Thais warned not to bring ‘yahom’ to Netherlands

    A bottle of Five Pagodas 'yahom' and its label are shown.

    Thai tourists are advised not to bring yahom, or herbal powder, with agarwood as an ingredient with them to the Netherlands, or they could face charges.

    The Foreign Ministry’s Protection of Thai Nationals Abroad Division posted on Facebook on Tuesday the “Five Pagodas” brand of herbal powder was prohibited from entering the country because it contained endangered plant species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites).

    Yahom is used to relieve lightheadedness and gastronomic problems. The brown powder can be mixed with water and taken orally or the powder can be used as smelling salts.

    “Dutch customs officials are stringent about the import rules and violators could be prosecuted. But visitors can also appeal and complain about their actions,” it wrote.

    Since the powder’s label shows a forbidden ingredient, visitors need to seek permits before bringing them into the country.

    While the department did not specify which ingredient is prohibited, a comparison with the Cites list shows Aquilaria agallocha Roxb, a substance extracted from agarwood, could be the culprit.

    The department also alerted Thai visitors about other Dutch rules.

    “The Dutch customs is also strict with parts of tigers or large cats, crocodiles (more than three pieces) and monitor lizards, which require import permits.”

    It noted the officials tends to be stricter with Dutch nationals or residents who have flown from Thailand than they are with Thai tourists.

    According to the department, ‘items of interest’ for those arriving from Thailand are: arms including slingshots; orchids with roots but not fumigated cut orchids; cash of more than €10,000, which must be declared; herbal or Chinese medicines; and goods worth more than €430 in total, which has to be declared for value-added tax.

    The department suggested visitors check the following online channels for more information: website Twitter: @douane. It also has a mobile app called “Douane reizen” available for download for both iOS and Android.

    Visitors who are not sure whether the items they plan to bring with them are allowed may submit the pictures and labels to the above channels.


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