Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Lost ID cards have led to corruption amongst Immigration authorities in Ye township

HURFOM (Rehmonnya): Same day service is available to villagers who are seeking an immediate replacement for a lost ID, but are forced to pay steep price hike.

For villagers who have lost their ID cards in Ye township, Immigrations authorities are now offering two methods for seeking a replacement. The normal option is the standard application process - the applicant answers a battery of questions, pays the fee of 3,000 Kyat, and then waits several months. The alternative now offered comes with no questions, and the card can be picked up the same day, but at a cost 20,000 Kyat. This alternative cost is 15 times the price of the normal replacement fee.

According to a 30 year old villager from Andin village who had recently had to have his ID replaced, “I decided to apply for a new ID by the normal method; I paid, answered a million questions, and then I had to wait six months. My brother on the other hand chose the ‘special’ method, and picked up his ID card that evening”

Villagers who travel face many checkpoints along the way, and authorities check ID cards everywhere. If a villager does not have one, they receive a fine and are forced to return home. Authorities will make no exceptions about villagers traveling without ID cards. In once case a villager had a letter of permission from the village headman, they were fined and many questions were asked.

“Once I was stopped at the cement bridge which is situated at the entrance of Ye town,” said a 40 year old village from Ye town, “I had lost my ID card, but I had a permission letter from a member of the Township Peace and Development Council (TPDC) that said I was travelling back fromYabu village which is in Kaleinaung Sub-township, Tenasserim Division. While I was allowed back into Ye town, I was fined 3,000 kyat.”

“Many people in Ye township have been migrating to Thailand and need to get their ID cards as quick as possible. They have to pay more money, but they are happy to because they have to travel immediately,” according to a source who spoke with a member of the immigration authority, “But for people who don’t need to travel, they can pay the lower price. However the service is slower because the agents who make the IDs are lazy about the work when they only make the regular fee a villager must pay for a card replacement.”

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