Thai Foreign Minister suggests 'photo visa' to stop criminals entering country

Thai Foreign Minister suggests 'photo visa' to stop criminals entering country

THAILAND - Thailand is considering introducing a photo visa to keep criminals out of the country. "I will talk with the director-general of Consular Affairs about a new type of visa sticker to prevent fraud," Foreign Minister Surapong Towichukchaikul said yesterday.

Recently 300 visa stickers went missing from the Thai embassy in Malaysia and fingers have been pointed at local staff. At least 14 suspects have been caught trying to enter the country on visas from Malaysia with the cancelled serial numbers. Hence, the minister suggested new visa stickers include a photo of the passport holder.

Surapong quoted permanent secretary Sihasak Phuangketkaew as saying that 2,000 visa labels in a diplomatic pouch had also vanished on their way to the Thai embassy in The Hague.

Nuttavudh Pothisaro, deputy permanent secretary, said the ministry sent the visa stickers on THAI to Frankfurt in Germany, where they were due to be put on a connecting code-share Lufthansa flight to Amsterdam.

The ministry cancelled the visas and other documents in the pouch on July 15, so this case was unrelated to the Malaysian theft.

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