Westerners beware when you get into trouble with the Thai Police you are on your own!!
The Thai Police have a fearsome reputation ,as individuals I have met some friendly Guys but as an entity they are loathed,despised and above all feared by all Thai’s. I have lived in Thailand for just over Four years.I have a pleasant life here,if one is sensible it is possible to live well on a modest amount of Money. I manage to run a Chopper,a Car and I live in a nice little house.To maintain the Lifetyle which I enjoy here were I still living in the UK I would probably have to have a full time Job!! Meanwhile in Thailand with careful Money Management (Something no Thai Understands!!) I am considered to be Wealthy!!
Inevitably when One becomes complacent/smug the fates send a big black cloud into Ones sky of deepest Andaman blue.My black cloud arrived in the form of a Thai Tourist Policeman!This chap also lived in my Apartment Building.I should explain at this point that the incidents I describe here happened some Two Years ago when I still lived in a Mansion/Apartment
I used to encounter this Guy in the car park,he habitually wore a scowl and would sometimes greet One with Sa Wa Dii Kap and sometimes not.I paid very little attention to this surly behavior,putting it down to the fact that this chap simply disliked Westerners (Most Thai’s do I am sorry to say!!)
On occasion he would ask how much I had paid for my Motorcycle,then when I got my new car he would ask the same question.He wanted to know whose name the Log Book was in (Basically Foreigners cannot get Credit and if buying this way the Log Book would have to be in the name of a Thai) He appeared stunned when I told him I had paid cash for the Car as I did not like Credit.
Now I understand that an Officer in the Thai Police (this guy is at least a Captain) receives around 17.000 Baht a Month Salary.The thought of a Foreigner actually having 700,000 Baht to hand over for a new car came, I think like a slap in the face to this unhappy Gentleman!!
Now it is commonly held that the Thai Police are Corrupt because they are badly paid.In fact with all the fringe benefits they receive i.e. subsidized Home Loans free Medical care for them and their Families they even receive 10% of all the Fines they impose they are rather well Paid!! They are Corrupt because nobody tries to stop the Corruption,Kickbacks go all the way up to the Top in Government as well as the Police. I give an example of how Senior Police Posts are allocated in the post that the link will take you to.
Roadside stops and shaking down Truck Drivers for Gross overloading (Of which they are clearly Guilty) are, I think the main money spinner for the Highway Police.Thai drivers must Cary all their documents when driving,inevitably they do not,or indeed have not got any in either event the Thai Police demand cash!! Whereas in Western Countries the job of the Police is to catch lawbreakers,thus reducing offending,the Thai Police are not interested in bringing Lawbreakers before the Courts,only in getting money from them!!
A Friend pointed out a Beautiful Modern Building set amidst splendid Grounds,parked outside a brand new Porsche and various other top of the range Automobiles.This is not some Corporate Headquarters it is the HQ of the Thai Highway Police.The Classy cars belong to the top Cops!! In most Countries attempts are made to conceal Corruption in Thailand because of all Thai’s overwhelming need to show off it is publicly flaunted!!
On a recent trip South to Krabbi in my new car I was stopped several times in road blocks.I paid a 200 Baht fine for leaving my home town on the “Red Plates” with which new cars are delivered before they are registered.On the way back North I was again stopped, the Thai Police telling me they had photographs of me speeding (They didn’t) I explained in my halting Thai that I was not a Thief or a Robber,but a Businessman on Holiday,I think they just got fed up trying to understand my excruciating Thai and waved me on my way!!
An acquaintance in Bangkok was telling me about a Thai Police Captain there who paid around 7 million Baht “Cash” for a top of the range BMW 7 series.Now assuming this lucky Guy is not “On The Take” his Wife would have to be pretty clever with the Housekeeping money!!Of course his superiors and work colleagues know where the money came from but as they are all benefiting from the same graft and corruption nothing is ever said!!
It does seem astounding and improbable that a fairly Junior Thai Police Officer can ammas this kind of wealth.It becomes more understandable when One realizes that everything in Thailand is negotiable.The wealthy Businessman who goes drinking with his Friends/Mistress then kills a pedestrian while driving home drunk,can,using the good offices of his friendly local Policeman buy himself off the hook
Gambling is another big Earner for the Thai Police,as it is illegal and Thai’s love to gamble it is an absolute gift for crooked Coppers.Every Thai Town has an illegal Lottery and betting shops are everywhere,many in fact operated by the Police!!
It is a matter of amusement for Thais when they see their immaculately Clad Thai Police on TV showing of Huge quantities of Drugs which they have seized.The amusement comes about as everyone knows that as soon as the cameras stop rolling the Dope will go straight out the Back Door to be sold to the Gang which pays most protection to the Police!! In short the Thai Police Force is without doubt the Countries most lucrative franchise!!
When I told my Thai Girlfriend of my encounter with the Policeman she was quite alarmed,confirming what I already knew that he was Kii Itcha (jealous) she urged me to say nothing to him,a suggestion I was happy to accept!!
One day during August I was washing my motorcycle in the car park whilst chatting to an Australian Bloke who was also a resident,when the Cop approached.After the usual conversation about how much my vehicles had cost he asked me to lend him 10.000 Baht and in exchange he would return 11.000!!
I immediately,and I thought politely, refused the above request,explaining that I did not lend money.I have since learned that in order to ensure a Thai who you are turning down for a loan does not lose face One should not have refused outright but should have explained that One did not have any Money Oneself at this time.If I am honest I have to admit that I enjoyed telling the Guy no, and if i am even more truthful My refusal was not in the least bit tactful!! as I have learned subsequently, it is a very bad mistake to upset or offend any Thai Particularly a Cop!!
I am sure that there was a gradually increasing undercurrent of animosity between myself and the Cop.My Australian Chum and others were also aware of this Thai Policeman’s unfriendly attitude,In hindsight I wonder if there was intended to be an element of coercion in the Policeman,s behavior,he had made sure that I saw him dressed in his police uniform being collected by underlings in a squad car.
I should at this stage explain a little about the Thai Tourist Police.Ostensibly they are meant to take care of Foreigners living and holidaying in Thailand ( there are posters all over Thailand giving the Tourist Police emergency number with the logo “Your First Friend!!”
In reality the tourist Police have their snouts in every conceivable scam and con perpetrated on Falangs.They extort money from the owners of the Girlie Bars frequented by Westerners.They involve themselves in all the many disputes between Thai,s and Falang,extorting money from the Westerner whenever they feel that they can get away with it,which is more often than not.
One brief example of the Modus Operandi of the Tourist Police involves a particularly stupid Australian who had given large sums of Money to his Thai Woman to buy land.Upon finding that his Lady had already been Married to an Australian who had Died (something she had omitted to tell him) he got drunk beat her up and started wrecking her House.
Of course situations like the above are meat and drink to the Police,they listened to the Australians tale of woe sympathetically (they know when to be sympathetic from long experience of handling Falangs) The Australian had a joint bank account (Funded by Him) with his Thai Totty and it would require her signature to relase the funds.The Police (in collusion with the Woman) negotiated a settlement .The split was 50/50 for the Woman and the Dumb Australian and 10,000 for the Police who would split it between themselves minus a cut for their Boss.
Now the Policeman I have had this problem with is the Man who gets all the 10 percents in theory he should be a wealthy Man.I am pretty certain that the reason this Guy needs Money is because he is a Gambler.When he was making his pitch for the 10,000 he talked about visiting Casinos in Lao.Whether he thought telling me that my 10,000 was to be invested in playing the tables at a dodgy Lao Casino would reassure me as to the safety of my Money is,quite frankly beyond my comprehension.
My nemisis obviously disgruntled by my refusal to have myself ripped off sought his revenge by making snide comments in Thai to the housekeeping staff when I passed by. I am learning Thai,and though far from fluent I can understand a little of what is being said.Kii Niow in Thai means Cheap/stingy as this was being said about me I made the mistake of rising to the bait and said quite forcefully in Thai that yes I was Kii Niow.I further told the policemen that I did not think he liked Falang.
All of the above was a big mistake I admit.Unfortunately I have a Scottish temper and the adrenalin hits the brain rather quickly!! Things came to a head after I gave the Cretin a look of withering contempt,This was all too much for the policeman,being openly disrespected by a hated Falang in his own Country appears to have been the straw which broke this Camels back!! He snapped!!
He followed me into the Car Park and a vehement exchange followed,the night security guard getting between us to stop blows being exchanged (Thankfully the Cop being 10/15 years younger than me!!) Whilst the Thai hurled the worst insult possible “Kwai” meaning Buffalo is a very profound Insult, in fact as far as most thai’s are concerned all Falang are Kwai’s, only most of the time they think it instead of actually saying it.Meanwhile I was telling him that he was Kii Itcha Jealous and Kii Maa Dog Shit.
When we ran out of insults the Thai made his way to his car and I rode of on my bike.In fact when considering these events afterwards I began to understand that I was probably lucky that the Policeman did not go upstairs pick up his service revolver and shoot me in the head!! I am not being melodramatic here Falang are Murdered in large numbers here for far more trivial reasons than the one I had given this unpleasant Policeman!!
The above was the fate suffered by a Falang who had a Thai policeman for a neighbor.The Murder was committed as a result of a trivial dispute over Water.The Policeman rushed off to the Temple and Prostrated himself before the Chief Monk asking to be forgiven,then repeated the grovelling before his Boss.He was duly forgiven by both these parties and told not to do it again!!! After all it was only a Falang who had been killed not a Thai!!
The Policeman attempted to complain about me to the Owner of the Building,a Vietnamese Businessman.Now I have a good relationship with the Owner,who whilst probably at heart having little time for Falang himself,is also keenly aware that they constitute a sizable chunk of his Income!! In fact I think Tony,the Owner, considers me as something of a Talisman as I was the first resident when he opened the Building and 2 years later I am still here.Whilst the rent has gone up for all the more transient Tenants mine never has!!
Tony,I think understands that the Policeman is a loose cannon,and while not wanting to have to go so far as to ask him to leave he certainly did not want him frightening away the Falang,who at a guess constitute around 30% of occupancy.I had previously mentioned to Tony the fact that the Policeman had tried to borrow money,and that his behavior identified him to me as a real Falang hater.The Owner’s advice being that he was “A Crazy Man” and that I should ignore him!!,
After our confrontation-The irate Copper requested an interview with Tony the Owner in Tony’s Office.Tony’s response was to tell the Policeman that he was too busy to see him!!Now according to my belated understanding of the Thai way of doing things the impression this refusal will have been meant to convey,and the way it will have been understood will have been as a huge put down of the Copper by an important and Wealthy Businessman.Tony was in fact telling him in no uncertain terms that he was in the wrong.
People to whom I have mentioned my dispute with the Policeman,particularly those who understand the way things work here have all told me the same thing.Essentially I got away very lightly, the revenge this individual could have visited on me would have been something about which I could have done nothing!! From having Drugs planted in my room to having me severely beaten up were all within this Mans power.
As I often warn Thailand is a dangerous Country for Westerners,The Newspaper article which you can visit by clicking the link under “Bookmarks” confirms that The British Foreign Office do nothing to make the some Sixty Thousand Britons living here along with the Hundreds of Thousands who visit aware that they are more likely to be Murdered in Thailand than in any other Country on Earth!!
Readers of the News Article will find that the Murderess written of Comes from Issan!!! Surprise Surprise. The Murder of the Backpackers in Kanchanaburi by a Thai Policeman was witnessed by up to thirty people NONE of whom would give evidence!!! I have no hesitation in stating that the life of a Falang means very little to the general Thai population!!
Post Script. I am told by my Friends who still work at the Mansion where the above took place,that the Surly Cop has moved to Bangkok. He has gained promotion and now quite frequently appears on TV. As a dyed in the wool Falang Hater he certainly always had all the correct attributes to succeed in The Thai Police!!
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