I came back from Udon Immigration today annoyed on two counts - one, with myself, because having been here many years and quite a number of dealings with both Nong Khai and Udon offices, I paid without much query 600 baht (+ photo money 100 baht) probable 'Songkran Party' money for the issue of two 'confirmation of address' letters, which MIGHT usually be issued free. No receipt ( there were several weak smiles from officers and waiting customers when I asked for a receipt)and fairly sure the money went straight in a handbag. Secondly, of course, angry that these officers making money on the side is tolerated, in spite of any noises made about being professional and not corrupt.
Maybe, sadly, I'm expected to 'swallow it' in Thailand, but I was thinking of returning and complaining to the Number 1 there. Not a fortune, of course, and for what was a helpful, friendly and efficient service (but with good reason?) I would quite happily have paid for the letters - IF official costs. I wonder if there is an argument for farangs complaining more regularly, so Immigration realise we're not 'soft touches', although that could prove counter-productive, individually and generally, and rather like banging one's head against a wall anyway?
One doesn't have to be clever with numbers to calculate how much very nice extra money some officers are making.
Incidentally, it seemed a very typical Thai red tape exercise to generate two special letters (one would have sufficed for the Vehicle Office, as one had to tick the purpose of the letter in boxes at the bottom) on the computer with photos attached. Phew! Cynically, perhaps it meant another 300 baht?
Has anyone ever seen a scale of charges posted in Immigration? - or just something else left for Officers to make up as they go along. It's known to be 1900 baht for a yearly extension of visa, but for other processes? I've seen rates pasted up in e.g. Land Offices and Vehicle Offices, not that something in an envelope doesn't help there too on occasions!