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ResourcesThailand Criminal LawCriminal LitigationHeightened Surveillance of Foreigners in Thailand: Immigration Implications

Heightened Surveillance of Foreigners in Thailand: Immigration Implications

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are going to be discussing recently announced surveillance measures that are going to be slowly put into place with respect to foreigners  here in the Kingdom and in my opinion there is going to be substantial immigration implications that are going to be associated therewith.

So let's go to some of our source material here real quick.  bangkokpost.com, this is the Bangkok Post website, the title is Foreigners to be Tracked by Defence Ministry, published May 17th, 2018.  Quoting directly "A computer database is being developed to store information about foreigners to help authorities to keep track of them while they are in Thailand", the Defense Spokesman Kongcheep Tantravanich says.  This was of further interest to me, the following information: "the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society is advising the team developing the database to ensure it will be linked to other systems containing information about foreigners to better keep tabs on them from when they enter Thailand until they leave the country" he said. "While waiting for the new database to be completed, law enforcement authorities, (this is important or at least in the immediate term), law enforcement authorities have been assigned to take steps to step up crackdowns on foreigners staying illegally in Thailand", he said.

Two things to take away from this, in my opinion. First we have done a number of videos on the recent crackdowns here in the Kingdom. There is nothing that leads me to believe that this is not going to continue and in fact from this article itself, it seems that they are going to be stepping up those initiatives moving forward. Moreover, another thing to keep in mind is that it sounds to me like they're going to better coordinate their IT database activities in such a way that it will allow for better tracking of foreigners here in the Kingdom of Thailand and where once foreigners were able to sort of “game” the system by various means and methodologies most notably dealing with different aspects of the immigration apparatus at different times and therefore sort of prolong lawful status in the Kingdom by dint of the fact that one hand didn't know what the other was doing.; basically that was the situation we had. I think in the next one to three years as these further digitations come online, these further initiatives come online, we are going to basically see a situation in which it is going to be more and more difficult to so called “game” the system if not impossible and on top of that, one's entire immigration history is slowly going to be pretty much readily available at the fingertips of an Immigration Officer at a checkpoint of admission into the Kingdom or any Immigration Officer one would be dealing with when trying to say do things like extend visas or obtain reentry permits whereas once that database was not sort of consolidated I think it sounds to me like it is going to be consolidated over the coming months and years to the point where the immigration system in Thailand is going to look no different than those places like say in Northeast Asia, the western world, the United States, etc.

So we will continue doing videos and keeping people up-to-date with respect to this overarching issue but one thing that pretty clearly comes out from this information presented today, the Thai immigration apparatus is serious about tracking foreign nationals in the Kingdom and I think that IT coordination is going to be such that “gaming” the system against itself is not going to be possible  moving forward.