Ministry to target beggars

Ministry to target beggars

A beggar asks for money on a pedestrian footbridge in the Rangsit area of Pathum Thani. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
A beggar asks for money on a pedestrian footbridge in the Rangsit area of Pathum Thani. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

The Ministry of Social Development and Human Security is stepping up measures to control beggars nationwide, setting a goal to make six more provinces beggar-free this year and increasing fines for repeat offenders.

Social Development and Human Security Minister Gen Anantaporn Kanjanarat was speaking after chairing a meeting of a committee tasked with controlling beggars.

He said the meeting has designated Sing Buri, Prachin Buri, Lamphun, Phatthalung, Buri Ram and Sukhothai to be declared beggar-free this year.

The ministry has also written to inform the Royal Thai Police of guidelines for imposing fines on beggars under the 2016 Beggar Control Act. Violators are liable to a jail term of no more than one month, a fine of no more than 10,000 baht, or both.

The fines will increase for repeat offenders, starting from 500 baht for the first offence to 2,000 and 5,000 baht. From the fourth offence, the fine will be 10,000 baht, Gen Anantaporn said.

He added that during the past year, efforts to curb the number of beggars had paid off in some provinces such as Nonthaburi's Pak Kret district. The southern province of Trang also has a career-training programme to help beggars to start a career and earn a more secure income.

Gen Anantaporn also said that currently more than 3,500 buskers performing in public places have registered with the ministry, though some have paid little attention to the importance of registration, leading to quarrels among them in some areas.

The Department of Social Development and Welfare has been instructed to regulate busking in public places to prevent problems, the minister said.

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