Thai motorcycle taxi drivers block Thai-Malaysian border to protest tighter immigration checks
About 50 Thai motorcycle taxi drivers blocked the Thai-Malaysian border checkpoint Sunday morning to protest what they allege are stricter immigration checks by Malaysian immigration officials.
The taxi drivers have been bringing Thai tourists from the Thai side of the border in Songkhla’s Sadao district to the duty-free shops in Malaysia’s Padang Besar.
The temporary blockade delayed several buses and cars carrying dozens of Malaysian tourists planning visits to Hat Yai.
Thai immigration police, army troops and local administration officials intervened and persuaded the taxi drivers to lift their blockade.
Initially, the drivers refused to disperse and demanded Thai immigration officials negotiate with their Malaysian counterparts to ease the border crossing restrictions.
Recently, the border crossing process has been tightened by requiring production of a valid passport instead of border passes as was the case in the past, but many of the Thai motorcycle taxi drivers do not have passports.