Tourist Police are scanning the city for foreigners working illegally as tour guides in Pattaya. The officers disclosed that they have apprehended over 5,531 illegal tour guides across Thailand over the past three months.
Several Tourist Police officers led by Pol. Maj. Gen. Pongsiam Meekanthong, deputy commissioner of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, were dispatched across Pattaya yesterday, March 25th, to prevent illegal activities with a focus on foreigners secretly working as tour guides.
The Pattaya News notes that foreigners are not allowed to work as tour guides in Thailand, as a tour guide is considered a restricted occupation that is reserved for Thai nationals only.
Maj. Gen. Pongsiam told The Pattaya News that there has been a significant increase in tourism-related crimes such as illegal tour guides, illegal tour companies, and guides that abandoned their customers in and around Pattaya City. This has prompted the Royal Thai Police to develop policies, including increased surveillance and the speeding up of the arrest process, to address these issues.
As one example of a recent large story, a group of Russian tourists were abandoned on Koh Sak by their tour guides as seen HERE.
Over the past three months, over 211 illegal tour guide-related issues have been reported. This resulted in an arrest of 5,531 individuals acorss the kingdom, said Maj. Gen. Pongsiam. Yesterday’s operation was a follow-up step in a concerted effort by the Tourist Police around the country to clean up this illegal activity, he added.
The officer pledged to continue this effort to prevent foreigners from working illegally and exploiting Thai people. Those who have helpful information about people working as illegal tour guides are urged to contact the Tourist Police via 1155.
These actions come after Thai tour guides asked for police to crack down on foreigners illegally working in their protected Thai only sector as seen HERE. Under Thai law, foreigners cannot even get a work permit or work visa to be a tour guide.
The crackdowns are expected to continue over the next few weeks leading up to Songkran, the Thai New Year.
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