Racist anti-tourist rant

Bangkok Post - - WORLD -

Re­cently, I crossed from Laos into Thai­land at the Nong Khai im­mi­gra­tion check­point at about 5pm at the Friend­ship Bridge. I have been vis­it­ing Thai­land ev­ery year since 1985 and have made sev­eral en­tries via bor­der af­ter vis­it­ing neigh­bour­ing coun­tries. My pre­vi­ous trips, both by air and by land, were trou­ble free with cour­tesy by the Thai au­thor­i­ties un­til last time.

When I gave the Thai im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cer my pass­port, he asked me why I had no visa. I ex­plained to him that I have never stayed over two or three weeks at a time in Thai­land and that as a Cana­dian I was visa ex­empt or had been for ev­ery one of my pre­vi­ous vis­its. I was not aware of a new reg­u­la­tion that places re­stric­tions for tourists from a long list of coun­tries in­clud­ing Canada as of De­cem­ber 2016 to two land cross­ings an­nu­ally into Thai­land. When I handed my pass­port, I was sent to a lady im­mi­gra­tion su­per­vi­sor at Thai im­mi­gra­tion a few booths down. She was just start­ing to ex­plain to me about the new reg­u­la­tion when a male im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cer two booths down started yelling at me in English and ask­ing why I was com­ing to Thai­land, where was my Thai wife (I’ve never ever been mar­ried to a Thai woman), and then went on to tell me to stay in my own coun­try and not to come to Thai­land. I felt like telling him, but didn’t, that if it wasn’t for tourists he might not have his job.

I was al­lowed to en­ter with the usual 28-day visa ex­empt en­try, but was ut­terly flab­ber­gasted at this racial rant by the of­fi­cer. This of­fi­cer has prob­a­bly treated other tourists en­ter­ing Thai­land in the same man­ner and left them with a very neg­a­tive ex­pe­ri­ence with re­gards to Thai­land. ARNIE LUKAS

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