Subject: News/HK: Customs officers learning Thai after prostitute row
From: Melanie Orhant (email@example.com)
Date: Fri Jul 16 1999 - 10:13:34 EDT
Customs officers learning Thai after prostitute row
BY GLENN SCHLOSS
The South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), July 15, 1999
More than 100 Customs officers are learning Thai in the wake of allegations
that women from Thailand are being targeted at the airport as suspected
But the Immigration Department - at the centre of the claims - has rejected
an offer from the Thai Consulate to give its officers language and culture
Thai Consul-General Rathakit Manathat said he had discussed the treatment
of Thai visitors and raised the idea with heads of both departments.
Customs chief John Tsang Chun-wah had agreed to the offer while Immigration
Director Ambrose Lee Siu-kwong had indicated a similar course was already
available for officers, he said.
Mr Rathakit said he was not disappointed by the Immigration Department's
response and told Mr Lee the consulate was always ready to assist.
An immigration spokesman said 11 officers attended a Thai-language course
Mr Rathakit said he had told Mr Tsang not many Thai visitors could speak
English or Cantonese and that the two agreed communication was a big problem.
Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan raised the treatment of female visitors
during a meeting with Tung Chee-hwa last month, said Mr Rathakit.
The South China Morning Post revealed in March that immigration officers
were questioning first-time female Thai visitors in an effort to stop
would-be prostitutes from entering Hong Kong. Immigration officials denied
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