People queuing up at the Thai Immigration office at the Malaysia-Thai border in Wang Kelian yesterday. Pix by Azhar Ramli

PADANG BESAR: The RM2 “tea money” practice may have been abolished at Malaysia-Thai border checkpoints, but those travelling in cars will now have to pay 25 baht (RM3) before entering Thailand from Padang Besar.

The 25 baht fee is for car owners, while passengers will be charged an additional five baht (RM0.60) per person.

Checks at the Sadao-Padang Besar border checkpoint showed that only Thai currency was accepted for the fee payment at the border checkpoint.

It was learned that the currency requirement was to smoothen the fee collection process by the country’s Immigration officers.

Travellers who failed to make payment in baht would be asked to visit a moneychanger near the checkpoint before having their documents verified.

The fee collection is between 5am and 8.30am, 12pm and 1pm, and 4.30pm and 9pm on working days. On weekends, the collection lasts for the full day.

However, those entering Thailand on foot and by motorcycle do not have to pay any fees or the RM2 tea money during normal working hours.

At the Satun-Wang Kelian border checkpoint, any money inserted in passports or border passes, no matter the currency, would be returned to travellers.

For those who enter Thailand through the Sadao-Padang Besar checkpoint on foot, their travellling distance in the country is restricted to only a few kilometres beyond the border.

Thai Immigration police commissioner Natthathorn Prohsunthorn announced on Tuesday the halt to the RM2 or 16 baht collection from travellers entering southern Thailand from Malaysia during normal working hours at the Sadao checkpoint.

Some 5,000 people enter southern Thailand via Sadao every day, with between RM10,000 and RM12,000 in “tea money” collected by Thai Immigration officers at the checkpoint every day.

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