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Chinese tourists at Asiatique, a popular night market in Bangkok, on New Year's eve 2016. (Photo by Marwaan Macan-Markar)

Thailand cracks down on 'zero-dollar' tour groups

Industry eyes independent, high-spending Chinese tourists

MARWAAN MACAN-MARKAR, Asia regional correspondent | China

BANGKOK -- Four Chinese tourists in their 20s tuck into an early lunch of "pad Thai," a stir-fried noodle dish cooked with egg and shrimp, at a restaurant on Khaosan Road, a popular backpackers' hub in the Thai capital. Two of the women, sporting wide-brimmed sun hats, search for travel information on their mobile phones. They are planning a trip to Pattaya, a seaside resort south of Bangkok.

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