Thailand’s homeless foreigners

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Bangkok-homeless-foreigner1“In Pattaya we see them sorting through the trash in front of McDonald’s for something to eat, and hanging out in front of restaurants asking customers for money,” said Natee Saravari, secretary-general of the Issarachon Foundation.

For the past decade, the Issarachon Foundation, a Thai charity, has focused on helping homeless Thai people in Phuket, Chonburi and Chiang Mai provinces. Most recently, the charity has branched out to serve homeless foreigners living in Thailand.

“We are starting to see more and more homeless foreigners, many of whom have separated from their Thai wives and now have no money.”

Though the unemployment rate in Thailand has decreased from 0.83 per cent in January to 0.77 per cent in May, 302,500 Thais remain homeless, and western farangs (foreigners) are on the rise with more than 200 living nationwide.

Foreigners in Thailand can own houses, condos and other property, but these estates are usually registered under their wives’ or girlfriends’ names, so they lack true ownership rights and can be banished from their homes anytime.

“As many as 40 per cent of the Thai homeless suffer from mental illness, but most of the foreign homeless are alcoholics.”

The charity has pressed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to address the rising issue by proposing a plan with embassies that would cope with their poverty struck nationals, most of whom are living in Thailand on expired passports or without any passport.

“Thailand’s laws covering foreigners are very outdated and should be revised to deal with the changed circumstances,” said Buaphan Promphakping, an associate professor of social studies at Khon Kaen University.

“Under the current laws, foreigners’ rights are not very well protected.”

Last year, Thailand attracted more than 22 million tourists, and with that, left behind a number of Western retirees living in the country on a permanent basis, a fraction of which have become displaced.

Photos: StickmanBangkok.com

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

“In Pattaya we see them sorting through the trash in front of McDonald’s for something to eat, and hanging out in front of restaurants asking customers for money,” said Natee Saravari, secretary-general of the Issarachon Foundation.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Bangkok-homeless-foreigner1“In Pattaya we see them sorting through the trash in front of McDonald’s for something to eat, and hanging out in front of restaurants asking customers for money,” said Natee Saravari, secretary-general of the Issarachon Foundation.

For the past decade, the Issarachon Foundation, a Thai charity, has focused on helping homeless Thai people in Phuket, Chonburi and Chiang Mai provinces. Most recently, the charity has branched out to serve homeless foreigners living in Thailand.

“We are starting to see more and more homeless foreigners, many of whom have separated from their Thai wives and now have no money.”

Though the unemployment rate in Thailand has decreased from 0.83 per cent in January to 0.77 per cent in May, 302,500 Thais remain homeless, and western farangs (foreigners) are on the rise with more than 200 living nationwide.

Foreigners in Thailand can own houses, condos and other property, but these estates are usually registered under their wives’ or girlfriends’ names, so they lack true ownership rights and can be banished from their homes anytime.

“As many as 40 per cent of the Thai homeless suffer from mental illness, but most of the foreign homeless are alcoholics.”

The charity has pressed the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to address the rising issue by proposing a plan with embassies that would cope with their poverty struck nationals, most of whom are living in Thailand on expired passports or without any passport.

“Thailand’s laws covering foreigners are very outdated and should be revised to deal with the changed circumstances,” said Buaphan Promphakping, an associate professor of social studies at Khon Kaen University.

“Under the current laws, foreigners’ rights are not very well protected.”

Last year, Thailand attracted more than 22 million tourists, and with that, left behind a number of Western retirees living in the country on a permanent basis, a fraction of which have become displaced.

Photos: StickmanBangkok.com

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