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Bangkok: ‘Stop Giving Money to Beggars’

Daniel Kim Views  

South China Morning Post

Thailand’s government has decided to increase its crackdown on beggars in popular tourist areas. Foreigners will also be asked to refrain from giving money to beggars in popular vacation spots, including Bangkok.

According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP) on June 12, Thailand plans to strengthen its crackdown on beggars who flock to the capital city, Bangkok, and other famous vacation spots.

On June 11, Varawut Silpa-archa, the Minister of Social Development and Human Security of Thailand, emphasized, “Various organizations, including the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration and the police, will participate in the crackdown. Regular operations will be carried out to arrest people who habitually beg.”

He added, “Over the past decade, we have arrested about 7,000 beggars, about 30% of whom were foreigners. Foreigners caught will be deported back to their countries, and locals will receive vocational training to find jobs at state-run shelters.”

However, Silpa-archa admitted that such measures cannot stop habitual criminals who make a lot of money through begging.

According to the Thailand law, begging can be punished with a prison term of up to one month or a fine of up to about $300.

According to SCMP and other media outlets, beggars in Bangkok can earn up to approximately $3,000 a month. This means the money earned from begging can be up to ten times the fine.

Silpa-archa explained, “There are people who earn up to approximately $3,000 a month during peak seasons. It is suspected that criminal organizations are placing beggars in major places like upscale shopping centers in Bangkok.”

He also said, “As the influx of tourists, which is the mainstay of Thailand’s economy, increases, the problem of people begging in the streets with children or pets has become more serious. We need the help of residents in areas with a high influx of tourists.”

Local police arrested a visually impaired Cambodian woman and her daughter who were begging in a market in the central Thailand province of Samut Prakan on June 11. The police charged them with illegal entry, claiming they earned over $90 a day.

In January, 11 Cambodians, including four children, were also arrested in Pattaya.

Daniel Kim
content@viewusglobal.com

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