3 in hot water over B30m 'pink ID' case

3 in hot water over B30m 'pink ID' case

Tak: Three Registration Department officials in Mae Sot district are under investigation after they allegedly took 30 million baht in bribes to issue identification cards to 700 Myanmar migrants in the past three months.

Prasert Puanglakorn, mayor of Mae Sot, signed an order transferring the officials to non-active posts in other departments, pending an investigation by the municipality.

The pink card is issued to foreigners registered in the house registration system as proof of legality. Valid for 10 years, it can help them apply for work.

The registration officials issued ID cards to 700 Myanmar people, including refugees and members of rebel groups, such as the People's Defence Forces, which is active in Myanmar's Kayah state, a source said.

The source said the officials issued on average 15–20 ID cards per day in the past three months, demanding 40,000–100,000 for each card, which totalled 28–30 million in bribes, the source said. It is not known how word of the fake card issuing spread.

The source said Tak governor Somchai Kitcharoenrungroj had received an overwhelming number of complaints from locals and officials about the bribery.

Thais who had to register or renew their ID cards at the Mae Sot district office complained of unusually long lines with migrants registering for pink ID cards, the source said.

Mr Somchai then ordered an investigation into the registration division at the Mae Sot district office.

Officials who visited the house of a Thai agent found the names of over 100 Myanmar migrants were added to his house registration. The investigation will be expanded.

Meanwhile, a series of airstrikes by the Myanmar military sent people from Kayah state fleeing to Thailand's Mae Hong Son.

A total of 3,879 Myanmar nationals sought refuge amid clashes between Myanmar's military junta and rebel forces, which began on June 13.

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