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Foreigners Selling Ice Cream ‘Threaten National Security’

Thailand Ice Cream Vendor Motorbike Bicycle

Thailand collected more than 1.3 million baht in fines and deported 388 foreigners for working illegally in the kingdom since October.

The Department of Employment said that the overwhelming majority of cases involved laborers from Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam who were caught working in trades restricted to Thai nationals … including selling ice cream.

Yes, if you want to buy a cone from a guy on a bicycle, he’d better be Thai. The department said it has been cracking down on ice cream hawkers after complaints from Thais about non-Thais peddling frozen snacks in Bangkok and its surrounding provinces, Chiang Mai and Phuket.

Department officials said they recognize foreign workers are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, but ice cream selling is considered “hawking” which can only be done by Thais for “national security” reasons.

However, the department said it is sympathetic to the economic plight of foreigners and is pushing through changes to the law to allow foreigners to work as retail shop clerks, but only for nationals on countries that Thailand has bilateral labor agreements with, namely Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos.

Currently there are 39 categories of occupations reserved for Thai nationals, including accounting, financial brokerages, legal services, tour guides, architecture, civil engineering, wood-carving, knife-carving, typesetting, and the making of Thai dolls.