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Passports, Name Changes, Biometrics and Thai Immigration

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Immigration, Thai Immigration specifically and some interesting developments that I have been reading about regarding biometrics and how biometrics are being used to basically thwart a lot of immigration fraud that presumably was probably occurring rather frequently.       

In a recent article I found in the print edition of the Bangkok Post, we will go ahead and put this up; I took a photo with my phone when I was reading the print version. Quoting directly:  "Police Lieutenant General Sompong, that is Sompong Chingduang, the head of Thai Immigration Bureau did not disclose when those people were arrested only that they had changed their names, surnames and passports to avoid being detected and that the airport's biometric screening system found they were blacklisted. All 13 of them were arrested and prevented from re-entering the Kingdom.” The title of that article as you can see, we will put it up one more time again: Biometrics Screening Foils Blacklist Re-entries. So, clearly they are utilizing biometrics much more frequently and the thing that is interesting to note  is something that was sort of often talked about, a kind of semi urban myth here in Thailand that I have heard lo these past dozen years that I have lived here, is these notions of people that were being kicked out of the country and then they would go to their home country, change their name in the UK; they would do what was called a deed poll change of their name or like in the US they would go through the process in the courts to get their name changed and then go ahead and get a new passport and come back into the Kingdom under their new alias.

Well that is going to be pretty hard to do moving forward. In fact I would say it is going to be virtually impossible to be able to undertake that kind of an operation in the future as Thai Immigration, especially through biometric technology, is simply getting way more sophisticated.

In fact, in a recent article, this was in Thai Visa, that is thaivisa.com. Title of the article: Biometrics and Immigration Chief are the Stars! But Reports Vary Widely. They are quoting Sompong Chingduang again. Quoting directly: "He even went so far as to claim that the new system had flagged up 40,000 overstaying foreigners since June netting the country 90 million Baht in fines."  Now there is a whole lot more to that story. I recommend those who are reading or watching this video to go over to Thai Visa and take a look at that article because I am just quoting one sentence out of a three-page article; there is a lot going on there.

The thing I wanted to get across in this video is biometrics have really changed the game with respect to Thai Immigration. Some of this tomfoolery that was going on in the past is coming to an end. Biometrics is being used to effectively thwart people who are trying to defraud the Thai Immigration system and it seems likely to presume that this will keep recurring into the future with similar results.