Thailand is planning to crack down on so-called ‘beg-packers’ – Western backpackers who beg for travel funds on the street.
Reports suggest that visitors arriving in Thailand may be asked to show immigration officials that they have 20,000 baht (around £460) in cash on them in order to enter the country.
Any such move would represent a direct response to a rise in predominantly young western travellers begging or busking on Thailand’s streets in order to raise money to continue their travels, as well as a crack down on travellers working there illegally.
Thaivisa says it has learned that some travellers entering Thailand on a tourist visa have already been asked by immigration officials to show their cash, while reports have surfaced on social media of visitors being turned away if they don’t have the requisite amount. It seems to be those with a history of tourist visa entries that are under the most scrutiny.
Last week, a Thaivisa member was detained in an immigration detention centre at Suvarnabhumi Airport after being refused entry due to suspicion that he might be working illegally.
A Thailand immigration officer anonymously confirmed to the site that people entering Thailand on tourist visas should be able to prove that they can financially support their stay in the country.
Although the 20,000 baht requirement has been encountered at several border checkpoints, it’s not yet confirmed if it is being enforced nationwide.