Passport worry

It was reported in newspapers recently that on August 16 the police raided a nightclub popular with foreigners, testing more than 300 people there for drugs, and then fining many for not carrying their passports.

They prevented customers from leaving the venue and administered urine tests on 373 people. After failing to find anyone testing positive, the police rounded up 104 “criminals” and took them to the police station for not having their passports with them.

In most countries police advise tourists to keep their valuables and passports in the hotel safe and not to leave them on the beach while swimming. But not...

  • Asked on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 | 03:07 PM
    Thomas Jefferson

The law here is that all foreign tourist must have their passports to hand when the police ask for them. Tourists being in possession of their passports is similar to Thai people having identity cards – they must keep their ID cards with them for when police want to check their identify.

However, if you are worried about losing your passport you can make a photocopy and carry that instead. At present we have problems in this country with international criminals, so inspection of passports is essential for safety and security reasons.

When urine tests are conducted in Bangkok it is normal to check passports. I believe that many foreigners are happy to cooperate because they understand that we are serious about prevention of drug use.

When police check for passports and people don’t have them, they must pay a fine.

  • Answered on Wednesday, September 22, 2004 | 03:07 PM
    Pol Lt Col Panudej Sookwong, Superintendent of Phuket Tourist Police.
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