The online debate continues over a proposal to invite Chinese police officers to Thailand, to “boost confidence among Chinese tourists”. A lack of clarity from both the Tourism Authority of Thailand and the Thai government has led to much speculation that Chinese police officers could be patrolling the streets of the kingdom.
However, Thapanee Kiatphaibool, governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, says this is just one proposal among several suggestions of how both Chinese and Thai police could work together. She says improved cooperation between both forces is necessary to restore tourist confidence and tackle criminal activity among some Chinese businesses.
Her comments about introducing Chinese Police to patrol Thai tourist hotspots on Sunday, sent Thai social media into meltdown – both Thais and foreigners.
According to a Bangkok Post report, nothing has been set in stone yet, but the TAT says the proposal will be discussed with the Chinese ambassador later this week. Thai officials are taking inspiration from similar schemes launched in Croatia and Italy prior to the pandemic, which were promoted by Chinese media and credited with improving the confidence of Chinese tourists.
Thapanee says Chinese tour operators are also in favour of the scheme, saying they agree that Chinese tourists will be reassured by their own police force being nearby.
“The cooperation will focus on certain periods in some locations which draw a lot of Chinese visitors. Besides security for tourists, we hope that Chinese police will have the opportunity to see how Thai police implement safety measures and report back to their government, which would also help improve the confidence of Chinese tourists.”
However, the Association of Thai Travel Agents is less certain that the scheme will improve tourist confidence. ATTA president Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn acknowledges that it could help to prevent illegal Chinese businesses from operating, but believes that responsibility for patrolling the streets of Thailand should be left to the Thai police.
“Having Chinese police officers patrolling the city might not be a good idea, as Thai police should be responsible for this job on their own, as well as other safety and security issues, while the Chinese police can help by providing necessary support.”
Meanwhile, the outpouring of negative publicity over the idea will ensure that the ‘proposal’ is unlikely to happen.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post