Thailand continued its drive to clean up its image with a law coming into force this week to arrest all beggars.

Destitute Thais are often seen on the streets of Bangkok are other major cities with bowls for small change. Many of them are disable or women with small children with them.

But after Thursday they will be rounded up and arrested.

Beggars in Thailand, like this man in Bangkok, can be arrested
Beggars in Thailand, like this man in Bangkok, can be arrested (Picture: Ray_LAC /

The Government wants to clean up the country’s image for tourists and target the traffickers and gangsters that control organised begging rings – pocketing the money themselves from their stable of homeless.

Beggars who are arrested will be fined 1,000 baht or be jailed for up to a month, while ringleaders of begging gangs will receive 3,000 baht fines and up to three months in prison.

There are believed to be more than 5,000 beggars in Thailand, including some 1,700 foreign beggars.

Maj. Gen. Sansern Kaewkamnerd from the Thai military government warned that foreign beggars will be deported.

He added that Thai beggars will receive training and support after serving their sentence.

The drive to rid the streets of beggars comes amidst a similar push to remove street sellers from parts of Bangkok and a crackdown on massage parlours.

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