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Big Joke takes credit for “SMS notification” scheme – but was it really his bright idea?

The Thai Immigration Bureau website is praising their new chief to the skies for coming up with the “innovation” to notify people about the imminent expiry of their visas.

They said that “SMS Notification” was being done in Chonburi province in a “first for Thailand”.

Gushing praise came from members of the public who posted on the site.

However, Thaivisa published a story from Daily News on November 17th that stated it was the idea of Prajuab Khiri Khan immigration chief Pol Col Chalermchon Laemthong.

No mention was made of Maj-Gen Surachate Hakparn on that occasion although he had already taken over at the helm of the Immigration Bureau.

So who’s bright idea was it really?

Critics of the high profile Maj-Gen have said that he takes credit for the work of his underlings but no mention was made about the Prajuab SMS scheme on the latest IB website post.

The IB website today refers to their boss by his nickname of  “Big Joke” in the first line of their post praising the chief for his bright idea. This marks a departure from the usual stiff protocol.

They said the SMS scheme was in line with measures from prime minister Prayut Chan-ocha and deputy Prawit Wongsuwan to stop people overstaying their visas in Thailand.

In a “first” in Thailand the SMS scheme would be introduced in Chonburi because that is the province that has so many tourists and foreign residents who would benefit from the bright idea.

It was deemed as a great help to those who had been forgetful or misunderstood their expiry date.

But the IB blurb reiterated that Big Joke would come down hard on anyone deliberately overstaying.

That could mean deportation and five to ten years on a blacklist depending on the case, they warned.

Apart from coming up with the innovation Big Joke was also praised for saving money – the SMS notifications would mean that letters and postage could be saved.

Chonburi immigration chief Pol Col Songprote Sirisukha and Region 3 commander Maj-Gen Atchayon Kraithong were also mentioned as having played a role in the SMS plans.

Thai Immigration Bureau

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