Thai PM denies Chinese police patrol plan after public outcry

Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin said there was no idea to roll out the red carpets for Chinese police officers to patrol local tourist destinations, having the intentions to clear the air after remarks by the nation’s tourism authority about such a move created a furore. The South-east Asian country only wants to cooperate with Chinese police on data exchange about criminal networks that may be active in Thailand, which would bring a rise to the confidence of Chinese tourists, Mr Srettha told reporters during a trip to San Francisco on Monday.

The cooperation would not include stationing Chinese police personnel in Thailand, he revealed. Mr Srettha’s remark came after the governor of Tourism Authority of Thailand told reporters on Sunday that Bangkok was in conversations with China about a collaborative patrol programme covering tourist hot spots. The remark sparked an outcry among Thais who showed worries about independence. The controversy shooted up due to a miscommunication, he revealed.

Thailand has been making attempts to re establish its tourism industry, an important driver of economic development. Chinese tourists used to make up the hugest number of foreign arrivals to Thailand before the Covid-19 pandemic.  In September, Mr Srettha’s administration waived visa needs for Chinese travellers for a five-month period, an exemption that was extended in November to travellers from India and Taiwan through May next year.