Thailand threatens jail for foreign tourists who sneak in cheap fruit

By Hoang Vu   April 13, 2023 | 06:44 am PT
Thailand threatens jail for foreign tourists who sneak in cheap fruit
A boy at a durian market in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo by Reuters
The Thai government has warned foreign tourists that if they bring fresh fruits into Thailand without a valid permit they could face one year in jail.

The Department of Agriculture reminded international travelers and Thai citizens who return from abroad that importing fruits from aboard without a phytosanitary certificate is illegal under the current law.

Those who violate the law are subject to a fine of 20,000 baht (US$584), a one-year prison term, or both.

"This is a travel season in Thailand when we have many tourists from Thailand and outside, especially those who come back from South Korea and Japan, where fresh fruits like persimmons and grapes cost less than in Thailand," Rapeephat Chantarasriwong, the department’s chief, said as cited by Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post.

Officials said Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport frequently seizes unauthorized fresh fruits and vegetables from inbound travelers.

Earlier this month, an Australian tourist was detained at Phuket Airport for attempting to import papaya and coconuts without the required documents.

Last year, a couple from Britain was intercepted at a Bangkok airport for trying to smuggle in mangoes stashed inside their luggage.

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