The British Ambassador to Thailand H.E. Mark Kent made the announcement in a statement issued on the British Embassy website www.ukinthailand.fco.gov.uk on Tuesday, confirming the closure of the British Consulate which has shocked many in the British community in Pattaya.
Former British Honorary Consul Howard Miller said, “I am shocked by the decision. When I was Honorary Consul, the Consulate was not only busy but for many of the elderly British residents of Pattaya, it was an essential local service which allowed them a local link with the Embassy and would save them a trip to Bangkok to receive documentation for long-stay visas which Immigration require them to present with their visa application.
“I am also puzzled as to why they would keep a Consulate open in Chiang Mai that sees less than a third of the business and consular cases compared to the Pattaya Consulate.
“I can only hope that they will look to reconsider the decision as soon as they can.”
The Ambassador confirmed that a new British Honorary Consul will be appointed in Pattaya but consular cases will be dealt with by the Consular section of the British Embassy.
This decision comes as British Foreign Secretary William Hague visits Thailand after a brief trip to the Democratic Republic of Laos where he re-opened the British Embassy there.
The closure date for the Pattaya Consulate has yet to be confirmed but with the high season months approaching which normally sees an increase in consular cases dealt with by the British Embassy and its network of Consulates and Honorary Consuls, some are questioning the timing of the closure and if it should even be taking place.