PATONG: Police yesterday evening arrested about 30 people in a crackdown aimed at reducing the number of street peddlers pestering tourists to buy trinkets, plastic flowers, garlands or, in some cases, sex.
Pol Lt Col Boonlert Onklang, of Kathu Police Station, told the Gazette that Kathu police officers arrested about 30 vendors who annoyed tourists walking along the beach road by importuning them to buy their goods.
“Some vendors have been going into bars and disturbing tourists who are trying to relax, by begging them to buy goods. More and more tourists have been complaining to the police about this, and we want to solve this problem,” Col Boonlert said.
He added that some parents were also arrested for sending their young children out to sell flowers until the early hours of the morning. “Children should not be out at that time of night,” he said. “They should be home in bed.”
The vendors were fined 500 baht apiece for causing a public nuisance. “The operation was in line with orders from Pol Col Chalit Thinthanee [the Superintendent of Kathu Police Station]. We have been receiving increasing complaints from tourists, so he wants to see disturbances such as porn, ladyboys and pestering vendors off the street,” Col Boonlert said.
He added that, in the period leading up to last night’s blitz, Kathu Police have also been arresting ladyboys for disturbing tourists. Mostly the ladyboys were trying to sell sex, he said, but in some cases they had been trying to pick the pockets of drunken tourists.
“We arrest ladyboys in Patong every day, but we can’t solve that problem completely because the ladyboys have nowhere to go – most of them have been expelled from the bars in Patong,” he said.
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