Thailand has had enough of foreign backpackers begging for travel money on the streets of Bangkok.
These shameless bunch of travelers infamously dubbed as “beg-packers” have recently been seen on the streets of Southeast Asia asking for handouts to fund their travels.
— Jackson Hung (@jackson_hch) May 7, 2017
Now the Thai government is cracking down on these freeloaders by requiring tourists to provide what’s called “Show Money” before they can enter the country, according to News.com.au.
— Solo Traveller ✈ (@ImSoloTraveller) January 17, 2016
Visitors may now be required to show immigration officials in Thailand that they have at least 20,000 baht ($748) in cash before they can be allowed entry into the country.
Reports from an online forum for expats in Thailand called Thaivisa have revealed that immigration officials at border checkpoints across Thailand have begun asking for proof of financial responsibility.
— Solo Traveller ✈ (@ImSoloTraveller) January 10, 2016
Several incidents of visitors being subjected to such requirements have also emerged on social media via Thai expat groups on Facebook.
Members of the Thaivisa community believe that the new policy is not only a response to the growing number of beg-packers but also foreigners who intend to work illegally in the country.
— Raymond Walsh (@manonthelam) June 13, 2017
Some members, however, lament that the scrutiny bestowed to previous offenders are similarly being employed to students. One Thaivisa member who has an education visa was also stopped at a checkpoint after failing to show 20,000 baht in cash since he only had 8,000 baht ($240) with him.
An anonymous source from the Thailand immigration office confirmed to Thaivisa that people entering Thailand on tourist visas are now required to show they can support their stay.
He added that it is at the discretion of the immigration officer to ask further questions depending on how the officer’s assessment. The officer, however, did not confirm whether the 20,000 baht requirement is the standard minimum amount for “show money.”