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Hong Kong aviation

Forget long queues: Thailand to offer Hongkongers passport scanning at Bangkok airports

The two airports serving Thai capital have ‘world’s longest immigration queues’; scanning system will speed up passage for Singapore, Hong Kong residents

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 August, 2017, 8:01am
UPDATED : Friday, 04 August, 2017, 1:38pm

Hated for triggering travel rage, “the world’s longest immigration queues” at Bangkok’s airports could soon be a thing of the past for travellers from Hong Kong and Singapore.

Thailand’s immigration chief revealed that visitors from Hong Kong and Singapore would soon be eligible to use automatic passport scanners to enter Bangkok – a privilege Thai citizens have enjoyed for some time.

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The processing time per visitor would be reduced from one minute to as little as 20 seconds, immigration bureau commissioner Lieutenant General Nathathorn Prousoontorn told Bangkok newspaper The Nation.

Queuing times for foreign visitors at the Thai capital’s Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports are frequently criticised by arriving travellers who have to wait an hour or more.

Cathy Adams, a Hong Kong-based magazine editor, tweeted on Sunday: “26 hour stopover in Bangkok. Great weather, great food, not so great queue at BKK [Bangkok Airport] immigration.”

Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, also said on the microblogging platform that he “just arrived in Bangkok to longest immigration queue I’ve ever seen!”

And a British citizen teaching in Thailand said: “Just landed in Bangkok. Got the world’s longest immigration queue to get through.”

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The Thai commissioner said a Singapore visitor deal was “nearly 100 per cent complete” but “more discussions” were needed for Hong Kong.

Thailand has selected Singapore and Hong Kong as part of the faster immigration arrival scheme because people from the two places are the most frequent visitors.

A government spokeswoman said: “We welcome all arrangements from other countries and regions offering greater travel convenience for HKSAR passport holders, and will continue our effort to enhance travel convenience.”