Thailand’s Touring Strategy to Deploy Chinese Police Patrol Draws Controversy

Thailand is planning to station Chinese police personnel at some of its popular tourist destinations to raise the confidence of travellers from the Asian neighbour. However, such a plan has caused a controversy, with some critics raising concerns over sovereignty.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, senior police and tourism officials discussed the subject as a way to draw more Chinese visitors, who used to make up the largest number of tourists before the Covid-19 pandemic.

This is the latest attempt by Thailand to attract visitors and ease concerns over tourist safety deter some Chinese travellers, considered crucial for the recovery of the local tourism industry. Thailand has welcomed Chinese arrivals 2.8 million so far in 2023, which is still trailing the government’s full-year target of 4 million to 4.4 million, according to the data compiled by Bloomberg.

Tourism Authority of Thailand governor Thapanee Kiatphaibool said that the authorities are in talks with the Chinese embassy to bring Chinese police to Thailand for a patrol program. The governor noted that this will reflect Thailand’s safety measures, which will boost confidence for Chinese tourists greatly.

Despite a controversial dispute from internet users about Thailand losing sovereignty to China, Thai government spokesman Chai Wacharonke said that the program is also focusing on Chinese mafia groups operating in Thailand, and has nothing to do with independence or sovereignty of Thailand.

In addition, Ms. Thapanee noted that a similar programme was deemed successful in Italy in the past.