Ongoing investigations are underway regarding three Thai officials from the Registration Department in the Mae Sot district of Tak province.
They are accused of soliciting bribes amounting to 30 million baht in exchange for issuing ID cards to 700 migrants from Myanmar in the previous three months.
The mayor of Mae Sot, Prasert Puanglakorn, has officially sanctioned the relocation of these officials to non-operational roles in different departments, pending the outcome of the municipal investigation.
The house registration system issues a ‘pink card’ to documented foreigners as evidence of their legal status. The card, which remains valid for a decade, can be used to facilitate work applications.
The implicated officials have reportedly provided identification cards to 700 individuals from Myanmar, including refugees and affiliates of insurgent groups such as the “People’s Defence Forces”.
The informant specified that the organization operates within Myanmar’s Kayah state.
The informant also noted that during the last three months, the officials have been issuing between 15 to 20 ID cards daily, charging each recipient 40,000–100,000 baht, thereby accumulating illegal funds ranging from 28 to 30 million baht.
The method by which the false card issuing became public knowledge is yet unclear.
The informant further disclosed that Governor Somchai Kitcharoenrungroj of Tak had received a substantial amount of grievances from residents and officials alike concerning the corruption.
Thai citizens requiring registration or renewal of their ID cards at the Mae Sot district office expressed discontent about the unusually long queues due to migrants registering for pink ID cards, added the informant.
In response, Mr. Somchai initiated an investigation into the registration section at the Mae Sot district office.
Inspectors visiting the residence of a Thai intermediary discovered that more than 100 names of Myanmar migrants had been included in his house registration, suggesting that the scope of the investigation will broaden.
Concurrently, a wave of airstrikes executed by the Myanmar military has resulted in the displacement of Kayah state residents to Thailand’s Mae Hong Son.
Since the commencement of conflicts between Myanmar’s military junta and rebel forces on June 13, a total of 3,879 Myanmar nationals have sought refuge.