Sukhumvit Soi 22 Police Check
Regarding your piece in the weekly column about police checks in Sukhumvit soi 22, I had a very unpleasant experience there myself last week.
I've been at the cinema in Terminal 21 with a gogo girl from Cowboy who I have known for a long time and one of her friends. After the movie finished we went to the apartment which they share together at soi 22.
The apartment is located at the end of the first third of the soi coming from Sukhumvit. After a while we said goodbye to her friend and went downstairs to go to my place. When we get out the door there were two cops on a motorbike checking one girl.
We tried to walk past them but sure enough they stopped us. They asked us where we were going and where we had come from and so on. Then the usual game started and they wanted to see my passport which I didn't have with me. I played dumb
and said I was here on holiday and at first didn't speak Thai with them but only English. They wanted to check my pockets but only touched them from the outside. The cop said he was checking for weapons. I have had cops grabbing in my pockets
before at the regular night-time checks at the Asoke intersection so I was quite happy he didn't do that.
After they were satisfied with me they turned their attention to my friend. When they searched her bag they found condoms and asked her if she was working in a bar and she said, Yes in Cowboy. After that they checked her ID card and said they wanted to take a drug test. I was arguing with the cop that she don't have drugs in her bag, she doesn't even smoke or drink so she sure wouldn't take drugs and we just want to go to my place now and sleep. (It was about 1:30 AM). At first I thought they wanted to check us both for drugs which got me really nervous since I wouldn't trust the outcome of such a test because maybe the cops would say that the test was positive even if it was not. But they only wanted to test my friend.
I had about 4,000 baht with me and was thinking about giving each cop some money so that they would let us go because I could see that my friend was really scared about the possible drug test, but I was not sure if that was a good idea or not since I never had to bribe my way out of a police check before and I couldn't ask her with the 2 coppers so close by.
Then the cops told me to wait here and they took my friend and walked about 20 meters away and wanted to send her in to a dark side alley to do the drug test! I thought what the fxxx, 2 male cops wanting to do a piss test with a girl on the street! I wanted to go after them but my friend shook her head, waved me goodbye and pointed to a taxi that was coming down the street. So I stopped the taxi and made my own way home. The cops just looked but didn't stop the taxi.
I was glad to get away from there but also felt bad for leaving her alone with the two coppers. She later called me and told me they worked out "an agreement" so she wouldn't have to do the drug test. She offered them money and they asked
how much she had. She looked in her wallet and said 1,000 baht. The cop wasn't happy with that and said they want 10,000. She tried to argue with them but they wouldn't go down. To make things worse, one of the cops was from the same
town as my friend and he made her call someone at her home. This was the cops’ way of making sure that she was going to pay them the 10,000 baht. If she wouldn't someone was going to visit her family!
I don't know if my friend is taking drugs or not. I believe she doesn't and that’s also what she told me afterwards but she said she was still worried about the test and didn't want to go to the station. I'm also not taking drugs but when the cops said they want to make a drug test the first thing I was thinking was hell no, whatever it takes I will make sure I don't have to do it. Though I didn't think it would cost 10,000 baht to get away from this. I thought 10,000 was about the money that could save you when they find drugs in your pockets. Maybe because they know that my friend was working as a gogo dancer and saw her with a farang they must have thought she had enough money and made it a good pay day for them.
I live in Bangkapi and on the way to my apartment there was a big police check on Ramkhamhaeng Road that night. The good thing about living in a Thai area is that the cops there never stop a farang because no-one can speak enough English. They just looked in the taxi and waved me on.
This is all a great concern at many levels.
Let me first say that I have received a number of emails from people who have been stopped and searched by cops on or very close to Sukhumvit soi 22 / or who have witnessed others being stopped and searched by cops. Given that the number of people who this happens to who email me is what, perhaps not even 1% of all people stopped and searched, that suggests it's happening very often!
That 2 male cops suggest a female accompany them in to a dark alley to piss in to a beaker for a drug test sounds outrageous and is not something I would expect. I could understand that she might be asked to go to the police station for such a test to be carried out but in an alley? That just doesn't sound right…
While I can understand a Thai girl being concerned at taking a piss test, to pay 10,000 baht to avoid being tested suggests to me that…..she had drugs in her system. I just don't believe she would pay that sort of money – and 10,000 baht is A LOT of money to a rural Thai – to avoid a test if she was innocent. And for sure, A LOT of girls working Cowboy, Nana, Patpong etc use drugs.
It is really no wonder the bars of Sukhumvit soi 22 are so quiet. With stories like this doing the rounds who would want to go anywhere near that soi!