BANGKOK, Feb 13 – Thailand’s Department of Consular Affairs’ director-general on Thursday affirmed that passport issuance can continue normally despite political protests.
Thongchai Chasawat, director-general, said the service is sufficient for 7,000 applicants/day on average, and newly-issued passports can be picked up on time.
He estimated that Thai nationals apply for the issuance of 1.4 million passports/year.
The senior foreign ministry official noted that tomorrow the service will be open as usual at 17 locations despite it being a Buddhist public holiday, except at Ministry of Labour. The passport issuance service is closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
Mr Thongchai said to facilitate the public, his department will open eight more booths at its temporary office at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre (QNCC) to issue passports.
Regarding having department staff returning to work at the office on Chaeng Wattana Road, he said negotiations are still ongoing. However, there are factors concerning the safety of personnel which must be 100 per cent certain.
Mr Thongchai said if problems on issuing passports occur, it will take up to nine months to restore the passport-making machine.
Queuing tickets for passports were fully picked up at QNCC before noon today.