Arbitrariness among police officers
Thank you for the interview with Police Major Surapong Thammapitak. It was
an interesting read which only lacked of one question: If foreigners are
being treated unsuitable by police men, whom can they report this to? Who
would seriously consider their complaint and actually take action?
My Thai girl-friend and I were flagged down because she didn’t wear a helmet
(I did). However, the officer only concentrated on me. He checked my
driver’s license, the motorbike insurance, searched my bike and even made me
empty my pockets. I was only able to present a copy of my passport, which he
wouldn’t accept. “I give ticket for you,” he said. Maybe, at that point, I
should have told him that I live just around the corner and I could get the
original within 2 minutes, but I chose to remain silent. While he fined me,
three ladies passed on one bike. None of them wore helmets and none of them
were even old enough to drive, but the officer would simply wave them
through. I do speak a bit Thai, and when I asked him with a candid smile why
he would fine me if he didn’t fine them, I received nothing but an
indistinctive grumble. I asked again, and he answered something like “not
your business.” I accepted the ticket, went to pay and came back only to
realize that my motorbike was impounded and the officer was gone. I also
read a bit Thai, so I know the officer’s name. However, I’m afraid that even
if I reported this, nothing would happen.
I accept all pros and cons that farangs are exposed to in the country that I
chose to spend my twilight years in. I’m fortunate to be able to easily pay
for fines, so at a few incidents, I kept myself out of discomfort through
adapting the ‘mai pen rai’ attitude. But isn’t this discriminatory? Does the
city need an initiative or some kind of vigilante group for farangs to offer
fellow sufferers a contact point? Would that even bother the police or city
hall? Should I even bother?
The Chiang Mai Mail are currently arranging an interview with the
Traffic Police Chief, which will be published in the paper in the near
future. Your comments will be relayed to him, and hopefully we will receive
a satisfactory answer.