Authorities at Second Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge Investigated for Collecting Unofficial Passport Fees

Cross border bus trips restart today between Mukdahan and Savannakhet.
Cross border bus trips restart between Mukdahan and Savannakhet in 2022.

Residents have raised the issue of corruption at the second Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge that connects Savannakhet with Mukdahan, after officials were reported collecting unofficial fees for entry and exit passport stamps.

Head of the Management Board at the 2nd Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge, Lieutenant Colonel Lamphon Xaythong, released a statement to the press in late July, clarifying that officials are not allowed to charge for stamping passports at the border crossing, either on entry or departure, and that no charge is officially levied by the government.

The matter was already raised last month when locals complained that a fee of THB 200 was being collected for passport stamps. However, contrary to Lt. Col. Xaythong’s statement, some residents claimed that the fee has now increased from THB 200 to THB 250 for both entry and exit.

The continued, unlawful fees for passport stamps have left many locals infuriated, prompting them to call for a thorough investigation into the unscrupulous actions of authorities at the border checkpoint.

According to Lao Phatthana Newspaper, an investigation was conducted on 25 July to investigate the allegations, and Lt. Col. Xaythong assured that anyone found to have committed an offense would be prosecuted in strict compliance with the law, stating that there would be no exception regardless of the designation of the offender.

As of now, there has been no update on whether any officials have been prosecuted in connection with these allegations.