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Chinese beggars arrested in Bangkok may be trafficking victims

PHOTO: Thai Post

Thai police have arrested a number of Chinese nationals begging on the streets of Bangkok, including one woman who appears to have been physically abused. She was arrested while begging outside a shopping mall in the Pink Klao area of the capital.

Police also arrested several Chinese beggars last week, who were all over the age of 40 but dressed in the uniforms of Thai university students.

The spate of arrests has led some to question the government’s visa waiver policy, which grants visa-free entry to Chinese nationals until the end of February. The visa exemption policy has been extended to a number of countries by PM Srettha Thavisin’s administration in an effort to boost tourism.

According to a Nation Thailand report, the Minister of Social Development and Human Security Varawut Silpa-archa says the visa waiver has nothing to do with the Chinese beggars being caught on Bangkok’s streets.

The minister points out that all the Chinese nationals arrested had expired passports, meaning they entered the kingdom before the visa-exemption was introduced. He adds that there is a possibility those arrested are the victims of human traffickers.

Varawut says the Interior Ministry will investigate from here, adding that his ministry continues to work closely with the Labour Ministry and the authorities to improve Thailand’s ranking on the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report. Thailand has found itself in Tier 2 for the last two years.

Tier 1 applies to countries deemed fully compliant, whereas Tier 2 is for countries considered “not fully compliant, but making “significant efforts” to be compliant with the minimum standards.”

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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