrested and taken to Karon Police Station where officers tried to bully her into paying a bribe.
Cornu was charged, her passport
confiscated and a trial date set for Feb 11. Her return flight was scheduled for the following day. She posted bail of B100,000 and was released the same day pending trial.
On Feb 11 Cornu attended Phuket Provincial Court where she was convicted
for the offence and says she was fined B827 (23 euros). She was then sent to Phuket Immigration for what she thought was to collect her passport. Upon arriving at the immigration office, she was informed that she would be transferred to Bangkok for
Cornu was then taken to Bangkok where she claims she spent four days and three nights in a prison cell shared with 60 other women in dire conditions where she had to sleep on a hard, dirty floor with no sheets or mattresses before
returning home to France.
Karon Police Chief Col Prasarn Hankotha responded to Cornu's claims by denying the bribe but seemed to confirm the arrest, jailing and deportation.
Thai immigration has announced a major change regarding the financial requirements needed when applying for an extension of stay based on retirement using the 800k baht in the bank method (or the combination of income method) now need to keep 800k baht
in the bank for five months, (for 2 month before and 3 months after the application). Furthermore 400k Baht must be kept in the bank thereafter.
The requirements for a retirement extension according to the new police order include:
(4) At least 2 months prior to filing date, and at least 3 months after being granted permission, the alien must have fund deposited in a bank in Thailand of no less than THB 800,000. The alien can withdraw the fund 3 months after
being granted permission and the remaining balance must be no less than THB 400,00 or;
(5) Must have and annual earning and fund deposited with a commercial bank in Thailand totalling of no less than THB 800,000 until the filing
date. The said fund must remain in the account prior to and after the permission is granted and the alien can make a withdrawal under the same conditions as stated in (4).
The new requirements to keep money in the bank for three
months after the retirement visa is granted is effective from 1st March 2019.
The new requirements are likely the result of immigration officials trying to put an end to the practice of visa agents falsifying bank statements for foreigners who do
not have enough money to meet the financial requirements needed for a retirement extension.
Thai people have little interest in European history and most seem to know nothing about the Second World War even if the country did get involved on the margins. However the west seems to somehow expect that Thais should be aware of the horrors and
sensitivities from that time... but they are simply not.
Now foreign diplomats have got all wound up by a female pop star unknowingly wearing a t-shirt decorated with a Nazi flag.
The band has issued an apology to match the tearful one
delivered earlier by 20-year-old singer Pichayapa Namsai Natha. It was a bad fashion choice based on ignorance, she said.
But envoys from Israel and German have expressed dismay after a member of the popular all-girl singing group BNK48 sported a
T-shirt bearing a swastika.
Smadar Shapira, deputy chief of mission of Israel in Thailand, said on Twitter that the Israeli Embassy was shocked and dismayed over the singer's outfit, noting that the Holocaust remembrance was imminent:
Presenting Nazi symbols by the band's singer hurt the feelings of millions around the world whose relatives were murdered by the Nazis.
German Ambassador Georg Schmidt, whose country has gone to great
lengths to amend for the crimes of its wartime regime, also tweeted.
We share the shock and dismay expressed by @ShapiraSmadar from the Embassy of Israel. We invite members of #BNK48 to discuss the terror to the Nazi
dictatorship with us.
The manager of BNK48 and singer Namsai later attened a meeting with the ambassador of Israel, Meir Shlomo, at the latter's residence to express their apologies in person. the ambassador said following the
I understand that it was an act arising from lack of knowledge and awareness, and I'm pleased that they have apologised and agreed to hold together educational activity in the future. The BNK48 has proposed
that its members join an educational workshop on the Holocaust, in order to emphasise their commitment to this important subject.
Thai immigration has confirmed it will show some leniency to foreigners with regards to proving income when applying for retirement and marriage extensions.
In an order dated 22nd December, Immigration chief Police Lieutenant General Surachet Hakpal,
acknowledges that some applicants may have difficulty in providing the now required 12 months worth of bank statements showing income.
Where this is the case, the Pol Lt. Gen Hakpal has instructed immigration officers that from 1 Jan to 31 Dec
2019 they have discretion to accept evidence of less than 12 monthly transfers from overseas.
The applicants given leniency in this way are to be told by the officers that this is a one-off exemption and that their applications for the next
renewal will not be accepted without a complete set of documents according to the order.
Previously incomes were verified by obtaining a letter from the relevant embassy but many of the estern embassies will no longer provide these letters.
Now that several foreign embassies have ended their service of providing letters supporting visa applicants income cliams, Thai Immigration has outlined replacement rules for evidencing ncome.
The income requirements remain unchanged in value (40,000
a month for those supporting Thais and 65,000 a month for retirees). Thai Immigration will now accept evidence as follows:
Tax receipts of the supporting relative presumably thos issues by the Thai tax authorities.
Evidence of a pension. Letter of certification from a Thai bank supported by bank statements showing a pension being transferred to the pensioner's
bank account every month for at least 12 months. Exceptions are allowed for those who have been retired for less than one year.
Evidence of income from a foreign embassy or consulate for those whose embassies are still providing the service