Saturday, December 21, 2013

Corrupt Thai Police

Meet with friends, getting late, excuse myself, take a taxi home. Driver pulls onto a side-street connecting to the main road. Police shine a light onto the cab, and seeing me, order the taxi to pull over.
Testily, they command me to exit the car. Not amused, unsure what’s going on, I see little choice. 

“Where’s your passport?” they demand. “Back at the hotel,” I reply. I make it a habit to keep my most valuable travel position under lock and key as much as possible.
I’m wearing short sleeves and shorts. “What have you got in your pockets?” 
"Nothing." 
“Show us,” they order.
I pull out a small wad of cash, and a black credit card. “What’s that?” they ask accusingly. “My hotel key,” I respond, “Why are you searching me?” This isn’t America where the police must have probable cause.
“Empty other pocket,” they order. 
“I don’t have anything.”
“Empty pocket.” 
Two cases, one small green plastic labelled 'Glide,' and the other a metallic black emerge.
“What’s that?” they demand. 
“Dental floss dude.”
“And that?”
“My camera, would you like me to take your picture?”
They glower at me. “Where are you going?” 
“Back to my hotel to get some sleep.”
Unhappy, they tell me to get back into the cab and go. I don’t delay. Undoubtedly they were hoping to find some contraband substance, likely drugs, not so they could haul me away to jail, but so they could extract a bribe from me.

Not feeling great about the encounter, part of life I guess. 

the not always honorable Thai police

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