Thailand reportedly to invite Chinese police to patrol popular cities to ‘boost tourist confidence’

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Written By Maya Cantina

One Chinese national has been killed and another injured in a shooting incident at the Siam Paragon mall in Bangkok, Thailand on October 3, 2023. Photo: IC

Thai officials announced on Sunday a decision to invite Chinese police officers to participate in patrols in several tourist cities in a bid to boost the confidence of Chinese tourists amid public safety concerns following a deadly shooting in Bangkok in early October that killed one Chinese tourist and injured another.

Having Chinese police officers patrol Thai streets will undoubtedly be a deterrence for criminals, and joint efforts between China and Thailand on law enforcement and cracking down on crime are expected to offer some cross-country experience to more countries in the Asian region, Chinese experts say.

According to Thai media outlet The Nation on Monday, Thapanee Kiatphaibool, director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), announced the plan on Sunday after attending a meeting with Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin at the Suvarnabhumi Airport. The primary focus of the meeting was addressing security concerns and ensuring the quality of services provided to tourists during their stay in Thailand.

The news report revealed that on November 15, discussions on deploying Chinese police for patrols in major Thai tourism cities will be held with the Chinese embassy. 

“It is anticipated that this initiative will contribute to the goal of hosting up to 4.4 million Chinese tourists in the final two months of this year,” the Thai media outlet reported. 

However, National police chief Pol Gen Torsak Sukwimol has denied that Thai police have sought Chinese counterparts’ patrols in the country, saying that would raise security issues, the Bangkok Post reported on Monday. 

The Royal Thai Police were already able to protect both residents and visitors, the Thai police chief said.

According to media reports, Chinese arrivals have slowed down since a 14-year-old went on a deadly shooting rampage in a Bangkok mall in early October during the Chinese National Day holiday, which is a golden week in China for tourism.

The patrol invitation from Thailand responds to Chinese tourists’ worries over safety in the Southeast Asian country, Xu Liping, director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Monday.

If the plan is launched, Chinese police patrols will be an impetus for Chinese tourists who are hesitant about visiting Thailand, Xu said.

The police cooperation will be good news for Chinese tourists and Thai business and tourism industry personnel, said  Chinese experts.

The Thai tourism industry is eager to have more Chinese travelers amid the sluggish economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic, an expert requesting anonymity told the Global Times. If the cooperation goes smoothly and proves a success, it is expected that the model can be promoted to other countries in Asia.

A Beijing-based Chinese resident who is traveling around several tourist cities in Thailand said that she enjoys seafood, beaches and diving in the country but at the same time always reminds herself to pay attention to personal safety. 

She said it would be much more assuring if she saw police officers from her homeland patrolling the streets in Thailand. Several other Chinese residents reached by the Global Times expressed a similar sense of ensurance if the police cooperation is implemented.

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