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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

New law: beggars can face fines or jail


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So, no one like to have beggars constantly asking for money, especially if the person does not need to beg in the first place.

Now the temples nationwide have been asked to try and stop visitors from giving money to beggars as it is illegal.

On Monday the Royal Gazette published that this has come from the Beggar Control Act and the law will be in effect within the next 90 days.

The head of the Ministry of Social Development and Human Security (MSDHS), Mr. General Anantaporn Kanjanarat, has stated that his team would co-ordinate with the National Office of Buddhism to ask various temples to educate the public in finding ways to stop them from giving money to beggars as it is illegal.

He said, “If people wish to help the beggars, they can make donations to the MSDHS projects for vocational promotion for beggars.” Because temples are the sites for worshipping,  beggars will wander around temples and other populated attractions, in order to ask for money from visitors.

The minister said stickers will be issued warning against handing cash to beggars in English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Cambodian and Myanmar would soon be placed at tourists attractions, airports and state offices. A recent meeting of the Beggar Control Committee at the MSDHS head office in Bangkok was told 237 beggars (including 156 Thais and 81 foreign migrants) had been detected from October 2018 until March 2019, and a total of 4,361 street performers had registered with the authority for access to public space, with only 300 locations available. The meeting also resolved to impose a sliding scale of fines on beggars. Those arrested for panhandling for the first time would be fined at Bt500, the second time Bt2,000, the third time Bt5,000 and the fourth time and above Bt10,000. Such fines were in line with the Beggar Control Act’s latest edition, which prohibits people from being beggars or face a maximum one-month jail term and/or a maximum fine of Bt10,000.  The new law required beggars to admit to life quality development and protection centres or quit panhandling. Once they are admitted to such centres, they would not be allowed to leave the centres without permission or face a maximum one-month jail term and/or a maximum fine of Bt10,000.  Those aiding or supporting beggars’ panhandling will face a maximum two-year jail term and/or a maximum Bt20,000 fine, while those reaping benefits from beggars by hiring, asking, abetting and instigating the panhandling will face a maximum three-year jail term and/or a maximum Bt30,000 fine.

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