A Filipina was fined 1,000 baht for not carrying her passport on the wee hour of Wednesday on Onnut Road in Bangkok.
Ms. Sherry-Mae Yanson Lavador, an English teacher was travelling back to Chachoengsao at around 2:00 am together with her two Thai friends (one of whom was the driver), one Kenyan and another Filipina when their car was stopped by the police at a checkpoint.
They were all asked to show their identification cards. All four passengers were able to bring their Thai IDs, passport and working permit except to Lavador who had left her passport in her house. She tried to show photos of her passport and working permit on her phone but the police didn’t allow he and insisted on seeing her passport.
“He didn’t give me a chance to show him my passport with visa stamps from my phone and work permit,” said Lavador in an online interview with PinoyThaiyo.
She was first asked to pay 2,000 baht as a penalty for not carrying her passport. Her Thai friends intervened and negotiated so the fine was later reduced to 1,000 baht.
“My Thai friend tried to explain first my side and the head of the team agreed actually but that particular policeman insisted to my Thai friend in pasa-Thai to ask me to give him at least 1000 baht to pay for my violation,” Lavador added.
According to Lavador’s account, the cop who collected her 1,000 baht fine did not even issue a receipt for her supposed offense. Instead the money she paid was hastily inserted into the cop’s pocket.
Lavador would like to remind other expats to always carry their passports to avoid any problem with the authorities.
In December 2014, police probed a report by an Australian newspaper that some Bangkok police officers had been extorting bribes from foreigners on Sukhumvit Road.
Also in 2014, Sticky Boy Bangkok published a report based on Thai magazine Manager Online which was also used by Asian Correspondent, it said:
“Pol Lt Gen Prawut Thawornsiri, spokesman for the Royal Thai Police said tourists DO NOT need to carry passports at all times. His comment came when he was responding to the recent tourist shakedown reports in various media outlets over the past month. He stated that if asked to show their passports, tourist can produce their documents at a later time if necessary.
Another famous British blogger Richard Barrow said on his Twitter account:
“Senior Thai police says you don’t need to carry your passport with you. BUT you should have easy access to it if in necessary.”
“If you live in Bangkok then a copy of your passport is good as an ID. However, if you go to upcountry on a trip you should take the original,” said in his subsequent post.
At the end of the same article on Asian Correspondent gave this advice to all expats which PinoyThaiyo strongly recommends:
“What are your rights if you are stopped? First, it is recommended to carry identification. A photocopy of your passport might do, but carrying the original is probably wiser choice at the moment, especially around Sukhumvit. Even Thai citizens are legally required to carry some form of ID.”