Thailand attaches great importance to the safety of Chinese tourists and will take appropriate measures to ensure the security of those visiting the country, the Thai Embassy in China said in a statement on Thursday, aiming to clarify rumors and reassure tourists of their safety in the country.
The issue received overwhelming attention online on Thursday. The hashtag "Tourists' safety in Thailand" topped trending topics on the Chinese Twitter-like social media Sina Weibo, garnering over 150 million views as of press time.
In a Weibo post that drew much attention, a netizen wrote that Thailand is one of her favorite tourist destinations. Her previous experience was very good, and it is a place where she wants to go again and again. "However, some of the information about Thailand circulating online makes me hesitate," she added.
Media reports about cases of missing persons in Thailand and other Southeast Asian countries, as well as telecom fraud and smuggling have raised concerns on Chinese social media.
According to South China Morning Post, four immigration police officers in Thailand are facing arrest for kidnapping a Chinese man and his female interpreter and extorting 1 million baht ($29,170) in cryptocurrency from them.
Deputy National Police Chief General of Thailand Surachate Hakparn said he had sought arrest warrants for the four officers involved in the case and that the national police would remove them from the force.
A trilateral meeting on human trafficking was also held on Monday in Bangkok among public security departments from China, Myanmar and Thailand to combat a series of criminal activities, Myanmar local media reported. The trilateral meeting is expected to play a positive role in combating crime through a coordinated transnational crackdown.
The Thai Embassy stressed in a statement on Thursday that Thailand is fully prepared to receive Chinese tourists and has added many communication channels for them, providing convenience and security for tourists to obtain information and inform the police of emergencies.
The Embassy fully understands concerns about safety, and Thai authorities attach great importance to this issue and will take appropriate measures to safeguard and ensure the safety of Chinese tourists, read the statement.
Tourism is one of Thailand's pillar industries, and Chinese tourists are an important source. They accounted for more than one-quarter of Thailand's annual tourist arrivals before the COVID-19 outbreak. The Thai government estimates that 7 million to 10 million Chinese tourists will travel to the country in 2023 alone.
A tourist surnamed Yang, who just returned home from a trip to Thailand, told the Global Times that her week-long trip was very pleasant, and the security and social atmosphere in Thailand were also delightful.
"My friends and I went to Bangkok and Chiang Mai in a week, two places I have been to many times before, and the shopping malls, markets and other scenic spots we went to were all safe and orderly," said Yang.
"I know some people have concerns over the safety of travelling in Thailand, but in my experience, there won't be too many problems as long as tourists don't stay out too late at night," Yang added.