BANGKOK – Citing the need for maintaining order and unity during the transition to reform, the Council for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) announced strict new visa rules for foreigners wishing to enter the kingdom.
Effective today, tourist and non-immigrant business visas will be limited only to persons whose motives for entering Thailand involve solicitation of sex workers, consumption of alcholic beverages and mind-altering illicit substances, attendance at all-night music parties, or petty criminal activity that doesn’t involve politics.
“Thailand can no longer endure the presence of certain types of undesirable persons, such as journalists, academics, NGO employees, teachers, responsible business owners, or those working for charitable social organizations,” said Air Force chief Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong, the NCPO’s economic chief and acting head of Immigration.
“Foreigners who engage in activities such as writing, reading, thinking, discussion, dissemination of truthful information, the betterment of underprivileged people, and empathy with the electoral majority are simply incompatible with maintaining unity among all Thais.”
“We have tried to be patient with these people, but they continue to repeatedly offend with their actions,” he added.
Prajin stressed that Thailand was still a welcoming place with famous hospitality, but that the nation would now focus on attracting “ high quality tourism.”
“We wish to extend our warmest invitations to anyone who would like to sexually exploit our women and lax drug enforcement policies, as well as those seeking self-destructive entertainment that leaves no time or brain cells for the contemplation of society, politics, or justice.”
Foreigners caught reading books on Thai history, or with a blood alcohol level of under 0.1% risked deportation.
Consideration was being made for certain exceptions, such as allowing English teachers who were unqualified to do anything else, so long as those teachers agreed to spend all their earnings on prostitutes and drugs, rather than save up for starting a business.
Short-term tourists from rich nations would still be welcome in Bangkok, so long as they were on package tours that took them directly from their hotels to well-known landmarks such as Wat Arun and the Grand Palace. Upcountry tourism is prohibited under the new rules, to prevent “any possible encounters between foreigners and non-compliant Thai nationals.”
Entry visas would also be contingent upon adequately failing a Thai language test, Prajin added.