Karen News Junta Adopts UID Smart Card System for Thailand-Myanmar Cross-Border Passes Myawaddy Myanmar- Thai Border

possessing a 10-digit Unique Identification Number (UID) assigned to digital identification smart cards, with the system transition started on May 1.

In order to obtain digital smart cards with a 10-digit code, individuals are required to submit comprehensive personal and biometric information, following which the authorities will issue border passes permitting bridge crossing only after verification of these smart cards.

“We implemented this change because there have been instances of individuals using fake pink National Identification Cards (NICs). From now on, only those with smart cards will be permitted to travel to Mae Sot. The computer will verify all information by entering the 10-digit code. Border passes will be granted only after matching fingerprints, retina scans, and other details”, an immigration official told KIC.

A source close to the Myawaddy Immigration Department revealed that the enhanced system has been utilized to apprehend individuals accused of crimes, those wanted for political reasons, and participants in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM).

Because of the sudden shift in border pass regulations, travelers arriving in Myawaddy and seeking to cross the border were compelled to wait in long queues at the local immigration office to obtain smart cards.

According to a resident of Myawaddy who preferred to remain anonymous, individuals seeking expedited smart card acquisition can contact agents, and pay a service fee ranging from 50,000 to 100,000 MMK for prompt processing.

“Most of the Myawaddy locals already have their smart cards. Only a few visit the office for minor corrections to their information. Currently the lines at the immigration office are mainly from people outside the area. Those eager to speed up the process can contact agents and pay 50,000 – 100,000 MMK for quick service”, he said.

Temporary residents in Mae Sot have also expressed concerns about potential issues arising from not possessing smart cards during inspections, upon returning to the Myanmar side.

While it is too early to say the Myanmar -Thai Freedom Bridge has entirely returned to normal with an enhanced documentation screening and security system in place since May 1.

The support from the KNA (Karen National Army/ Border Forces) militia had enabled the remnants of Junta’s 257th battalion Junta to regain control of the two border bridges and some parts of Myawaddy township after losing three military bases to the KNLA- led resistance last month. Now the situation appears to be relatively calm after the tactical withdrawal of the KNLA/KNU- led revolutionary forces.

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