Thailand’s top health official apologized for using a vulgarity to disparage white tourists Friday morning and demand they should be kicked out of the country.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul on Friday afternoon apologized for his enraged comments during a photo op this morning at which he was handing out face masks and noticed some foreigners refusing them.
He told reporters that “farangs,” a catch-all term for white tourists, should be deported for not wearing masks during the current coronavirus outbreak.
“These fucking farangs. These farang tourists. The embassies should be notified and the public should be informed too. We are giving away the masks, but they refused to take them. They need to be kicked out of Thailand,” Anutin said while giving an interview to the media at BTS Siam, where the media had been invited to film him personally hand out masks to commuters.
“The Chinese, Asian people, they all take the masks. But those Europeans… how frustrating,” he continued.
In his online apology, he said the foreigners “showed disgust at Thais.”
“I apologize that today I kinda ‘lost myself’ to some Europeans who showed disgust at Thais who wear masks and refused to cooperate to wear the masks,” he wrote on Facebook.
Anutin is the head of the Bhumjaithai Party, which came to power by backing legal cannabis and Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha.
Thai officials have been playing down the extent of the outbreak which has led to at least 25 confirmed infections in the kingdom, an increasing number of which are locally transmitted as the virus spreads. None has involved any tourists of European descent.