Riot police to check passports

Riot police to check passports

Forty female riot police officers will be deployed to help ease the increasing workload at immigration desks at Suvarnabhumi airport today.

After years of resistance, airport authorities have introduced the "snake line" for arriving passengers.

Pol Maj Gen Natthorn Phrosunthorn, chief of Immigration Division 2 which supervises five international airports in the country, said the female officers, from the so-called Sweet Company, or Kong Roi Namwan, will help with passport checks to speed up immigration clearance of passengers.

More immigration officers will also be brought in to staff all immigration booths during peak hours, he said.

Pol Maj Gen Natthorn said screening should improve further after an automatic passport screening system, known as auto-gates, is installed at the airport on April 11. The installation of the 16 auto-gates will be split equally between the departure area and arrival halls.

The system can process a passenger's passport in 32 seconds, compared to 45 seconds if it is handled manually.

Pol Maj Gen Natthorn said a project is under way to improve airport space at Suvarnabhumi, in which an x-ray system will be shifted to a mezzanine floor. More space will be opened up to ease the congestion at immigration as a result.

Suvarnabhumi airport director Somchai Sawasdipol said the airport will give 100,000 baht a day to support the Immigration Division 2's efforts to hire more staff to handle passengers during peak hours.

Mr Somchai said the airport has also employed 57 outside staff to pre-check passengers' documents before they reach immigration counters.

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