DSI, Interior Ministry to crackdown on ID card scam
The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and the Interior Ministry have joined forces to crackdown on national ID cards being illegally issued to stateless or migrant workers at a ridiculously high price.DSI chief Tarit Pengdith said yesterday that Interior Minister Charupong Ruangsuwan would hold a press conference today to announce actions that will be taken against such gangs, whose recent moves helped launder money for criminals such as Wa drug lord Wei Hsueh-kang and hilltribe drug dealer Ajong Saelu. He said this would lead to a systematic crackdown and prosecution of involved state officials.
Security Crime Bureau director Pol Lt-Colonel Pong-in Intarakhao said Tarit will lead a team of DSI officials to Chiang Mai tomorrow to inspect the procedure of issuing ID cards in targeted areas where as many as 20,000 ID cards were reportedly issued to migrants, Pong-in said. Migrants wanting Thai ID cards usually contact a middleman, who then pays extra to officials to issue the cards, which reportedly differ in price, he explained.
For instance, ID cards that begin with "3" are for citizens whose names were included in the household registration before May 1984, while ID cards starting with a "5" are for citizens whose birth was not reported within the deadline. IDs under these categories can cost between Bt120,000 and Bt180,000, and are issued within one working day.
In comparison, ID cards with the first digit "6" are issued temporarily for migrants who can then apply for a permanent ID with the first digit "8". These cards cost about Bt10,000 to Bt20,000, he added.
A source at the DSI revealed that corruption related to the issuing of ID cards was widespread and especially bad in provinces like Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Tak and Mae Hong Son, where there are more migrant workers.
The DSI has monitored provincial administrative officials who might be involved and learned that officials continue this practice even after being transferred because the middlemen keep bringing them business.
The source said these officials usually had access to ID cards of deceased citizens, those living overseas or those who have made no official use of their household registration for many years, and often steal these identities.
The visiting DSI officers will inspect 100,000 documents used to issue ID cards for 20,000 migrants so these illegal cards can be revoked and those involved punished, the source said. The DSI will also prevent other state officials from getting involved in the scam.