Migrant workers may face island curfew

Migrant workers may face island curfew

Surat Thani governor said Tuesday he will introduce new regulations banning migrant workers on the province’s three most popular islands — Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan — from leaving their residences after 10pm as part of measures to ensure safety for tourists.

He said some migrant workers could speak English better than Thais and often claimed they were Thai to build credibility among tourists.

“When they’ve committed a crime, they brought disgrace to the locals and Thailand. It’s time to control and keep alien workers under the Thai law and regulations,” Mr Chatpong said.

Local authorities recently told business operators on Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan to register their illegal migrant workers, the governor said, but relatively few cooperated while some workers feared arrest and fled their employers.

Mr Chatpong said the province would use martial law to issue measures prohibiting foreign workers from gathering outside, partying and mingling with tourists after 10pm.

The move came two days after the governor imposed a ban on beach parties in the province for security reasons. The ban, which comes five weeks after the murder of two British tourists on Koh Tao, exempted the famous Full Moon Party held on Rin beach on Koh Phangan each month.

Wannee Thainanich, head of the Tourism Promotion Association on Koh Phangan, hailed the idea of the night-time curfews. She said alien workers should not be allowed to wander around drinking after dark with no control measures, especially on the Full Moon Party premises.

For example, she said, some workers were previously allowed to rent a space to sell alcohol beverages for tourists during the Full Moon on Rin beach due to negligence by local authorities and vendors. It turned out tourists later lodged complaints that the foreign vendor used counterfeit alcohol to make drinks for them.

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