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B10,000 limit on incoming duty free

Posted by pakin On July - 1 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Duty free limits being strictly enforced

The 10,000 baht duty-free limit on new personal items purchased overseas by incoming air passengers is now being strictly policed, the Customs Department announced on Tuesday.

The warning was carried on new signs posted at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport.

The Suvarnabhumi Airport Passenger Control Customs Bureau will calculate the value of all personal items – souvenirs, gifts or brandname goods – purchased overseas. If the combined value of those products exceed 10,000 baht, passengers and airline crew will have to pay import duty.

Signs announcing enforcement of the  limit were placed at the airport, explaining that “personal goods” includes new clothes, shoes, socks and bags in non-commercial form.

If goods being brought into Thailand exceed the limit, they must be declared to customs officials  and the duty paid before their baggage go through the X-ray machine. Any undeclared items will be seized and the owners may have to pay up to four times of the value including plus the duty.

The department said food, food supplements and cosmetic will not get the duty waiver. Travellers are limited to 200 duty free cigarettes and one litre of duty free liquor or wine.

Gifts prepared to give to other people, donated items, collectable items, second-hand goods, empty watch and brandname bag boxes are not considered as personal items. Individuals bringing in these products have to inform customs officials before the baggage X-ray.

Expensive new watches or bags worth more than 10,000 baht will be liable to duty, even if being worn.

Somchai Asawadtriratanakul, the bureau’s chief of investigation and suppression division, said the regulation was an existing one, but enforcement will be stricter. The bureau found many people brought in new products for resale in Thailand without paying import duty. Action had to be taken to prevent this.

Initially, signs were posted at arrival and departure areas. If duty-payable goods are found undeclared in possession of a passenger who refuses to allow the goods to be seized, the case will go to court, he said.

If the passenger loses the case, the smuggled goods will be seized and they would be liable to a fine of four times the assessed value, including the import duty, and/or a prison term of up to 10 years.

GLO execs should quit, activists say

Posted by pakin On June - 30 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

The Government Lottery Office (GLO)’s executives are failing in their duty to solve the problem of inflated lottery ticket prices, activists say.

Thanakorn Khomkrit, a coordinator for the People’s Network for the Reform of Lottery, said yesterday the GLO’s executives should resign as they admitted they cannot keep the retail price of tickets at the correct price of 80 baht a pair nationwide.

Lt Gen Anantaporn Kanchanarat, head of the state budget monitoring and scrutinising committee assigned by the National Council for Peace and Oder (NCPO) to tackle inflated lottery ticket prices, held talks with GLO executives.

He asked them to seek cooperation from wholesalers and retailers to sell the tickets at the correct market price. At present, most sell their tickets for 100-110 baht.

As an immediate step, the NCPO said people will be able to buy tickets at 80 baht a pair at makeshift pavilions set up in front of GLO headquarters on Samambin Nam Road. However, the price of lottery tickets elsewhere may be higher.

Mr Thanakorn said overpriced tickets cannot be tackled easily as vendors who are not given a quota to buy tickets directly from the GLO have to buy from retailers at a higher price.

He suggested the Anantaporn panel seeks advice on how to deal with the problem from academics at Chulalongkorn University’s Centre for Gambling Studies, and from his network. The resignation of GLO executives would allow the NCPO to get to the root of the problem.

Mr Thanakorn said he will lodge a complaint with the Office of the Auditor-General to examine the GLO’s expenditure and its organisational transparency.

Each year, the GLO earns revenue in excess of two billion baht from the sale of the lottery tickets.

Cambodians get cheap passports from Thursday

Posted by pakin On June - 25 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Officials in Cambodia’s O’samach district in Udon Meachay province are preparing venues and documents for issuing passports to Cambodians wanting to find work in Thailand.

A high number of Cambodians are expected to apply for passports from tomorrow following the initiative introduced by the Cambodian authorities that sees passport fees reduced from Bt6,000 to Bt120. Once in possession of their passports, they are expected to cross into Thailand to search for work.

122,000 Cambodians flee from Thailand

Posted by pakin On June - 16 - 2014 ADD COMMENTS

Unregistered workers feared crackdown by military, officials say

MORE THAN 120,000 Cambodians have fled Thailand to return home in the past week, fearing a crackdown on migrant workers after last month’s military takeover, an official said yesterday.

The mass exodus of labourers – who play a key role in Thai industries such as seafood and agriculture but often lack official work permits – comes amid a junta warning of arrest and deportation for illegal foreign workers.

“They’re returning en masse like a dam collapsing. They’ve never come en masse like this before in our history,” Kor Sam Saroeut, governor of the northwestern province of Banteay Meanchey where the main border crossing is, told AFP.

Around 122,000 Cambodians have returned from Thailand in the last week after being transported to the border by Thai military trucks or making their own way, he said late yesterday.

“They said they are scared of being arrested or shot if they run when Thai authorities check their houses,” Saroeut added. “Most of them went to work in Thailand without a work permit.”

Sirichan Ngathong, a spokeswoman for the Thai Army which seized power in a coup on May 22, had said last Wednesday the junta viewed illegal migrants as a “threat” and they faced arrest and deportation.

But two days later the Thai foreign ministry dismissed “rumours” the army was deporting Cambodian labourers and later yesterday released a new statement citing spokesman Sek Wannamethee as saying: “No crackdown order targeting Cambodian workers had been issued by the NCPO (junta body).”

As a result of the rumours, “Cambodian illegal workers have reported themselves to the Thai authorities for being repatriated voluntarily to Cambodia” the statement said, adding that Thai immigration officials had provided transport for them.

Stranded at border

More than 12,000 migrant workers crossed the border to Cambodia yesterday alone, according to Saroeut, who expects many more to make the journey over the new few days.

Thousands were sheltering from the rain at local Buddhist temples and a market as they waited for transport to their home provinces.

Cambodian authorities have arranged nearly 300 cars and military trucks to ferry workers home from the Aranyaprathet-Poipet border checkpoint but many would have to stay near the site overnight until transport became available, Saroeut said.

At the smaller border checkpoint of Boeung Trakuon, south of Poipet, around 1,000 Cambodian men and women walked across the border with heavy bags and children in tow, said a local journalist.

Chea Thea, a 33-year-old construction worker, said she returned to Cambodia two days ago in a convoy of 20 cars organised by Thai authorities – deciding to leave after seeing her compatriots were departing in large numbers. “Cambodian migrants are coming back. We feel scared,” she told AFP from her parents’ home in the northwestern province of Battambang.

“When the situation is better I may go back,” Thea said.

Soum Chankea, a coordinator for Cambodian rights group Adhoc who has met many workers at the border, said the number of returnees was growing each day.

“They keep coming, more and more. Thousands more have arrived in Poipet (border checkpoint) this morning,” he told AFP by telephone.

Six Cambodian workers and a Thai driver transporting them to the border province of Sa Kaeo died in an accident early Sunday, said Thai police official Sommart Meungmuti. The accident, which left another 12 people injured, is suspected to have been caused by a bursting tyre, he added.