Foreigners Arrested in Thailand: Why Are They Always in the News?


One thing I and many other non-Thais currently living in Thailand find annoying is the number of times a month Thai English-language newspapers like the Bangkok Post publish articles with headings like “Foreigners Arrested in Thailand for Criminal Activity”, or “Foreigners Arrested for ATM Fraud”.

Not only does it show Thailand’s often xenophobic culture off perfectly, but it is also offensive to many of the non-Thais and expats visiting or living in Thailand.

Surely it would be easier to list the actual nationality of the person or people arrested instead of lumping them all together and calling them all ‘foreigners’?

Besides, why is it non-Thais often appear more frequently on the front pages of English-language newspapers or their websites than do Thais who, quite frankly, are often committing similar crimes in far higher numbers?

After all, let’s face it, anyone who has spent time in Thailand knows Thais have a tendency to be a bit xenophobic, but does their xenophobia really have to be crammed down our throats every time “foreigners arrested in Thailand” is deemed suitable for yet another tabloid-style newspaper story?

Just a few minutes of extra research on the part of the journalist would help find out which nationalities were arrested and be far more informative to the newspaper’s readers.

Plus, giving equal page space to similar Thai criminals would go a long way towards convincing the non-Thais living here that non-Thais are not being singled out for unnecessary finger-pointing and shame.

Don’t get me wrong. There is definitely a too high percentage of non-Thais that visit or live in Thailand involved in illegal activities and the Thai authorities should be supported in any way possible to make sure these crooks are not only caught, but deported as soon as possible.

However, articles titled “Foreigners Arrested in Thailand” don’t do anything expect irritate and anger the non-Thais and expats who read them as well as, in some circumstances, give sympathy to the criminals that have been arrested — sympathy most of them probably do not deserve.