Lao Authorities Clarify Passport Violation in Viral Exit Fee Video

Lao Authorities Clarify Passport Violation in Viral Exit Fee Video
FILE: tourists queuing at an immigration office at the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge (photo: Lao Security News)

In response to a viral video exposing an alleged imposition of an excessive exit fee of THB 5000 (around USD 142.37) on a Thai tourist at the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge in Vientiane Capital, the Lao authorities have stepped forward to address the controversy.

The charge was a result of a passport violation, disputing the initial claim of an unjust fee, and that the Thai tourist was charged LAK 700,000 (USD 33.89) instead of THB 5000, Deputy Head of the Border Management Committee, Kidon Kivongxay, explained on 20 November 

Kivongxay revealed that the Thai tourist, identified as Napapron Sugkaseam, lacked a verification stamp upon entering Laos, a violation of the country’s entry-exit and foreign management laws. 

The controversy arose from a TikTok video posted on an account named “kimjihoon645” on 12 November. The video depicted a group of Thai individuals confronting a Lao border officer at the Friendship Bridge, alleging an unfair charge against their friend, Napaporn, upon their return to Thailand.

According to the Thai tourist’s account in the video description, when she entered Laos a few days earlier, there was no indication of a verification stamp issue.

Only upon the group’s return to their homeland, Napaporn was informed that her passport lacked the necessary verification stamp. 

The Lao authorities allegedly demanded she pay THB 5000 (around USD 142.37), prompting the tourists to question the border officer. After negotiations, the officer lowered the price to THB 2500 (around USD 71.23), but Napaporn refused to pay. 

Subsequently, the group was called into the Lao immigration office, where Napaporn raised suspicions against the officials alleging they deliberately ployed to extort money from the Thai tourists. 

Eventually, both parties agreed to settle on a fee of LAK 700,000, which the Thai tourist paid.

However, Kivongxay added that the amount of the charge was suggested by the tourist herself, and the authorities agreed to it.