Pattaya police rounded up six beggars with eight young children after a video shined unfavorable light on the city’s problem with panhandling gangs.
Police and Mayuree Damnernpol, director of the Chonburi Protection Center for the Destitute, and representatives from the Chonburi Children and Family Home swept through Pattaya Jan. 9, picking up five women, one man and eight kids, one as young as a year old.
The crackdown came after a video went viral showing a woman in her mid-20s holding what appeared to be a newborn infant outside Pattaya School No. 8.
Videographer Sunanta Santhep, 29, said she had offered to buy the woman food, send her home and help her find a job. But when she saw the camera, she refused any help and fled the scene.
Beggar gangs are deeply involved in human trafficking, forcing Cambodians, Burmese and Laotians into the trade and using trafficked infants.
Police sent the women and children to shelters while DNA tests were performed to determine if the babies were, in fact, their offspring. Most will likely face immigration charges and eventually be deported.