Vol. VII No. 41 - Tuesday
October 7 - October 13, 2008

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by Saichon Paewsoongnern

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Arbitrariness among police officers


Arbitrariness among police officers

Dear Editor,
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?
Jay Clack
Editor replies:
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.


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