Don’t give to beggars, Varawut says
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Don’t give to beggars, Varawut says

Minister says some street beggars earn as much as B100,000 a month

A woman gives money to a beggar at the Victory Monument in Bangkok. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)
A woman gives money to a beggar at the Victory Monument in Bangkok. (Photo: Apichit Jinakul)

Social Development and Human Security Minister Varawut Silpa-archa has asked people to stop giving money to beggars as they are increasing in number, with some making almost 100,000 baht a month.

Mr Varawut said on Tuesday that his ministry has been working with several agencies, among them the Royal Thai Police and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration to curb begging.

Ministry officials conduct sweeps five times a month to arrest beggars on the streets, he said. 

Arrested foreign beggars are deported back to their countries while Thai beggars are sent to a ministry-run home for the destitute, where they receive career training and are encouraged to find work, said Mr Varawut.

He added that the ministry has learned that some beggars previously arrested return to the streets because the amount of money they can make is much higher than the fines they have to pay.

The Beggar Control Act BE 2559 (2016) states the punishment for begging can be up to one-month imprisonment and/or a fine of up to 10,000 baht.

Most of their income comes from tourists or the general public, Mr Varawut said, adding that many beggars have children or pets beside them.

Any beggar found with a child will be investigated to find out if they are relatives of the child. If not, they will face legal action, he said.

The minister also said that about 7,000 beggars have been caught over the last 10 years, and 30% of that number were foreign.

“I’d like to ask for people’s cooperation in stopping giving to these beggars as they keep coming back and are increasing in number”, he said. 

When asked about their income, Mr Varawut said there was no confirmation, but they usually receive a lot from foreign visitors during the high season. Some of them make nearly 100,000 baht in a month, he said.

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