Automatic passport screening machines on Sunday were introduced at the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge border checkpoint in Nong Khai with the aim to accelerate the screening process to identify fake passports and people with arrest warrants.
Immigration Bureau chief Pol Lt-General Natthorn Prorsunthorn said it was the first land checkpoint where the bureau had chosen to install the machines, given that as many as 15,000 people travelled through the checkpoint each day.
The machines in the “auto channel” system consist of a two-tiered system, Natthorn said. The first system inspects whether a passport is fake and the second scrutinises passport holders’ fingerprints. The system alerts authorities if it finds that the fingerprints match with a criminal database.
The system, however, only works with Thai passports at present given the state of the database, he said.
The machines have already been installed at Suvarnabhumi Airport and have screened more than 20 million passport holders, Natthorn said, adding that major checkpoints in Songkhla and Sa Kaeo provinces would be the next recipients.
Lt-Colonel Saisaming Seewilai, director-general of Laos Immigration Department, added that Thailand and Laos should have a tighter information-sharing system given that the flow of people crossing the border had been increasing following the official opening of the Asean Community in 2015.