Mad authoritarians

3 04 2020

Globally, we have seen authoritarianism expand at a pace never before seen. Many who are fearful of the virus approve of this and even demand more draconian measures.In many places, petty officials have grabbed opportunities to advance their power.

While we at PPT don’t often comment on what happens to foreigners in Thailand, a recent story at Khaosod revealed a mad authoritarianism at the notoriously hopeless Immigration Division of the police.

The dopes at Immigration, with nothing to do much now that the money tree at airports has been felled by the virus, are now looking for opportunities. But as a set of dullard authoritarians, they are bungling and threatening people’s health (and sanity).

A week or so ago, a strange report stated:

The Immigration Bureau (IB) is stepping up its crackdown on people who hoard medical supplies, engage in price gouging, and use bogus websites to solicit donations to help Covid-19 patients or hospitals.

It isn’t clear why the IB was doing this. Perhaps a money making venture by squeezing the small fry involved in such activities?

More to form is screwing foreigners. For some time, there have been criticisms of the IB for forcing foreigners to do all kinds of immigration activities during the virus outbreak. Other countries have ditched this in the interests of health, but not the dopes at Immigration. In Thailand, “overstayers” are being fined 500 baht a day.

Now, in a feat of unimaginable stupidity, the Immigration Bureau has decided that “[n]ine separate documents are now required for foreigners stranded in Thailand to extend their stay for up to 30 days…”.

Why? According to Immigration spokesman Pol Col Phakkhaphong Saiubon, the reason is “national security.” That’s an authoritarian’s best hiding place. This dill stated: “… national security is our utmost priority.”

Foreigners caught in Thailand and residents must now come up with “land deeds, rent contracts, and even selfies … with their accommodation…”. They also need the “TM7 application, copies of their passport, … applicant’s photos, … a certificate from their respective embassies, a copy of rent contract, document confirming their stay at the accommodation, a copy of landlord’s ID card and house registration, and a map showing the location of their residence.

What kind of police mind comes up with such ludicrous requirements in such times? Social distancing? Forget it.


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