Thailand offers amnesty to ‘little ghosts’ in South Korea

The Thai government calls for all Thais working illegally in South Korea – known as ‘little ghosts‘ – to return to Thailand before February 28.

Any little ghost who does not return to Thailand before this date will face a 30 million won fine (800,000 baht), warned the government.

Today, government spokesperson Ratchada Thanadirek revealed that the South Korean Immigration Office reported that 100,000 Thai people are currently working illegally in South Korea.

Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs would therefore like to inform any Thais who illegally entered Korea that they can escape punishment if they return to Thailand before February 28.

Little ghosts will be exempt from the 800,000 baht fine so long as they return before the month’s end and report their planned return to Thailand either at an immigration office in South Korea or online at

To report, the little ghost must provide supporting documents, namely their passport and evidence of purchased plane tickets to Thailand.

Little ghosts who do not return to Thailand, or those that don’t report their return, will not only face a hefty fine but will face trouble entering South Korea in the future, warned the spokesperson.

Ratchada said Thai people are welcome to work in South Korea but must do so legally via the Department of Employment.

Thais should not fall for scams of people offering illegal work in South Korea. Little Ghosts do not have basic welfare rights, are not covered by insurance, are often taken advantage of with low wages and have to live in fear of being found out by the authorities.

The government’s announcement comes just days after a Thai family pleaded for help for their relative, a little ghost, who fell into a coma in South Korea after undergoing urgent surgery for a brain haemorrhage.

The family are doing everything they can to have Narong – who remains unconscious – returned to Thailand.

Narong’s mother Buarat says she knows the medical bills in South Korea will be high and the family is stuck because they don’t have much money.

The family decided to publicise their story through the media to warn others against working illegally abroad in case they fall ill and need help.


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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.