Thai beauty queen accuses S. Korean immigration of currency scam


BANGKOK: Thai beauty queen Teeyapar “Nam Petch” Sretsirisuvarna says her trip to South Korea turned sour this week when immigration officials demanded she pay over 37,000 baht (US$1,000) in tax before boarding her flight home.

Miss Earth Thailand 2019 said the officials at the airport told her she must pay tax of 5% on the cash she was carrying on her return trip to Thailand.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday (April 10), Teeyapar explained she was carrying a large sum of cash to South Korea to pay for plastic surgery but had failed to go through with the procedure and therefore had to bring the money home.

“Three immigration officers at [Incheon International] Airport stopped me and notified that I had to pay tax of 1.4 million won [37,110 baht] since I was carrying more than US$10,000 in cash,” she said.

The 31-year-old beauty queen said she showed them evidence of the currency exchange transaction that indicated the cash was the amount she had brought into the country.

However, the immigration officials insisted she had to pay the tax, though they offered to reduce the amount to 4%. Teeyapar said she ended up paying as she did not want to miss her flight.

The beauty queen argued that currency tax is normally imposed on incoming passengers to deter money laundering, and should not be enforced on outgoing passengers carrying their own cash back home.

Her post ended with the hashtags #ripkorea and #touristscam.

Commenting on her post, one netizen pointed out that passengers carrying more than US$10,000 into South Korea must declare the money, after which they will receive a certificate of declaration. They can then carry more than $10,000 when they leave the country and present the certificate to avoid having to declare the sum or pay the tax.

The netizen said that while Teeyapar had shown immigration officials currency exchange evidence, she had not been able to produce the certificate, so she was not exempted from paying tax. - The Nation/ANN

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