Longer queues at Thai airports expected after arrest of Bangkok-bound ISIS militant

A busier, and stricter, screening might plague you over at Thailand’s busiest airport, Suvarnabhumi, as a suspected militant tried to enter Thailand, just a few days before the New Year holidays.

Due to the high influx of travelers coming in and out of the kingdom, and also to prevent criminal activities coming in the country during this busy season, immigration police will now run a more thorough background check on those applying for visas on arrival, said Major General Pruettipong Prayoonsiri.

Over the weekend, a suspected ISIS militant was arrested at Karachi Airport trying to board a Thai Airways International flight to Bangkok, said Special Branch Police Commander Chayapol Chatchaidet. The suspect, a Malaysian national, was smuggling four guns in his luggage, said in a report by Daily Pakistan.

Pruettipong said that “embassies take 7 to 15 days to deliberate on visa applications but at our counters [airport immigration], we only have 3 minutes to work. We have to interview and run background checks. Our priority is national security, so there might be some delays.” He continued that “we have always been strict in our procedures, but the point is, during the New Year holiday there will be more passengers…up to a 20% increase over normal [days].”

Special Branch Police commander Chayapol said there were no specific known threats at the time. However, Deputy Police Commissioner Srivara Ransibrahmanaku, in charge for national security, had already ordered all border checkpoints to be on full alert during these seasons.

Tourists from 21 nations and territories are eligible to apply for the visa on arrival.

An immigration officer said that queues might take up to 4 hours. “The lines will keep flowing. We have added more officers. We have analyzed all the info – which flights will land at what time.”


Source: Khaosod English