THREE foreigners living in Thailand have complained of receiving visits by policemen asking them to furnish personal details, purportedly as part of a controversial immigration policy mooted by the authorities for national security reasons.
According to Thaivisa.com, the three foreigners residing in the northern province of Chiang Mai were visited at home by the uniformed officials who asked them to provide details like their monthly income, height, weight, and even skin color.
The three, said Thaivisa, wrote about the visits and posted their accounts in the website forum. They claimed that they were asked to provide the details in the ‘Personal Information’ form from the ‘Transnational Crime Coordination Unit Region 5 (TCCU R5).
Other details requested in the form included the nationality of parents, current address, name of spouse and date of marriage, along with details on their children.
The ‘Personal Appearance’ section of the form, on the other hand, asked for height, weight, skin colour, hair colour and details of any scars, the website reported.
A user identified as jak2002003 said the visiting officer had provided a form with incorrect details.
“Problem was the name on mine was not me…. and the address house number was wrong,” the user was quoted as saying.
“So I told them I did not want to fill it in. The head man came to take it back the next day.. and told me he has been told that the government has told all the head men to get this information form any Farangs living in their village.”
The user said the form asked for details that were “too personal”, adding the Immigration office had already asked details about frequent hangouts and that the information was already provided during the user’s last entry into the kingdom.
“What’s going on? Next will be having to report to the village headman and immigration every 90 days?” the user asked.
“And why do we have to fill the information 90 day forms out AND this new one AND this home delivered police one… ALL with the SAME information on them… EVERY TIME we go to do 90 day or visa renewal (SIC)?. Seems crazy.”
It was not immediately clear whether the police officers were acting upon instruction or whether the move would be imposed on all other foreigners living in the province and country.
In April, Thailand’s Immigration Bureau began formally asking foreigners who live in the country to provide their bank account numbers as well as information about their social media use and places they often visit.
The government justified the controversial move on grounds of national security, citing concerns about terrorism. The new, seemingly intrusive request is likely to face stiff resistance from Thailand’s large expatriate community, which had previously faced leaks of their personal information.
Many foreigners are also said to be reluctant to share their private information with Thai authorities due to reservations over how securely their details would be kept. It was only in March when a couple of online data leaks revealed foreigners’ sensitive information.