In a surprising turn of events, the Thai government has decided to backtrack on its proposal for joint patrols with China, citing concerns raised by the Thai public. The proposal, aimed at enhancing security in Thailand, faced strong opposition from citizens, leading Prime Minister Shretha Thavasin to revoke the decision just two days after its announcement.
The Thai government had initially conceived the plan for joint patrolling with Chinese police in response to rising crime and drug smuggling issues, particularly in tourist destinations. Given that Thailand heavily relies on tourism for its economy, the move aimed to address security concerns and foster confidence among Chinese tourists, who constitute a significant portion of the country’s visitors.
However, the public backlash against the proposal was swift and intense. Social media platforms became a battleground for protests, with many expressing dissatisfaction with the government’s decision. Critics argued that seeking assistance from Chinese police implied a lack of confidence in Thailand’s own law enforcement, with some even deeming it a threat to national security.
Thai PM Thavasin backtracks due to backlash
In the aftermath of widespread public discontent, Prime Minister Thavasin clarified the government’s intentions, stating that the initial decision had been misconstrued. He emphasized that the aim was to exchange information with Chinese police to detect criminal networks in Thailand and reassure Chinese tourists about the country’s safety.
The tourism sector, vital to Thailand’s economy, has been grappling with security issues, including a shooting incident targeting a tourist in October. As the government seeks to revive the tourism sector post-COVID-19, striking a balance between economic recovery and public safety has become paramount.
Despite the Tourism Authority of Thailand initially supporting the joint patrolling proposal, Prime Minister Thavasin’s decisive announcement quelled any doubts. He affirmed that no Chinese police officers would be patrolling in Thailand, standing firm on the government’s commitment to handling its security independently.
Tourism Minister Sudavan further reassured the public, stating that alternative measures would be explored to strengthen security without involving Chinese police. The recent firing incident in a Bangkok mall, resulting in the death of two individuals, including a Chinese citizen, underscores the significance of addressing security concerns as Thailand navigates the delicate balance between tourism promotion and public safety.