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Filipino and Thailand transgender groups clash in Bangkok

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Mar 06, 2024 1:15 pm

A controversy broke out in Bangkok, Thailand after a Filipino transgender group got into an altercation with their Thai counterparts.

Local media reported that the fight started after about 20 Filipino transgender women attacked six of their Thai peers at a restaurant in Soi Sukhumvit 11 near Nana BTS station.

After authorities were called to the scene, they were able to apprehend four of the 20 supposed attackers, who were then brought to the Lumpini Police Station.

In a press conference covered by local news outlet The Nation, two members of the Thai group said they were "disappointed" that the Filipinos were allowed to leave their country so easily as they were allegedly "encroaching on their territory."

They urged authorities to investigate why so many Pinoy transgender women stay in hotels in Soi 11 and whether they have gotten past the 30-day visa stamp they received upon arrival.

How the fight started

The brawl became a trending topic on social media, particularly X, as various videos of the fight circulated on the platform. Many were left wondering how the chaos started.

The two Thai representatives explained that it was all rooted from a turf war. According to them, they've been working in the Sukhumvit area for years and they noticed that Filipino transgender women started showing up out of the blue in big groups in the same area. They often hung out outside one of the hotels on Soi 11.

"I don’t know what they are doing there," one of them said.

Before the incident happened, the Thai group was walking past the hotel early Monday, March 4 when the Filipino group began "stomping, pointing at their feet and hurling abuses at them," The Nation reported.

They alleged that the Pinays tried to shoo the Thai trans women away before they eventually attacked them.

Three separate brawls happened later in the day. One started at around 10 p.m. when several Thai LGBTQ+ members allegedly began hitting two Filipinos who were being escorted by police out of the hotel, while the other clash happened around midnight when a Filipino trans woman went downstairs to buy food and was allegedly assaulted.

The last fight reportedly occurred at 4:00 a.m. when police tried to usher the rest of the Filipino group outside the hotel, but all of them were allegedly attacked by the Thai LGBTQ+ group. While injuries were sustained, police have yet to specify how many were harmed from the fights.

Investigations continue

The Thai representatives accused their Filipino counterparts of working illegally in the area based on CCTV footage over the past 12 days.

While Pol Maj-General Witthawas Chinkham, commander of Metropolitan Police Division 5, stated that the group arrived in Thailand as tourists and has been staying at the hotel as tourists, he stressed that they have contacted the Immigration bureau to help with investigations on whether any laws were breached by the group.

"The immigration police will still check to see if they entered Thailand legally, and if they were working illegally," Witthawas said.

ONE News reported that the Department of Foreign Affairs is now assisting the Filipino transgender women who were involved in the clash. Undersecretary Eduardo de Vega also confirmed that both groups are involved in sex work and competition for customers was the reason for their fight.

According to the media outlet, the Philippine Embassy in Bangkok said four Filipino transgender women are being interrogated by the police. No cases have been filed against them as of writing.