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Superintendent of Phuket Immigration, Police Colonel Chanatpol Yongbunjerd

Phuket Hotels Asked to 'Help Security Clamp'

Tuesday, June 23, 2009
ALL HOTELS and guesthouses are being asked to step up security as part of a campaign to ensure the July Asia Regional Forum and the October Asean Summit are successes.

The Superintendent of Phuket Immigration, Police Colonel Chanatpol Yongbunjerd, said there were about 300 hotels and guesthouses on the island.

''But only 100 at present report details to us about guests: who they are, and where they are from,'' he said today.

''This is because they are concerned in case they are forced to pay the Phuket room tax.''

Colonel Chanatpol said that Immigration would keep all supplied information confidential and not report details to other government arms.

''It's essential for us to keep tabs on all newcomers for security,'' he said. ''We all need to be able to sleep at night without worrying.''

The recently introduced Internet system for registering new arrivals makes the process much easier, Colonel Chanatpol said.

The old print forms could also be used and faxed in, he said.

If hotels and guesthouses were found to be not supplying the information, as they must by law within 24 hours, a fine of up to 10,000 baht could be imposed.

Colonel Chanatpol said the fines would be waived for hotels and guesthouses that supplied information up to the end of July. But after that date, fines would be imposed.

A similar deadline applies for illegal Burmese to register and obtain an ID card.

Legal Burmese workers are now able to register until July 1. All of next month, illegal Burmese will be able to register, accompanied by their employers.

Registered workers will pay tax and for other health and education services, he said.

By law, though, Burmese cannot give birth in Thailand. Workers holding cards will have to leave the country to have children, he said.

Figures so far for arrests of illegal workers are running up on last year, with 4898 arrests to mid-June compared to 6255 for the whole of 2008.

However, arrests are likely to slow dramatically if the new registration system works.

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