Thais believed behind disfigured Chinese street beggars
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Thais believed behind disfigured Chinese street beggars

These photos of a Chinese beggar were recently posted on the Facebook page of Kan Chompalang (in Thai).
These photos of a Chinese beggar were recently posted on the Facebook page of Kan Chompalang (in Thai).

Police will carefully vet Chinese visitors with facial and body disfiguration, as some had come here with the intention of begging on the streets, possibly organised by Thais, according to the Metropolitan Police Bureau.

Pol Maj Gen Amnat Traipote, deputy commissioner, said on Wednesday that from Nov 10-20 police arrested six disfigured Chinese beggars and fined three of them 100-500 baht.

The Immigration Bureau would blacklist the six from returning to the country for 10 years. One of them was already expelled and the others were detained at the Immigration Bureau for further interrogation, he said.

The six told police the scars on their faces and bodies were caused by fire in China. They refused to give more information.

Pol Maj Gen Amnat said some of the beggars had the same Thai translator. Two of them shared a hotel room in Wang Thonglang district of Bangkok and the four others stayed separately at other hotels in the capital.

Police had not concluded they were a part of a transnational human trafficking gang and sent the money they collected to China, he said.

Police suspected the Chinese beggars were members of a gang and Thais supervised and accommodated them.

One of the six Chinese beggars, a woman, arrived by air in June on a tourist visa. The woman later applied for online education in Thailand and sought a student visa, which extended her stay.

The six Chinese begged in crowded places and tourist destinations and cashed in on the natural sympathies of Thai people. Each earned about 10,000 baht a day, Pol Maj Gen Amnat said.

Detectives knew where the beggars exchanged coins for 1,000-baht bills, but had not found out where they turned baht banknotes into yuan.

The national police chief and the Bangkok police chief had ordered action to round up beggars, as begging was illegal.

From now on, police would be carefully checking Chinese visitors with facial and body disfiguration to prevent them from begging, Pol Maj Gen Amnat said.

Sarawut Mulpho, welfare protection and life quality director at the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security, said officials found 7,161 beggars.

Of them, 4,688 were Thais and 2,473 foreigners, mostly Cambodian and Myanma, and were members of organised gangs, he said.

The foreign beggars abused the government's visa-free scheme, he said.

Legal action against Chinese beggars with disfigured faces and bodies followed a campaign by activist Kanthat Pongpaiboonvej, alias "good Samaritan" Kan Chompalang. He found six Chinese beggars wearing student uniforms and suspected that they were part of a human trafficking ring.

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