Pattaya City is attempting to tackle a growing homeless problem in the city that has driven concerns-and complaints-from many local residents.
Earlier this weekend in Pattaya about fifty officers from the Chonburi Homeless Protection Center along with the staff of the Pattaya Social Development Office, the Pattaya City Police and the Pattaya City Law enforcement inspected multiple locations in the Pattaya area as there have been increasing reports of many homeless people.
The teams first inspected along Pattaya beach road, South Pattaya Road and in Soi Buakhao. Homeless people were found still living in abandoned beer bar complexes on the South end of Soi Buakhao, an issue that we brought light in July in a special report as you can see here.
Officials had previously visited the complex and offered some of the homeless residents trips to return to their home provinces paid for by the city of Pattaya and other benefits. Despite these offers, the number of homeless living in the complex appears to be roughly similar to before, according to Chonburi Homeless Protection Center staff.
Some of the homeless individuals encountered appeared to have mental issues and were not cooperative or friendly to staff attempting to offer assistance, as can be seen in the video below. Many fled when officers approached this weekend, despite Pattaya Law Enforcement making it clear they were not out to “arrest” or cause problems for the growing homeless population but wanted to provide them assistance and offer them to move into the Chonburi homeless shelters for further help and get them off the streets.
Homeless people were not found in the Pattaya Walking Street area as some of the entertainment venues have been reopened. As a domestic tourist attraction, Chonburi law enforcement officers said that while they understood the plight of the homeless they could not be allowed to sleep directly on the street of Walking Street or bother and disrupt locals and expats asking for money.
In addition, six migrant Cambodian workers were found selling goods in the Walking Street area without a proper visa or work permit. According to officials with Chonburi Immigration Office they will be deported back to their country.
Some Thais, as seen in the photo below, took an offer from Chonburi Homeless Protection Center officials to move into various shelters for assistance. The problem, despite all internal Covid-19 related lock-downs and restrictions having mostly ended is increasing, say officials, due to the fact that Thailand has still restricted borders to international tourists at this time. Pattaya City is a world famous tourist destination and in normal times welcomes millions of tourists from all around the world yearly. Roughly 80% of Pattaya City’s GDP comes from tourism. With international tourists at zero and many local residents still having financial related difficulties due to the Covid-19 crisis, less than half of the city’s entertainment and hospitality venues, including hotels and restaurants, are open, leaving many out of work.
It is not known at this time when borders will re-open and Chonburi Homeless Protection officers admitted that the numbers of homeless is steadily increasing in Pattaya and resources to assist them are being stretched. This comes on top of complaints from some residents that a minority of the homeless are being aggressive or appear to have alcohol or drug related issues and hassle the limited number of expats and locals in the area. Pattaya City Law Enforcement stated they will continue to enforce the law in regards to this situation.