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Cablegate: Thailand Country Clearance for Doe Bloyd

VZCZCXYZ0019
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBK #5142/01 2710851
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 280851Z SEP 07
FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK
TO RHEGGTN/USDOE GERMANTOWN MD
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9869

UNCLAS BANGKOK 005142

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DOE FOR DWORMLEY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OTRA ENRG KSCA TRGY TH
SUBJECT: THAILAND COUNTRY CLEARANCE FOR DOE BLOYD

REF: STATE 136911

1. Post welcomes and grants country clearance to Cary N. Bloyd,
Energy/Environmental Policy Scientist with the Department of Energy,
who will chair the APEC New and Renewable Energy Technologies Expert
Group Meeting and attend other meetings related to bio-fuels from
October 19-28, 2007 in Bangkok.

2. Post understands no further assistance is requested.

3. Due to limited resources and easy availability of airport
transportation, post policy does not allow for airport meet and
assist. Thai Airways Limousine Service and American Express Airport
Taxi are recommended for persons unfamiliar with Bangkok; these
services are located on the 2nd floor of Suvarnabhumi Airport
(http://www.bangkokairportonline.com) for arriving passengers. The
new airport has limited taxi facilities in the main terminal. If no
taxis are available at the terminal, arriving passengers will have
to board an airport shuttle bus from the main terminal to a nearby
taxi and bus terminal. The cost of a one-way trip varies from 700 to
1500 Baht, depending on the type of vehicle, with an additional 65
Baht for highway tolls. Regular taxis are also available and cost
approximately 225 Baht, not including tolls, and an airport taxi
surcharge of 50 Baht. Currently, the Thai Baht is approximately
34.50/dollar.

4. Embassy point of contact (POC) is James Waller 66-2-205-4712 or
wallerjm@state.gov. After-hours emergency number for the embassy is
66-2-205-4108. Contact your POC in the event of an emergency
situation (natural disaster, terrorist event, etc.) during your
stay.

5. Although visas are not required of holders of U.S. passports
(whether diplomatic, official or tourist) who plan to stay fewer
than 30 days, post nonetheless recommends that TDY travelers obtain
an official visa before coming to Thailand. It is extremely
difficult to extend the 30-day entry permit granted without a visa
at the airport, and fines for overstays are costly.

6. Temporary Memberships to Bangkok's Commissary (Emporium) may be
granted to U.S. Government personnel traveling through Thailand on
TDY orders. TDYers who wish to shop in the Commissary MUST present
his/her Official or Diplomatic U.S. passport to the Commissary
Office along with a copy of this Country Clearance telegram or
Official Orders to gain access. Membership fees will not be charged
to visitors with less than 30 days scheduled in-country, however,
the Commissary charges membership fees ($3.00 per month) for those
on TDY status in country for more than 30 days.

7. SECURITY INFORMATION

--------------------------------------------
A. MANDATORY PERSONAL SECURITY TRAINING:
--------------------------------------------

- All U.S. citizen personnel serving under Chief of Mission
authority in a temporary duty status of 30 days or more must
complete appropriate overseas personal security training prior to
travel (04 State 66580). Employees who have completed the Security
Overseas Seminar course at State's Foreign Service Institute (FSI)
after June 1, 2000 meet this requirement. All other TDYers must
either 1) complete the approved four-day seminar at FSI entitled
"Serving Abroad for Families & Employees (SAFE)" or 2) have their
agency certify to the State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security
that the employee has undergone equivalent security training. The
contact for this certification is Assistant Director of Training,
DS/T, at telephone (703) 205-2617. Country clearance will not be
granted for any traveler with planned TDY in excess of 30 days if
this information is not stated/certified. POC for additional
information is DS_RSOBangkok@state.gov.

--------------
B. CRIME:
--------------

- Crime is generally non-confrontational in nature. Criminal acts
are usually crimes of opportunity such as purse-snatchings, thefts
of unattended property, and pick pocketing. Visitors should be
especially alert in crowded buses, streets, and markets or while on
"tuk-tuks." Visitors should lock valuables in hotel safe deposit
boxes not in their hotel rooms.

- Be aware of common scams and frauds (including credit cards, in
particular). Visitors should only use credit cards at
well-established and reputable businesses. Visitors should be
careful when purchasing branded or copyrighted goods. There are
many pirated counterfeit products in the marketplace; their purchase
is against post regulations and it is illegal to import these
products into the U.S. Be wary of common scams for jewelry, suits,
silks, gems, or antiquities. There are no Thai government-owned or
sponsored gem stores. If victimized, seek assistance from Tourist
Police by dialing 1155.

- Visitors are cautioned from visiting bars involved in the sex
trade. Many of these operate illegally and clients can be subject
to RTG law; they often charge exorbitant drink prices and cover
charges. There are also many incidents of crime against patrons in
these establishments. Drugging and robbing of unwary individuals is
not uncommon. There are sporadic reports of victims being drugged
and robbed or beaten when visiting these bars. The drugs used can
cause serious temporary memory impairment, unconsciousness, and if
overdosed, death.

----------------
C. TRAFFIC:
----------------

- The traffic situation in Bangkok can be difficult and dangerous
for both pedestrians and vehicle occupants. All visitors should be
a1ert to traffic patterns and unexpected motorcycle drivers.
Traffic drives on the left-hand side, opposite from the U.S.,
although there may be a bus lane that flows in the opposite
direction. Pedestrians should use the overhead walkways for
crossing busy streets.

-----------------
D. TERRORISM:
-----------------

- The threat from transnational terrorist groups to the U.S.
Mission in Bangkok is currently ranked medium. Despite stepped up
RTG efforts to monitor its borders, they remain relatively porous
and allow easy illegal access. Transnational terrorist groups,
including Al-Qa'ida and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI), have utilized
Thailand as a transit point.

- The threat from indigenous terrorist groups is currently rated as
low. There is no evidence to indicate that indigenous terrorist
groups are planning acts against U.S. personnel or facilities. The
far south of Thailand has experienced incidents of criminally and
politically motivated violence, including incidents attributed to
armed local Muslim separatist groups. Although Americans have not
been specifically targeted in the past, the indiscriminate nature of
past attacks by these groups - including bombings of public places -
indicates a potential threat to American citizens.

- The State Department is concerned that there is an increased risk
of terrorism in Southeast Asia, including Thailand. Travelers to
Thailand should therefore exercise caution, especially in locations
where Westerners congregate, such as clubs, discos, bars,
restaurants, hotels, tourist areas, and other places frequented by
foreigners.

---------------------------
E. OTHER SECURITY TIPS:
---------------------------

- Visitors should avoid making any pejorative comments about any
members of the Thai Royal Family or engaging in disrespectful
conduct within temples or toward religious objects. Such behavior
can result in arrest and/or expulsion from Thailand.

- Precautions should also be taken not to discuss sensitive or
classified matters outside secure environments or over unsecured
and/or cellular telephones, and to securely safeguard classified or
sensitive materials at the Chancery and not at hotels or
residences.

- Visitors should also review the State Department's Consular
Information Sheet for Thailand and the most recent Worldwide Caution
Public Announcements, which are available via the Internet at
http://travel.state.gov. DOD personnel must review the PACOM Force
Protection Levels for Thailand found at
http://131.84.1.218/staff/at/athome.shtml.

- In essence, visitors to Bangkok must exercise appropriate caution
and be alert to their surroundings with regard to their personal
security. Suspicious incidents/activities should be reported to RSO
Bangkok (tel. 02-205-4000, 24 hrs/day). On behalf of US Embassy
Bangkok, we hope you have a safe and pleasant visit.

Entwistle

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