Millennial backpackers are begging for money from locals in Southeast Asia to fund their travels, and police have had enough

Bangkok, Thailand.

Bangkok, Thailand.
aluxum/Getty Images

Some backpackers are taking traveling on a shoestring to a new level.

According to a recent report by The Guardian, authorities in Thailand, Indonesia, and other countries are cracking down on “begpackers”: usually young Westerners who ask locals for money to help fund their journeys. Some of the travelers sell photographs or perform songs on sidewalks, while others simply ask for quick handouts, the report said.

The locals who give begpackers money are often poorer than the travelers.

In Hong Kong, new busking laws are forcing out street performers, mainly because of noise complaints. According to the South China Morning Post, begpackers were all over the city three years ago, including outside train stations, on footbridges, and on sidewalks.

The Indonesian island of Bali is also clamping down on foreigners who ask locals to pay for their trips. The South China Morning Post quotes an immigration official in Ngurah Rai International Airport saying that tourists who run out of money or are pretending to be beggars will be sent to their embassies.

The crackdown on begpackers has affected street performers who busk to support their art. One such performer is Tomoya Nagayama from Japan, who the South China Morning Post says won’t be busking in Hong Kong any longer.

“Someone called the police on me,” Nagayama told the South China Morning Post. “I think it’s because many older Hongkongers feel contempt for me – well, not just me, but Hong Kong buskers, too.”