11 July 2024

Social Development and Human Security Minister Varawut Silpa-archa has ordered an urgent investigation into the presence of numerous Chinese beggars in Bangkok, to uncover whether international human trafficking is involved.

Citing one female beggar, the minister said “The matter could become a sensitive and international issue as the female beggar is Chinese, therefore, investigators have to find out whether she is being exploited.”

He said that he had been informed that, previously, when Chinese beggars have been arrested, there was a Thai female who told police that she was a translator and then tried to secure their freedom by offering bribes.

The presence of the Chinese beggars came to light after an activist, known as Kan Chompalang, led police to arrest the female beggar and five others asking for money in front of a Pinklao shopping complex during the weekend.

The female beggar’s face exhibited many serious wounds and her fingers were deformed. All the beggars arrested were dressed in Thai student uniforms. Confiscated from her was a bag full of Bt20 banknotes, which Kan estimated totalled about Bt10,000.

According to Kan, some people have told him that beggars, of a similar appearance, had been sighted in other places in Bangkok, such as Pratunam. He doubted that the beggars were moved from place to place.

A vendor in front of the shopping complex said that the group came to work there earlier this year.