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Thai Immigration Cracking Down on Begging and "Begpackers"

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the phenomenon known as "begpacking"; that's basically people who are backpackers but they decide to undertake begging or sort of busking if you will, but basically you know what could be described as panhandling in order to fund their trip. 

A recent article, I found this on Thai Visa, that is thaivisa.com, the title is Busted! Immigration Goes after "Begpackers" for Working Without a Permit. Quoting directly: "Thailand Immigration Police turn their attention to foreigners who help pay for their holidays in Thailand by selling things on the street. Two so-called "begpackers" were arrested in Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand for working without a permit. News conference attended by Immigration Chief Lieutenant General Sompong "Big Oud" Chingduang, in Bangkok yesterday was told that the Immigration Division 5 in Chiang Mai were patrolling Soi 3 Moon Muang  road where Thais were selling stuff on the footpath” ;apparently there was also a Greek and a Chinese National. Quoting further:  "They were selling stuff just like the Thais." Quoting further: "They were handed over to the local police and booked for working illegally." So we can presume they are going to go ahead and be deported as well. I would urge those who are watching this video to go ahead and check that out. It is Busted! Immigration Goes after "Begpackers" for Working Without a Permit. That is thaivisa.com.

So the thing to take away from that one specifically, and we have done a video on this phenomenon of "begpacking" before, the thing to take away from this video is it is really not a good idea to come here to do that. And another thing that I think is rather interesting is this notion of working on the street or selling things on the street.  I have heard a lot of folks over the years say "well the Thais are doing that”, or “why can't that be done?” Well you're not a Thai, first of all. Thais don't need work authorization in Thailand and foreigners do. Selling things is considered working under Thai Law and therefore selling things on the street, if one doesn't have a work permit, is also illegal. Finally, even if you have a work permit, street vending, pursuant to the restricted occupations listings, is definitely considered a restricted occupation so all of this is illegal and for that reason, it is really not a good idea to plan a trip to come to Thailand to go ahead and undertake these kind of activities because as we have seen in many other videos previously, Thai Immigration is taking much more of a law enforcement function stance on Immigration enforcement and these kinds of arrests generally lead to deportation; I suspect they probably also lead to blacklisting as well. 

Another article that is of relevance here: Quoting directly, this is again from thaivisa.com, the article is titled: Immigration Chief - Top Brass - Turn Out after Chinese Beggar Taken off the Street. Quoting directly: "Thailand’s Immigration and many of its top men turned out at a press conference to announce the arrest of a group of Chinese men who came to Thailand to beg." Quoting further: "Naew Na, (that is the source that this is being translated from) said that the gang of Chinese were pretending to be mute, deaf and have cancer and that they were praying on tourists,” and they go into how they first came upon one specific beggar.   Quoting directly again: "A Chinese language interpreter was called and it was soon ascertained that Tan, (that's the name), had none of the handicaps he was claiming and his wife was fine." Quoting further:  "The arrest led the Immigration Police to a hotel room near Hualampong railway station where they found three men drinking beer. There were a lot of playing cards and a copious amount of cigarette butts."  I urge those who are watching this video go check that out. Again, Immigration Chief - Top Brass - Turn Out after Chinese Beggar Taken off the Street.

Thailand is taking this stuff seriously and again where once Immigration was viewed as a sort of an administrative function, it is now being viewed much more through the lens of law enforcement and as one can see, this lens is often times not too far off. There are people who have incorrect intentions or inappropriate intentions in coming to Thailand and for that reason sometimes I think it is probably pretty justified for Immigration to take the measures that they do. So those watching this video, it is probably not a good idea to come to Thailand as a foreigner and expect to be able to raise some funds for your trip in order to continue your trip by begging on the streets of Bangkok or other places in greater Thailand.