Thailand launches probe after visa stamps go missing
Bangkok: Thailand`s Foreign Ministry has launched a probe after increasing numbers of visa stamps were reported missing at several of its consulates in Asia.
In the latest instance on Wednesday, 500 visa stamps were found missing from the consulate at Savannakhet in Laos.
A subsequent examination of visa stamps earmarked for this consulate back to 2008 revealed that a total of 500 stickers were missing, including the two detected by the Immigration Bureau.
Nutthavudh Photisaro, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Foreign Ministry, said more investigation is needed into whether local employees or ministry officials are responsible for the disappearance of the stamps.
The initial assumption is that local officials are to blame, he said.
The report of visa stickers missing from the consulate in Laos follows the admission last Wednesday that 300 stamps were missing from the Thai embassy in Kuala Lumpur, and many had been used to enter or leave Thailand.
Another 2,000 visa stamps were found to have disappeared from a mail pouch sent to the Thai embassy at The Hague in the Netherlands.
The airline responsible for carrying the pouch has agreed to pay the value of the visas as compensation.
The Foreign Ministry expects to launch its electronic visa system in October 2014, whereby an image of each applicant will be shown, to help reduce illegal use of Thai visas.
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