Deformed Chinese beggars prompt probe
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Deformed Chinese beggars prompt probe

An investigation has been launched after three Chinese women in girl student uniforms, with deformed faces and amputated hands, were found by police begging on the roadside at different spots in Bangkok.

Social Development and Human Security Minister Varawut Silpa-archa said on Monday that the beggars might be victims of human trafficking,

Kanthat Pongpaiboonvej, alias 'good Samaritan' Kan Chompalang, on Nov 10 led officials from the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security and Bang Phlat police to an area in front of a department store in Pin Klao area after being informed that a Chinese woman in girl student uniform had begged for money under a pedestrian crossing. Her face and head appeared deformed, appearing to have been attacked with acid or hot water, and her hands amputated.

The woman was found with a strap bag, a chair, a money box and a room keycard. She was taken to Bang Phlat police station for an interview via an interpreter.

She said she arrived in Thailand alone on Nov 10 to beg for money, not knowing that doing so is illegal. She was a divorcee, she told police, and had two children back in China. As for the scars on the face, she said as a child playing with a friend, there was an explosion in a car and some liquid splashed on her face.

Mr Kanthat said he had been informed that six other Chinese women were seen begging at other spots in Bangkok, some with one hand cut off and others with both hands amputated. Their faces were also deformed, similar to the woman found in the Pin Klao area.

Police managed to locate two other women, raising the total of those in police custody to three. One, about 33 years old, was found sitting on the roadside in Pratunam area with a plastic begging bowl. She was brought to Phayathai police station for questioning. Police found in her possession 10,400 baht in 20-baht and 100-baht notes.

Police were still looking for the four other Chinese women.

Mr Varawut said the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security had coordinated with other agencies, including immigration police, to establish how the women had entered the country, whether they carried proper travel documents and whether they had come voluntarily or been victims of  human-trafficking. The matter is delicate to deal with, since they are foreigners, he said.

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