22nd September – Russians’ allowed to continue with border runs

Lt Gen Sakda Chepakdee, high ranking member of the recent Coup and currently acting commissioner in charge of Thai immigration has recently confirmed that Russians can in fact enter Thailand as often as they like, under the last agreement between Russia and Thailand on visa exemption rules.

After the Russian foreign Ministry recently responded to the new changing of the ‘border run’ rules, by stating that Russia and Thailand have a ‘specific’ agreement which states that Russian citizens may enter Thailand visa-free as often as they like, each time using the free 30 day entry stamp, since the agreement has not been deemed invalid by either the Thai or Russian government. Effectively this allows Russians to continue to use the recently banned “out-in” border runs, and they can use it “as many times as they like”.

However this comes with a gentle reminder that the rules are being strongly followed since the Coup, with Gen Sakda adding that “They need to show proof that they are entering for tourism purposes”, a gentle reminder that anyone in the country live or working on a tourist visa will be routed out. Going on to say “We have found that [a lot] do not come for tourism purposes. Lots of them are working illegally and are doing ‘out-in’ visa runs”… in order to carry on living and working illegally in the Kingdom.

Despite Russia and Thailand’s ‘close’ friendship, Gen Sakda points out that Russians will have to follow the rules like everyone else, and nothing was agreed which states Russians will not undergo the same entry tests as everyone else. With Lt Somchai Jitsa’ngop, Deputy Commander of immigration point out that, “the normal conditions for tourists who want to travel in Thailand apply. Russia is not a special case. If Russian tourists want to travel in Thailand, they have to ask.”

The rules clearly state that the re-entering Russian ‘tourist’ will have to show proof of hotel bookings and sufficient funds to support themselves while in county, if they do not have this they will not be allowed in. Lt Somchai mentioning that “Tourists can come to Thailand but they have to inform us about their accommodation plans.” This type of strong, rule following talk is typical of the governing body since the overthrowing of the last government, which Thailand under their rule was thought to be ‘corrupt’.

We will just have to wait and see what happens to this agreement, most likely the temporary Thai government won’t interfere with any prior international agreements or treaties, but instead clamp down on the illegal actions, a noble course of action the military have claimed to be their main ambition of their Coup-de-tar.

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