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Thai Immigration Chief Notes Expanding Use of Biometric Systems

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the new Thai Immigration Bureau Chief. That Chief's name is Lieutenant General Sompong Chingduang. I am used to the old Immigration Chief's name. I'm still getting used to it. Hopefully I'll be able to roll that off my tongue rather quickly here in the near future. 

That being said, as noted in previous videos he replaces the prior Immigration Chief, Surachate "Big Joke" Hakpan. As noted in other videos, this gentleman comes from a much more, for lack of better term, enforcement background within the Immigration apparatus if you will, having been the Head of the Border Patrol Police who take a much more enforcement oriented approach with respect to Immigration policy.

It should be noted in a recent article from the Bangkok Post, that is, the article is titled, "New Immigration Chief Bullish, the following was noted and I'll quote directly.  He also, he being the General in question here, the Head of Immigration. IB is Immigration Bureau,"  IB is ramping up the use of biometric technology at international airports to guard against transnational criminals. Biometric identification such as retina scans play an increasingly important role in preventing the movement of criminals throughout the region."  So this is really interesting to me. He has quoted further. They asked him about how he would be dealing with things coming off of his predecessor and he is quoted as saying " We will continue to do the good things started by the former IB Chief but if there are still things that need to be changed we will fix them for the benefit of the country. " 

This biometric thing is interesting. Biometrics really kind of changes the game if you will with respect to Immigration, or I should say it greatly decreases even the possibility of Immigration fraud. I have dealt with Immigrations for years and Immigration fraud quite frankly is far less prevalent than it is sometimes made out to be but it does happen and for that reason people should be aware of how the Immigration system works or try to be aware of how it works in order to stay in compliance with the rules but for those who are just blatant fraudsters looking to basically concoct false identification in order to pass through Immigration checkpoints, biometrics really are the sort of, for lack of better term, Kryptonite to stop that because as noted, they may be using retinal scans here sometime in the future in Bangkok or least at the airports.  If that's the case, well retinal scans, there isn't any faking of retinal scans that I know of.  There may be some sort of science fictional technology out there that sort of in theory but you know your eyeball is your eyeball is your eyeball, and being able to sort of replicate another person's retina would be rather difficult and I would imagine the technology to do that would be so cumbersome to be cost-prohibitive from carrying it through the airport. If biometrics are introduced, it would pretty well be a watershed moment here in Thai Immigration with respect to their enforcement capability. I think this is serious. I don't think this is one of those things that is kind of bandied about and they don't really have any intention to do it. I think the time will come when this will be technology regularly and routinely in use at the various Immigration checkpoints throughout the Kingdom. 

So the thing to keep in mind with respect to concluding this video, the new Immigration Chief, I do not believe is going to change policy with respect to his predecessor.  In fact I think policy is set and the people that implement it may come and go but the overarching theme, the overarching policy will remain. So the thing to take away from this video is although it will not get harder, those are looking to abuse the system or game the system might want to think about a different jurisdiction because I think Thailand is taking Immigration fraud very seriously and will do so into the future.