The Thai Police In My Condo!
The Thai police have always made me nervous. There is something about them which just doesn’t instil any confidence in me.
Numerous stories online and in the mainstream media tell of corruption, ineptness and even the occasional instance there said man in a brown uniform has gone silly with a handgun, even murdering innocent Westerners because he perceived that they made him lose face!
In my country, the police are generally respected for doing a difficult job reasonably well. Corruption in the police is almost zero and we always feel the police are there if, God forbid, we should need them.
I had managed to be largely successful in avoiding the Thai police, that was until one fateful day…
You may remember from my previous submissions that I had been stuck in a marriage with a violent woman who had pulled a knife on me, tortured me mentally and gone out to destroy some of my most prized possessions.
Our marriage problems were about to reach a crescendo that would pail all of these previous dramas into insignificance.
There I was, one quiet Sunday morning, sitting at the table, reading my newspaper when my wife says, quite out of the blue, that she wants a divorce.
“OK”, I respond, knowing that our marriage was as good as over.
“I want a million baht”, she then said. I laughed and continued reading the paper.
It was a quiet Sunday morning, my absolute favourite time of the week. I had the newspaper, a freshly brewed coffee and a croissant, an infrequent treat and a break away from the monotony of rice almost every meal. Sunlight was streaming into the front room of our condo and it had that warm glow that you only get for a short period each day. I was relaxed and enjoying the ambience.
I should have seen it coming. My wife’s soft padding across the floor turned into a series of more frantic steps and before I knew it I felt something cold and sharp at my throat. Not for the first time in my life the little lady was holding a knife to my throat.
She started screaming at me in what can only be described as an hysterical tone, telling me to write out a divorce settlement agreement there and then. I stayed calm and tried to reason with her, telling her that a settlement "reached" under such circumstances would be invalid, and that she was kidding herself. This aggravated her further and she wailed like a banshee, pulling the knife tighter against my throat.
I’m not a big guy, but I am a lot bigger than her. I’d be several inches taller and perhaps 40 kg heavier. But she had a knife to my throat and there was not much I could do as long as it remained there. A sudden movement and she could have slit my throat. I don’t know if it happens like it does in the movies and you keel over right away, but I know I couldn't have made it to the nearest hospital in time.
While I had not been too concerned when this had happened on previous occasions, this time I was a bit more worried. She had not just lost the plot, she had completely lost her composure. This was seriously worrying.
There was a pen and paper at the table so I wrote out a note for her, saying that I agreed to a divorce and that I would pay her a million baht as part of the divorce settlement. I signed it, dated it and below the signature I wrote “signed under extreme duress”. My wife speaks almost perfect English and she moved back away from me, clutching the note like it was the very million baht in cash she desperately wanted. She had won, and now she was going to get a million baht.
I backed away into the bedroom and grabbed a large 4 cell torch that I keep beside the bed.
Next thing I know there is screaming and she comes rushing into the bedroom with the knife raised above her head. Obscenities in Thai destroy what was left of the Sunday morning tranquility. She is wild-eyed and out of control and wants to know just what I have written below my signature and what it means. Having completed a Master’s Degree Stateside her English is exceptional and I had little doubt she knew exactly what it meant.
Then the situation dawns on her. She is standing in the bedroom screaming out threats at me with a knife raised above her heard. I am standing opposite her, with a chair pushed between us, and a big torch raised above my head, a torch hard enough and heavy enough to crack her skull open with one swift swing.
She has fire in her eyes. They have increased in size greatly and are bright red. She is shaking, but she is focused. For the first time in my life I think she really does want to kill me. I try to calmly tell her to put the knife down and she says that no, she won’t. She says that she is my wife and if I die she gets all of my money, so she is going to kill me.
She tells me in exactly those words, "I am going to kill you and I am going to get all of your money. You will never see your mother or father again."
She lunges at me and I lift the chair up and push it against her, knocking her back, but not hurting her. I am bigger than her and the chair is large, providing leverage to help me push her into a corner of the room, the legs of the chair serving to trap her there and keep her at bay. Her hand is pushed down by her side and she is unable to raise the knife an so cannot use it against me.
I tell her to drop the knife, but she refuses. She then starts wriggling, trying to get out of the bind she is in. I realize that she is going to break out of it so I decide to make a run for it. I drop the chair and run through the condo to the front door. It is locked and I grapple with the lock, unlock it and open it just as she comes charging at me with a great big knife.
I make it out into the corridor and she doesn’t pursue, just stands there waving the knife at me in the entrance to our condo.
I am barefoot and I rush to the lift although there is no need. She has not followed. I go straight down to the ground floor and frantically look for the head of security. The condo is patrolled by a team of security guards and the head guy is usually very helpful.
My hopes are dashed when I am told that he is not there that day. I explain the situation to two of the guards, that my wife has attacked me with a knife and threatened to kill me. I tell them that I would like them to witness me removing my personal belongings from the condo as I intend to leave there and then. The guards are the typical chunky, Isaan natives who serve as the nation's security forces nationwide. They might not be particularly well trained but they have had enough knocks in life that you know they can look after themselves.
But they’re scared! They tell me they don’t want to help! They say my wife might be high on drugs and that they would prefer not to get involved. I tell them that this is a big problem and that surely it is part of their job. They refuse and simply walk away. I try to plead with them to help but they walk around the corner and head out of sight!
I am now on my own.
I decide that with the torch in hand I can go back up without too many problems. What can a little Thai woman with a knife do against a farang with a big, heavy torch – and a much longer reach?
But I know that I need to cool down a bit and so I go and sit out by the pool. It’s mid-morning Sunday, usually a busy time, but fortunately there is no-one around. The sun is warm and the morning is cool, unusually cool by Bangkok standards.
With a chance to sit back and relax for a moment, my mind goes back over the past few years and I think about various times in our mercurial relationship. I had put up with a lot of shit until now but this is it. This was the final straw. (I have previously written of the dramas with my wife on this site and many people told me to get rid of her. I think back to that advice and lament my failure to act.)
While you cannot always articulate things when under such stress – my heart was beating at a seriously increased rate – I knew that this was it. The end. I could use this incident to get out of the marriage and most importantly, without paying her a King’s ransom in a divorce settlement. She had never contributed much to the relationship, had cheated, had smashed up various possessions of mine and had been one big headache. I wanted no more of her. Why should I have to pay her? My mind was more focused on how I could divorce her at minimal cost than anything else.
I don’t know quite how long I sat out by the pool, lost in thought, but the solitude was interrupted by the sound of keys dangling against each other. I looked across and there were two policemen with the manager of the administration office of the condo. She is a decent woman, a bit young for the job, but she likes me, and as I was later to find out, she really didn’t like my wife.
She explained very calmly that security had reported the issue to her and that she was compelled to call the police. I talked briefly with the policemen, explained what had happened and that I intended to move out immediately. They said they would accompany me into the condo and we could all talk it through.
My wife wasn’t even the slightest bit phased when I entered the condo with two cops. We sat down and each of us presented our credentials to the police, our details duly noted. I provided my passport and the Mrs. her ID card. I noticed that the cop writing down my name and passport number could barely write English and was making symbol-like letters, much as young kids do.
We each explained what had happened and my Mrs. didn’t even try and conceal her actions nor dispute my version of events. The cops listened intently. They told me that if I wanted to leave my wife I should pay her 300,000 baht there and then and then I could take my possessions away.
I was dumbfounded. 300,000 baht? Why? For what?!
Ding my best to keep my cool while feeling that there were two thieves in brown uniforms in my front room, I challenged them in Thai, asking them what the money was for. They replied that a man must compensate a woman when he leaves her. I told them that a split of the marital assets would be decided in court, and that I would win the court case as my wife had been unfaithful, something Thai law clearly states as being grounds for divorce. She squealed when I said this, but the cops just pointed at her and told her to shut up. It was perhaps the one useful thing they did. Perhaps a little over-confident, I then started telling them that she would not get a single baht out of me. Not today, not tomorrow, not any day! I said that if anything, the court would award in my favour.
The cops were a little confused about this. They insisted that I could not take anything out of the apartment but that yes, I should leave now and allow my wife to stay there. I said I would need to take some clothes and personal items. The police said that I could not! I also said that I would need to take some medication I require on a daily basis. They said I could not! Now things were getting ridiculous! I asked if my wife would be arrested for attempted murder and threatening to kill. They said there was no evidence and they could not arrest her without evidence!
Having paid a lot of money in taxes over the years in Thailand, I perhaps foolishly told them that in my country a person accused of such a crime would be arrested and taken to the police station where there would be an investigation and that they would only be released once they were satisfied a danger did not exist. They rolled their eyes in complete disinterest.
But it was what they said next that shocked me the most. After establishing that I had wheels they said that “If you want to make a statement then you should take your wife to the station and the two of you can make a statement there.”
“Of course. She is your wife. How else is she supposed to get there?”
Realizing that this was an exercise in futility, I started putting on my shoes and socks and said that I would accompany them to the station and make a statement. The cops explained that they patrol on bike and said that they would not be able to help me. Besides, they had their rounds to do and I should go back to the police station where I could make a statement to one of the officers on duty. They upped to leave, completely disinterested in any possible problems between myself and my wife. I left at the same time, leaving my wife alone in the condo to contemplate everything.
I went for a long walk, perhaps 3 miles from the condo, to clear my head.
I wanted away from this bitch right now. I was going to use this to file for divorce and I was not going to pay her anything.
I called my lawyer who was extremely helpful. He too was shocked at the police’s lack of action and comments and after ascertaining where I was, he came and met me about 30 minutes later. He informed me that they were wrong to prevent me from taking personal possessions.
He accompanied me back to the condo where we discovered that my wife had disappeared. I later found out she had gone to see one of her friends. My lawyer and I spent half an hour loading most of my possessions into the car before leaving the condo.
We went and had lunch and he gave me all the advice I needed on how to proceed. The crux was that I should move away to a place where my wife cannot find me. Beyond that, there was no hurry to make a report to the police. We had 90 days to do that and it didn’t matter if we made it today or in 89 days time, the charges would be investigated the same. He recommended sitting on it. He verified what I had felt that we could use this as grounds for divorce with her getting nothing.
We never did push the charges because three months later I divorced the bitch in a private divorce settlement that saw her get nothing and me promise not to press any charges against her.
But the over-riding memory of this nightmare was the Thai police. They just weren't interested. If you need to get the Thai police involved in any dispute, get a lawyer there first. They just do not seem to respond well to farangs when there is a dispute alleging wrong doing by a Thai national and they told me some things that were clearly wrong.
As a final note, let me say that being single again in Bangkok is wonderful. The number of attractive, single women interested in meeting Western guys is phenomenal. I am having a great time!
Horrible story, but a great read. You're not the only who hasn't sung the praises of the boys in brown.