Surge in beggars in Malaysia’s Kelantan state during Ramadan

The streets of Malaysia’s Kelantan state, which shares its borders with Thailand, have witnessed a surge in the number of beggars this year, according to a report by the Kelantan Social Welfare Department. This surge, notably observed during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, includes Thai nationals among other foreign beggars.

Kelantan state official, Said Sudip, noted an unprecedented increase in beggars, both local and foreign, especially from Thailand. The surge is attributed to the traditional benevolence of people during the month of Ramadan, Sudip said.

“Every year, during the month of Ramadan there is a trend in such activities with a significant increase in the number of beggars, both local and imported, especially from Thailand.”

Kelantan, located in northeastern Malaysia, is adjacent to Thailand’s Narathiwat province. This proximity facilitates the movement of people between the two countries via the Sungai Kolok and Tak Bai checkpoints, which are the primary border crossings between the two nations. The Kolok River serves as the natural boundary separating the two countries.

In an intriguing revelation, the Kelantan official mentioned that a beggar could earn an average of more than 300 ringgit (equivalent to 2,300 baht) per day during the fasting month. This information was derived from data collected by the Kelantan Social Welfare Department.

This year, Ramadan started on March 11 and concluded on April 10, translating to a month-long window of increased generosity, and consequently, a rise in begging activities.

Malaysia isn’t the only nation with illegal beggars. Last month, the Thai authorities in Chon Buri province conducted a crackdown on illegal begging, targeting a Cambodian beggars’ ring in Pattaya.

Led by Police chief Colonel Napatspong Khotsitsuriyamani and Pol. Col. Nawin Thirawit, the operation aimed to safeguard Pattaya’s tourism charm. What they discovered during their crackdown sent shockwaves through the city.

In a bid to preserve the positive image of the renowned tourist destination, officials combed through various hotspots, exposing a clandestine group of 11 individuals, including seven Cambodian women and four children. These beggars had snuck into Thailand through covert natural routes in Sa Kaeo, Chanthaburi, and other provinces, endangering their lives to solicit money in Pattaya.

Crime NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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