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Thai Immigration Takes "Fake News" Seriously

Transcript of the above video: 

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Thai Immigration; we are specifically discussing the notion of fake news in the context of Thai Immigration. 

A recent article came to my attention from the Nation, that is, the article is titled: Immigration Police Sued Twitter User for Making False Claim. Quoting directly: "Immigration Police is suing a Twitter user for falsely claiming that foreigners are allowed to enter Thailand via Suvarnabhumi Airport without having to undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine." Quoting further: "Immigration Police Chief, Police Lieutenant General Sompong Chingduang said on Tuesday, September 15th that he has had the Second Immigration Police Division file a lawsuit against the Twitter user for spreading false information that may affect the operation of his Department. The Twitter user had tweeted that they had visited the airport on September 10th and seen that more than 80% of incoming passengers were medical tourists and they were allowed to enter the country without undergoing quarantine which is mandatory for everybody who lands in the country to curb the spread of COVID-19."  

So I felt that this was rather pertinent to us especially on this channel mostly because we discuss a lot of Thai Immigration news on this channel and I think it is notable because Immigration seems to be taking this quite seriously because social media has a tendency to magnify not only real news but also in this case "fake news". 

Now what exactly “fake news” is, is often subject for debate. That stated, Thai Immigration, specifically the Chief of Thai Immigration seem to be taking this very seriously and the question to be posed is "why are they taking this very seriously?" Well in my opinion, and I am not trying to apply my logic to them or speak for them. Let me be clear, this is my opinion as to why they are doing it but it is based on my experience so I am not trying to say that this is what they are doing for sure. These are the motives behind what they are doing.  I am just making my own personal observation, expressing my own opinions based on years of practicing American Immigration law as well as dealing with the Thai Immigration apparatus in both a personal and professional capacity. So long story short, "why do they take "fake news" about Thai immigration rather seriously?" Well in my opinion, they take it seriously because you have already got a lot of misconception out there about Immigration law. Immigration law is a narrow and deep body of law. It is narrow insofar as it only applies especially in most countries to a very sort of rather discreet subset of the overall population and that is foreign nationals in a given country which generally speaking make up a rather small minority of a given country. In the Kingdom of Thailand for example we are talking somewhere between 67 and 70 million people, Thai nationals, and I don't know how many hundreds of thousands of foreign nationals are in Thailand in any given time. It is not a particularly high number in terms of percentage of overall population but Immigration law pertains to all of those people so it is narrow in one sense that it doesn't apply to a broad cross-section of Thai society but it is also deep.

Thai Immigration law is very code driven, it is very regulatory driven and as we have discussed at length on this channel, the adjudicatory functions and the administrative processing, details of how a case moves through the system varies very greatly from post to post, even from officer to officer. People just do things differently with respect to application of this body of Law. For that reason it is my opinion that you do see a lot of information on the internet oftentimes that will be describing the way that something is done in one office as if that applies across the board. Or someone will say "well I easily got this done with my Visa", and it won't apply to everyone.  Or someone else will say "well I tried the same thing and it didn't work". Now a lot of that has to do with timing; evidentiary criteria may evolve over time. There also may be issues associated with the given facts of a case. Again on the internet especially, you see a lot of people make these very broad statements of just indisputable fact about how Immigration works; it really is more nuanced than that. We have to begin from a framework of, it is a nuanced, narrow, deep body of law which can lead to confusion in the first place so to have either, and I don't want to cast dispersions at anybody out in the social media, but to have information out there which is not correct, which is sort of being disseminated out to the public, this can pose a real problem especially in a situation where we have got very pressing and rather serious issues at play with respect to inbound foreign nationals and inbound arrivals to Thailand. I can definitely see where Thai Immigration takes this seriously because on one level they not only want to make sure or try to mitigate as much as possible the kind of confusion that arises out there with respect to Immigration rules, they also want to make sure as best they can, that people take the Immigration system as seriously as they possibly can with respect to arrivals coming into Thailand. 

So again, I definitely see where they are coming from with respect to this. Now how exactly this plays out remains to be seen.