Police arrest Bangkok bound beggars

2 Apr 2012

Thai Police have arrested a group of illegal immigrants on the Thai-Cambodian border who they say were going to panhandle in Bangkok. Police swooped on the Cambodian nationals this morning after being tipped off by a Ranger Task Force squad that some people had sneaked across the border from Cambodia.

Police found the group of 28 hiding in a forest in the district of Aranyaprathet. The district is a part of the eastern Thai province of Sa Kaeo. The group confessed to entering Thailand illegally from Poipet, but said they had planned to look for jobs in Thailand.

The leader of the group said they were waiting in the forest for a bus to transport them to their new places of employment. The arresting police team said it was unlikely the Cambodians had come to Thailand to work as they had no travel or identification documents, and there were 13 young children among them.

The police officers allege that as it is the Songkran Festival next week, the Cambodians had entered the country illegally with the sole purpose of begging in Bangkok or Pattaya. A police spokesperson added that the illegal migrants might have been smuggled across the border by a human-trafficking gang.

Songkran is the biggest festival and holiday on the Thai calendar. Thai people tend to use the five-day national holiday to travel around their country and are usually in giving moods. Beggars in Bangkok and other busy Thai tourist hubs are usually the recipients of generous alms at this auspicious time of year.  

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