Some people just don’t get it, do they? Bar girls do what they do. That’s what makes them bar girls. Getting involved with these girls is like pissing about with high voltage electricity while standing in a bucket of water. There might be
sparks, there will be shocks, there is potential for permanent injury and sometimes people die.
The same can also be said of getting involved with the police in Thailand. The main problem here is that many Westerners expect the police to be like they are at home. That is, fine upstanding people dedicated to public service, crime prevention and the up holding of law and order.
Few realise that the Thai police are nothing more than a murderous bunch of racketeering gangsters with no interest in law and order and are best avoided at all costs.
I like living in Thailand. I have a nice life here. I try to accept Thailand for everything it is and I try not to dwell too much on its shortcomings.
One of the drawbacks to living in Thailand is that friends, acquaintances as well as people I have never heard of call me up to tell me they are coming for a holiday or on business or just passing through and can I meet them for a beer or sort out a hotel or help them with one bloody thing or another. I help out when I can but there have been times when I really wished I had not been involved.
David was a pain in the arse when I worked with him in London fifteen years ago. He was the guy that always needed help with whatever he was working on. He never seemed to quite understand what he was supposed to be doing but of course as is usual with these types he managed to blunder through most of time keeping his incompetence a closely guarded secret.
David is now forty-five and outwardly you could mistake him for a moderately successful, level-headed individual who has his life under control. Then the silly bastard came to Thailand for a holiday. His holiday turned into a nightmare that left him financially, physically and emotionally damaged. All, his own stupid fault and he was very lucky it wasn’t worse.
So David came to Thailand for a holiday and fell in love with a bar girl in Pattaya. Nothing unusual in that but most people wise up at the airport or on the plane on the way home and that should be that.
Not so with David. Emails, phone calls, sending money, the whole turkey shoot till he can no longer stand it and comes back to pay a surprise visit. What does he find? Of course he finds his little Siamese trinket working in her usual bar. She’s flirting away with the customers when David arrives and for her this is a normal, ‘business as usual’ day at the office. For David, it is a gut-wrenching sight causing him to lose control of his emotions. She’s supposed to have stopped working etcetera, et bloody cetera…
David just didn’t get it. He was still on Chicago time and next came the real problem. Blowing his stack in the bar, David threw a few punches around, broke a few beer bottles and knocked over some tables. This was particularly bad timing because a group of traffic police just happened to be standing around outside at the time.
Enter Pattaya’s finest.
Now, this kind of behaviour is still a very rare thing to witness in Pattaya but let me tell you that when the Thai police break up a fracas in Pattaya there’s none of that ‘use of reasonable force’ nonsense we get in Farangland. Oh no, the police wade in with their boots and batons and if they are really in a bad mood, they might even shoot somebody. You really do not want to be in the immediate vicinity when one of these goes off.
Thirty minutes later David is in hospital being patched up. The police had bashed him up pretty good and had taken charge of his passport telling him to come to the station in the morning when it would be returned once he paid his fine.
At this point David decided he needed some help so instead of calling a lawyer or the sodding embassy, what does he do? He calls me.
So, Muggin’s jumps in the car and scoots of to Pattaya to see if anything can be done to help sort this out.
I pick David up from the hospital early next morning. I must say even I was surprised at the extent of his injuries. His head was bandaged and he had a nasty set of cuts and bruises on his face a arms. Silly sod!!
We went back to his hotel because I wanted a blow-by-blow account of exactly what had happened the previous evening.
Having heard his tale of woe I suggested that he contact the embassy and let them sort this out. David, being David, decided that he would rather not cause any more fuss and preferred to deal with the police himself. He had decided he would take any punishment he had coming, on the chin. I offered to take him to the police station to negotiate the ‘fine’ and get his passport back but David preferred to tackle this alone. I advised him that the ‘fine’ was most likely negotiable and not to part with any money until he had had his passport returned.
We seemed clear on the details so off he went to see the police station. I waited for him at the hotel.
After a couple of hours David returned to the hotel with another tale of more bad news and still without his passport.
He explained to me that as he approached the police station, the officer who had confiscated his passport the previous evening just happened to be leaving and met David on the front steps.
He told David that the ‘fine’ was forty thousand baht and he could have is passport back later that afternoon if he paid the money straight away. The cheeky bastard even drove David to the bank to get the money.
David handed over the cash. No invoice, no receipt, no nothing. How dozy can you get! My guess was that the officer probably still had the passport in his pocket.
Later that day, David returned to the police station to collect his passport only this time, he was told that a more senior officer had become involved in the case and another forty thousand baht was required to secure the release of the passport. David, the idiot paid up. As he explained to me later, he was afraid that he would be put in jail and was just too frightened to argue.
Now eighty thousand baht light, physically impaired and emotionally shattered due to the loss of his bargirl babe, David decided to bugger off back to Farangland before anything else happened. I had to agree it was one of his better ideas.
The lessons here are simple. If you get into any kind of trouble in Thailand the first thing you should do is CALL YOUR EMBASSY for advice. When you receive their advice, don’t ignore it. They know how things work here better than you do.
Best advice of all is, behave yourself when you are in Thailand. Contact with the police can be a very hazardous, not mention expensive experience.
He really should have listened to your good advice. But then again, he was an idiot for throwing punches in a bar. Thailand is a funny country but most things can be resolved by smiling and being pleasant. A smile is often the best way to start the process to seeking resolution.