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MAIL OPINION  By Shana Kongmun

 

Corruption in Thailand

Everyone complains about corruption in Thailand, it seems from the small bribes paid to get things done or to get out of doing things, to the very big ones that are on a scale most normal people can’t even see.

However most people are happy to pay the bribe if it brings about a benefit to the themselves and generally most people only complain about the bribe when they feel it is unfairly asked for. But regardless of the reason for the bribe, it is still a bribe and by offering to pay the person is still complicit in the act. There can’t be good and bad corruption, there is just corruption.

A friend of mine introduced me to a website, this particular one is in India, a country that has serious corruption problems called “I paid a bribe; uncover the market price of corruption”. There are several tabs you can choose, “I paid a bribe”, “I didn’t pay a bribe”, “I didn’t have to pay a bribe” and “I don’t want to pay a bribe”.

Readers can submit their bribe stories and name honest officials. The site developers believe that by bringing this out in the open it can help change the system. The pie charts are quite fascinating as they show the varying statistics on maximum bribe amounts paid, cities with the most bribe reports and the change in the different categories.

The anonymity of the system is assured as the report you file does not ask for any details on you, there is no need to register. Just pick the city, fill out the day and time and then tell your story.

From the honest official who never asks for a bribe to get something done to the person who refused to pay a bribe when asked, to the person who paid the bribe. It’s an ingenious idea and one I think that some enterprising NGO might want to consider using. A Thai friend of mine, when asked thought it was a great idea, she said “I like that you don’t have to tell them who you are. When you file a complaint with the police they ask all your details and then know everything about you. It stops me from complaining about bribery.
 


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Corruption in Thailand