Hundreds of Malaysian tourists were stranded at the Thai-Malaysian border checkpoint in Sadao district, Songkhla province on Saturday night, after Malaysian immigration officials closed the checkpoint at 11pm.
The closure of the checkpoint left about 200 cars and buses, heading back to Malaysia, stranded on the Thai side of the border.
A Thai PBS reporter in Sadao district says that all the stranded vehicles and their passengers had already been processed by Thai immigration officials, but they could not proceed to Malaysia because the gate was locked at 11pm sharp, which is the normal closing time.
The reporter said that about 25,000 Malaysian tourists travelled to Songkhla province during the long holidays, which coincided with the Malaysian national day or Hari Merdeka, on August 31st, giving a boost to tourism business in Hat Yai. Many of the tourists returned home on Saturday.
The closure of the checkpoint late Saturday night caused resentment among the tourists, but the Malaysian immigration officials refused to reopen the gate, forcing some tourists to seek accommodation in Sadao district, while others remained in their vehicles at the checkpoint until it was reopened this morning.
President of the Hotels Association in Hat Yai, Sitthipong Sitthipatharaprapha, reportedly said he will consult the provincial governor and relevant agencies to resolve the problem, noting that it may affect the Thai tourism sector.
Source: Thai PBS World