Six Chinese nationals caught begging on Bangkok streets
Yasemin Beyza Uçar
South and East Asia Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defence
Six Chinese nationals have been arrested since the 10th of November for begging on Bangkok streets. The detentions were followed on social media platforms, and people were hinting that human traffickers might be using Thailand’s visa waiver to bring in victims to beg on the streets. These individuals who were caught begging on the streets also had severe facial deformities, crippled hands and fingers (The Nation, 2023).
According to the Immigration Bureau Chief Lieutenant-General Ittipol Ittisarnronnachai, these Chinese Nationals were not victims of torture, physical abuse, or coercion by human traffickers. Ittipol stated during a press conference on the 27th of November 2023 that the detainees admitted to entering Thailand voluntarily after finding out that begging in Bangkok, the capital, could get them up to 10,000 baht a day. This makes around 380 Singapore Dollars a day (The Straits Times, 2023).
The beggars insisted that they worked independently, and no evidence was found that any Thai national benefitted from their earnings. These people were aged between 28 to 41. The four women and two men stated that their skins burned in their childhood and caused all those scars and deformities. The Immigration security camera footage proved that these six people already had those scars and deformities when they arrived in Thailand. Their deformities created some empathy and pitifulness, which got tourists to donate money.
The most common areas for them to beg for money were footbridges and places close to shopping malls (Wassayos Ngamkham).
The first person to be arrested was a 41-year-old woman. She was caught on the 11th of November in front of the Siam Square shopping mall.
The second arrested person was a 34-year-old woman who was caught in front of the Platinum shopping mall on Phetchaburi Road. This woman stated that she watched and observed beggars around famous sightseeing spots when she traveled to Thailand and noticed that they were earning a considerable amount of money through begging. As a result, she decided to try it out, started begging, and made some days up to 10,000 baht.
The third person to be arrested was a 39-year-old woman. She was caught in front of the Major Pinklao shopping mall in Bangkok. This woman admitted that she was begging together with her husband, who, following her arrest, tried to flee the country. But his Visa was canceled, so he got caught at the Cambodian border.
The other three cases were younger people. Two of them are 28, and one of them is 33 (The Nation, 2023).
Thailand started to set all foreign beggars for deportation and banned them from entering Thailand for ten years (Hoang Vu, 2023).
Sources and further readings:
The Nation. (2023, November 27). Chinese nationals begging in Bangkok not victims of trafficking, says immigration chief. The Nation. Retrieved November 29, 2023, from Chinese nationals begging in Bangkok not victims of trafficking, says immigration chief (nationthailand.com)
The Straits Times. (2023, November 28). Thailand says Chinese beggars caught in Bangkok not victims of trafficking. The Straits Times. Retrieved November 29, 2023, from Thailand says Chinese beggars caught in Bangkok not victims of trafficking | The Straits Times
Wassayos Ngamkham. (2023, November 28). Beggars 'not trafficked': IB Chinese citizens not working for Thais. Bangkok Post. Retrieved November 29, 2023, from Beggars 'not trafficked': IB (bangkokpost.com)
The Nation. (2023, November 30). Chinese nationals begging in Bangkok not victims of trafficking, says immigration chief. Asia News Network. Retrieved November 30, 2023, from Chinese nationals begging in Bangkok not victims of trafficking, says immigration chief - Asia News NetworkAsia News Network
Hoang Vu. (2023, November 28). Thailand deports six Chinese beggars. VN Express. Retrieved November 30, 2023, from Thailand deports six Chinese beggars - VnExpress International