16 - 30 November 2013
News Immigration announces VISA-ON-arrival changes
Classical concert at Siam Bayshore
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prior visa, reflecting the ease with which Thai nationals can visit those reciprocally. Down until 2006, all nationalities entitled to 30 days at the airport also received 30 days at any Thai land crossing point. The Thai government of that time believed that there were many unwanted foreigners, especially British and German, who were making frequent trips to the border to avoid the bureaucracy and checks associated with long-stay visas. Thus travellers arriving at land borders were cut to two weeks and restricted to three visa runs in six months. Many commentators at the time said this restriction was both petty and unnecessary as well as failing to identify overstayers, petty criminals, pedophiles and the like. A Thai Immigration source told Pattaya Today, “At the moment Thailand is overhauling its entry policies in preparation for the advent of the ASEAN Economic Community in
just over two years time. As an example, a memorandum of understanding is likely to be signed between Myanmar and Thailand to allow visa-less travel for those arriving by air. Also, the Thai government is actively considering removing the requirement for a visaon-arrival for Chinese visitors who now form the biggest tourist group.” He added that the Immigration Bureau was also trying to reduce the bureaucracy associated with “first-world” travellers from Europe, Japan and the United States as part of the policy to make Thailand the tourist hub of Southeast Asia. It is likely that the new 30 days discretion for some land-border visitors will be extended to other nationalities in due course. “Firstly though, the bureau has to be sure that its computerized systems can manage the huge increase in visitors to Thailand which is envisaged once the ASEAN Economic Community really gets into its stride.”
The first in a series of classical music concerts at Parkview Conference Hall at the Siam Bayshore Hotel featured The Four Seasons by Vivaldi and two string quartets by Mozart. The pieces were performed by Silpakorn Summer Music School directed by Leo Phillips and with violin soloist Tasana Nagavajara.
Pattaya music crackdown begins The Department of Special Investigations (DSI) has begun another periodic campaign against the illegal use of music in the resort’s bars, clubs and karaokes. The United States in particular is said to be unhappy that so many entertainment places have not paid licensing fees and are in breach of
copyright. The maximum penalty under Thai law is 400,000 baht in fines or five years in jail. One enforcement problem is that some highprofile karaokes are owned by influential people, including police officers, who may offer protection in return for a slice of the profits. One
estimate is that a holiday city the size of Pattaya should yield about 70 million baht in licensing taxes every year, whereas the actual figure is less than 400,000 baht. The raids are continuing, but there is little detail available from the investigators at the present time. A separate problem is that
some clubs have been visited in the past by fake policemen or licensing authority officials who have demanded money and menaced the owners. In such circumstances, the proprietors have either paid up or made an official complaint at the police station, in which case a compromise is usually reached by all parties.