File photo : PM Srettha Thavisin
Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin says he has never talked about inviting Chinese police to come to Thailand to join their Thai counterparts on patrols in tourist destinations, to boost the confidence of Chinese tourists about their safety in the kingdom.
In an interview from San Francisco in the United States, where he was attending the APEC conference on Monday evening local time, the prime minister said it was a miscommunication on the part of the governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Thapanee Kiatphaibool.
The TAT governor told the Thai media that the prime minister floated the idea of the presence of Chinese police in tourist provinces popular with Chinese visitors.
The prime minister explained that what he actually meant about cooperation between Thai and Chinese police is the sharing of information, to boost the confidence of Chinese tourists visiting Thailand, because of the concerns over the “grey businesses” of some Chinese businessmen.
He insists that it is the duty of the Thai police to provide protection to all foreign tourists, including the Chinese, as he pleaded for understanding over the miscommunication.
The idea of joint patrols by Thai and Chinese police sparked widespread and strong opposition from critics, claiming that it would infringe on Thai sovereignty and would be tantamount to a slap in the face to the Thai police.
The national police chief, Pol Gen Torsak Sukvimol also voiced his strong opposition to the idea.
Chinese police have, however, been invited to some countries, such as Italy and Croatia, reportedly to conduct joint patrols to ensure safety for Chinese tourists.