Beggars' earnings hit hard by pandemic, says govt
The Department of Social Development and Welfare (DSDW) on Friday said some street beggars in Bangkok's key commercial zone were earning up to 7,000 baht per day before the pandemic hit.
But given the current situation, beggars' earnings have now reduced to 50 baht per day on average, DSDW director-general Anukul Peedkaew said.
Mr Anukul said DSDW is stepping up efforts to solve begging problems and provide help for those experiencing difficulties in society.
He said begging is considered illegal as it leads to many social issues, such as human trafficking, child labour and other crimes. Many beggars are from neighbouring countries who have no knowledge of Thai laws, he said.
Since 2015, the department and Royal Thai Police have caught 6,213 beggars of whom 3,956 were Thais and 2,257 were foreigners.
Thai beggars, who appear healthy, face legal action carrying a maximum term of one month in jail and a fine of up to 10,000 baht or both. If they are children, pregnant women, elderly, people with mental disorders, disabled or homeless, they will be sent to related agencies for help.
Child beggars will also undergo DNA tests to confirm whether their parents are biologically related.
Mr Anukul urged the public to inform the Social Assistance Centre via its "1300" hotline about begging activities.