Thailand has never been a so-called “Third World” country, yet wealth isn’t evenly distributed and there’s still a high number of beggars on the streets, especially in Bangkok and major tourist destinations.
Many of the beggars you’ll see in Thailand though are not even Thai nationals but hail from poorer countries in the region and effectively “work for” human trafficking and organized crime groups. In other words: They are getting exploited by their “bosses” and won’t even get to keep the 10 Baht you may give them.
While begging was never strictly legal in the kingdom, the new “Beggars Regulation Act” which comes into force later this week will now officially allow for beggars to get arrested and stuck in jail for a month, while foreigners “caught in the act” will be deported.
Here’s a distressing reminder that life – especially that of a foreign tourist who has run out of money and gets hospitalized – is worth very little in Thailand and that a decent travel health insurance is of utmost importance in the kingdom. In fact, many hospitals won’t even treat or accommodate you if you cannot pay for their services in cash or have an adequate insurance.
A 51-year-old British woman has now sadly passed away in an unnamed hospital in Bangkok after she suffered a shock collapse while on holiday in Thailand with her partner and spent two months on life support.
Over time, her medical bills added up to £36,000 or nearly two million Thai Baht that neither the woman herself nor her partner or her family in the UK could afford to pay.
Imagine you had a bar in Pattaya and one day an undercover cop walked in and placed 2,000 Baht in the hands of one of your service girls – that’s after she told him straight in the face she didn’t provide any “extra” services.
Minutes later four other cops raid the bar and arrest you on trumped-up prostitution and human trafficking charges (claiming the 2,000 Baht in the hands of your waitress were evidence enough she was on the game.)
Of course, if you handed over 30,000 Baht in cash now they would consider dropping the made-up charges …
What would you do? Here’s an idea: How about calling the national police chief in person and complain directly to country’s top crime-buster about the four corrupt coppers attempting to extort you? For some reason you’ve got his private number or he might even be a friend of yours?
Well, this is just what the owner of a karaoke bar in Pattaya did last week as she found herself in this bizarre situation, hoping to shut the extortionists up by talking straight to Chakthip Chaijinda, Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police. A crackdown on corruption is a top item on the national agenda, so that should quickly sort this farce out, shouldn’t it?
Just a reminder: On Tuesday, July 19, and Wednesday, July 20, Thais will celebrate the two important religious and public holidays of Asarnha Bucha and Khao Pansaa, or Buddhist Lent Day. As usual on the four “big Buddha days” (yep, there’ll be another one later this year), a nationwide alcohol ban will be in force… Continue Reading
To start with the quote of the day. In response to a question asked in an interview with the Reuters news agency regarding the role the country’s sex industry played in drawing visitors to Thailand, Tourism Minister Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul (note: the minister is a woman) was in complete denial and replied without hesitating: Tourists don’t… Continue Reading
Just for the record (these stories aren’t quite “breaking news” anymore): Yet another Indian tourist had a gold necklace snatched from around his neck by a ladyboy presumably riding a motorcycle last night. According to Pattaya One, the incident occurred at around 1 a.m. Sunday morning outside Mona’s Bar on Soi 14 in Central Pattaya.… Continue Reading
The Thai government lottery is the only kind of “gambling” legally allowed in Thailand and taken very seriously by the Thai people. Lottery tickets are pre-printed in Thailand so you don’t really get to pick your own numbers as in lottery systems in the West. Instead, you select your preferred six-digit “lucky number” from an… Continue Reading
The Farang (sex) tourists of days gone-by, the Germans, English etc., would often not book a package tour but were mostly individual tourists who would arrive in Pattaya from the airport by taxi or public bus. Since ever-increasing numbers of Russian and (more recently) Chinese tour groups have started visiting Pattaya, however, the number of… Continue Reading
To start with the good news: Thai people can look forward to an extra-long weekend this week, lasting as long as from Saturday, July 16, to Wednesday, July 20. The bad news (at least if you’re not averse to the odd drink): The last two days of the five-day break are religious holidays and alcohol… Continue Reading
A 72-year-old German tourist made his way to the Pattaya Police Station on Tuesday night, along with what appeared to be a rotten lobster he had been served at the King Seafood restaurant on Walking Street earlier in the evening. Continue Reading
It’s a frustrating reality. Theft cases where foreign tourists have a gold necklace or a handbag snatched from a bunch of ladyboys or motorcycle snatch-and-grab-thieves have become a nearly daily fixture in Pattaya. Most often the victims are Chinese or first-time visitors from India who all appear rather clueless about the risks of hitting town… Continue Reading
An unidentified foreigner of unknown nationality was beaten up at the Showgirls A-GoGo on Soi LK Metro in the wee hours of Tuesday after he allegedly refused to pay a bill of over 4,000 Baht. He suffered a number of facial injuries in the attack that staff at the bar claim were inflicted by other… Continue Reading