Phetchaburi woman gets Thai ID after 44 years

Phetchaburi woman gets Thai ID after 44 years

Bureaucratic snag fixed after officials discover Chinese tour guide held Thai ID in woman's name

Suthin Ketkaew, 44, proudly shows off her first Thai ID card, after officials learned that a Chinese woman had used her name to obtain a Thai ID illegally. (Capture from a YouTube video uploaded by Petchpoom Channel)
Suthin Ketkaew, 44, proudly shows off her first Thai ID card, after officials learned that a Chinese woman had used her name to obtain a Thai ID illegally. (Capture from a YouTube video uploaded by Petchpoom Channel)

PHETCHABURI: A Thai woman deprived of her rights to state benefits for 44 years burst into tears after receiving a Thai ID card for the first time, bringing an end to a tale with an unusual twist.

In the course of investigating the case, officials also discovered that a Chinese woman had used Suthin Ketkaew’s name to obtain a Thai ID card and was working illegally as a tour guide.

Tourist police on Friday took Ms Suthin, 44, of Ban Laem district, to apply for her Thai ID card at the district office. Emerging from the office, she smiled and proudly showed the card to reporters.

She explained that she had lived with her aunt since childhood after her parents separated. She had applied for a Thai ID card earlier but was not approved because her name was not in the civil registration system at the Ban Laem district office. She did not know what to do at the time.

Since then, she has not received any state welfare benefits due to a lack of a national ID card. She admitted she felt deeply hurt and hopeless.

But her life took a new twist after police arrested a woman who was illegally holding a Thai ID card issued under her name. 

Authorities subsequently confirmed Ms Suthin’s Thai status in the civil registration records.

Tourist police at Suvarnabhumi airport originally arrested the Chinese woman on Oct 2 last year for illegally holding a Thai ID card under the name of Tassanee, or Pathum Iemsri. The woman had worked a tour guide, but she could not speak Thai clearly. 

This prompted investigators to check further and they found she was not a Thai national, said Pol Lt Col Apirung Prianmongkhol, an inspector with Tourist Police Division 3.

Investigators found that the Chinese woman had earlier used the name Suthin Ketkaew to apply for a Thai ID card before changing the name to Pathum Iemsri and later to Tassanee Iemsri.


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