September 22, 2023

Video #8 | October 13, 2017

In this video we’re going to to cover the dangers of being caught dropping cigarette butts in Bangkok, and very soon, smoking on Thai beaches!

The video is broken into the following sections.

– A brief background on Bangkok litter police, or ‘Thetsakij’.
– A proposed new law to fine people up to THB 100,000, or imprison them for up to 1 year, for smoking on a Thai beach!

Click on the following link to check out more Bangkok Laws You Need To Know!.


Alrighty then! Welcome to the eighth video of Bangkok Unmasked! The YouTube channel that helps you get the most out of your visit to Bangkok city! If you’re new here, please consider subscribing! In this video I’m going to cover the dangers of being caught dropping cigarette butts in Bangkok, and very soon, smoking on Thai beaches!

Before I begin, this video will be broken down into 2 sections:

Section #1. A brief background on Bangkok’s litter police, or ‘Thetsakij’.
Section #2. A proposed new law to fine people who drop cigarette butts on selected Thai beaches up to THB 100,000. [Or imprison offenders for up to 1 year!]

Let’s get started!

Many new visitors to Bangkok fall foul of the city’s infamous ‘litter police’. What generally happens is that a foreigner is caught dropping litter, usually a cigarette butt, and they’re fined upwards of THB 2,000 baht. [This equates to around USD 60 or GBP 46]. These ‘enforcers’ are stationed at booths at three locations in central Bangkok along Sukhumvit Road. Though they can often be seen roaming along Sukhumvit road looking for ‘targets’. [It’s been a long time, as I gave up smoking a while back, but I have been followed by these guys hoping that I’d drop the cigarette I was smoking so they could fine me!]

What many don’t know is that these uniformed officers aren’t even police; they’re actually attached to the Law Enforcement Department of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration [BMA], and known in Thai as ‘Thetsakij’. Tourists commonly mistake them for police because of their similar uniform design, and official looking badges. Here’s what they both look like.

The Thetsakij do nothing to dispel this impression, and often tell foreigners that they’re ‘city police’, which is another name for the Metropolitan Police. The key way that you can tell the difference between ‘Thetsakij’ and the real police is that ‘Thetsakij’ cannot carry firearms. [From my understanding, they also don’t have the same powers as police, such as being able to make an arrest for example].

I’m now going to mention a non Bangkok-centric story, as it’s relevant to many visitors to Thailand…A story has just surfaced on the Thai media that concerns not just dropping of cigarette butts on selected Thai beaches, but smoking full stop! Basically it seems that smoking on Thai beaches will be banned on 20 popular tourist beaches which have been found to be constantly littered with huge numbers of discarded cigarette butts. [This is according to the chief of marine and coastal resources].

Apparently, an examination of just 9 square meters of Patong Beach on Phuket [to a depth of 10 cm] by the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources’ Phuket Marine Biological Centre on Sept 9 found an average 0.76 butts per square meter. This apparently translates into 101,058 butts along the 2.5 km beach. [As an aside, 9 square meters doesn’t seem a particularly rigorous examination, but that’s a separate conversation…] The claim is that discarded cigarette butts makes up about one-third of all the rubbish collected.

The upshot of all this is that Phuket, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chon Buri and Songkhla provinces have apparently agreed to jointly invoke Section 17 of the 2015 law on marine and beach resources management as a trial measure to ban smoking on selected beaches. The crazy part of the story is that people found flouting the ban could face a maximum penalty of a year in prison and/or a fine of THB 100,000. [This is around USD 3,000, or GBP 2,300!]

The Director General of The Marine and Coastal Resources Department, Jatuporn Buruspat, has apparently said the following:

Smokers will be required to drop their cigarette butts in provided containers before they enter these beaches…No more lighting up while strolling along the beach because that is most likely to end up with a huge number of cigarette butts being dropped on the beaches.

You can check out the beaches that will not safe to smoke on from November 2017 here.

  • Mae Phim [Rayong]
  • Laem Sing [Chanthaburi]
  • Bang Saen [Chon Buri]
  • Pattaya [Chon Buri]
  • Jomtien [Chon Buri]
  • Tham Pang [Koh Si Chang]
  • Cha-am [Phetchaburi]
  • Hua Hin [Prachuap Khiri Khan]
  • Khao Takiab [Prachuap Khiri Khan]
  • Patong [Phuket]
  • Bo Phut [Koh Samui, Surat Thani]
  • Sai Ri [Chumphon]
  • Chalatas [Songkhla]
  • Tha Wa Sukri [Pattani]
  • Koh Khai Nok [Koh Yao, Phangnga]
  • Koh Khai Nai [Koh Yao, Phangnga]
  • Phra Ae [Koh Lanta, Krabi]
  • Khlong Dao [Koh Lanta, Krabi]
  • Khlong Kwang [Koh Lanta, Krabi]

Apparently the plan is include all Thai beaches in the future, but ultimately I’d be careful about smoking on Thai beaches right now. As of now, you can be fined THB 2,000 for dropping cigarette butts on the beach, and at some point in the near future this fine could be much higher just for smoking, let alone dropping cigarette butts!

Bangkok Unmasked has no opinion regarding smoking on Thai beaches other than to be aware of the current laws, and act accordingly. We do notice that many of the beaches that have been targeted are very popular with foreign tourists.

Anyway…That’s it for this video. Expect a new video shortly. [It should be posted in about a week, or so].

For all you techies out there, this video was shot on a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, and edited using HitFilm Express.

Finally, please don’t forget to subscribe to this channel through the button below! Also, if you have any comments on this VLOG post, please do write something in the comments section!


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