Nearly 30% of Thailand’s beggars are foreigners

Photo courtesy of The Nation

Thailand’s bustling streets are teeming with beggars, and the latest statistics reveal a startling trend: nearly 30% of them are foreigners. Social Development and Human Security Minister Varawut Silpa-archa made the revelation today, June 11, addressing a surge of complaints on social media about the growing presence of beggars, especially outside Bangkok’s major shopping malls.

According to Varawut, approximately 8,000 beggars have been arrested between 2014 and 2024. He noted that these beggars often resort to new and emotional tactics to solicit money, such as begging with young children or pets.

“Beggars caught with unrelated children will face criminal charges.”

The ministry, in collaboration with the police and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA), conducts street checks at least five times a month to combat the issue. Foreign beggars are deported, while Thai beggars are sent to reception homes for career training. Repeat offenders, regardless of nationality, will face charges.

Varawut acknowledged the challenge of eradicating begging entirely due to the meagre fines compared to the lucrative earnings from begging.

“Some beggars can earn up to 100,000 baht per month in tourist hotspots during peak season.”

The minister urged the public to stop giving money to beggars as a long-term solution, emphasising that ministry officials are available around the clock to handle complaints.

“It’s difficult to remove all beggars because the fines are minimal compared to their earnings.”

Varawut stressed the importance of public cooperation in addressing this persistent issue, reported The Nation.

In related news, Thai police arrested a British man after he allegedly begged for money to buy drugs outside a convenience store in Koh Pha Ngan, an island in the southern province of Surat Thani.

Locals on Koh Pha Ngan reported to authorities after seeing a foreign man begging outside a 7-Eleven convenience store and using drugs in the area. Officers from the Koh Pha Ngan Police Station and the Tourist Police went to the store near the Phan Thip Market and arrested the foreigner on April 17.

Bangkok NewsEconomy NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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