My Experience Being Stopped And Searched By Bangkok Police
I’ve read in your column some of the instances of police stopping foreigners and wanted to share my experience. I realize I might not come off as an innocent person but I’ll tell the story anyway.
This happened towards the end of 2017. I was living in On Nut at the time and took the BTS to Nana Plaza for a night out. I was having a good time and my last stop in Nana was Balcony bar for cheap drinks. I drank 3 Jagerbombs in about 30 minutes and got a mototaxi to Soi Cowboy. I walked the strip of bars and didn’t even stop as I realized the drinks were catching up to me and I should probably head home.
I make the turn by Crazy House and start walking to Sukhumvit to get a taxi. Close to the Shell gas station I hear someone shouting from behind but didn’t realize they were talking to me and kept walking. Then I feel someone grab my left shoulder from behind to try and get me to turn around. Upon turning around, I immediately snatched this person by the collar with both hands and shook him around like a rag doll. I don’t like people putting their hands on me, especially when I’m that drunk. A shoving match ensued and I wouldn’t let go of him. I then realized this was a police officer and gave a final shove releasing my grip.
He radioed his colleagues and they were there within a minute. They were stopping cars that night. Surrounded by four of them at this point, they went ahead with a search of my pockets and said I was fighting with police. They found a popper which I had bought earlier that evening as a Thai woman had introduced these to me and I liked taking a sniff while getting a blowjob. The police said they are illegal in Thailand and I said then why do they sell them in the open everywhere in lower Sukhumvit.
A police pickup truck arrived and I got in the back middle seat with a cop on each side of me and two in the front. They took a winding route through all the deserted back sois and it crossed my mind they might just kill me or beat me badly and leave me, especially after I had just assaulted one of their coworkers. I was never put in handcuffs this entire time.
We arrive at the station to my relief and I’m escorted inside. I waited about 30 minutes and an old cop whom I assumed was in charge came in with the others and asked why I wanted to fight with the police. I said he grabbed me from behind and I was very drunk. He didn’t say anything about the popper.
Knowing I could pay my way out, I asked how much to make this go away. He said 50k baht. To which I laughed and said “I no big money farang”, he then lowered it to 10K baht. I said ok.
I could have paid 50K but I wasn’t going to give them that much for anything and would rather sit in jail and dry out. I probably needed it anyways as my drinking was becoming a problem.
There was a younger Thai cop who spoke English well and was a part of this as the older cop could not speak English so well. He was not involved in the initial incident.
I needed to use the ATM to get the money and they said a 7/11 was not far away. They let me out to go get the money and said to comeback. They were holding my passport.
I walked to 7/11 and got a can of Coca Cola and sat down on the curb, processing this in my drunken stupor.
I decided I wasn’t going to pay them anything as in my mind they had assaulted me first.
After ten minutes of sitting there the police pulled up in their pickup truck. They were motioning me to come over to the truck away from the cameras. I wouldn’t go and decided if it was going down they would have to do it in front of the cameras.
The younger cop who spoke good English made a whistling sound and walked over to someone’s motorbike and placed something on the seat. They then got in their truck and left. I didn’t realize what he placed on the seat.
Another five minutes go by with me just sitting there and then I walked over and saw that it was my passport. I grabbed it and flagged down the first taxi that came by. I had gotten away with it scot-free.
I told the taxi driver about what I had just gone through and he laughed saying the police are very bad in Thailand, I agreed and it was one of the best taxi rides I ever had. I gave him a hundred baht tip and thanked my lucky stars.
This was my experience, I don’t know if it helps any and I’m sure some people will put the blame squarely on myself for the way I acted.
When it comes to drugs I am an ignoramus and don’t know for sure what a “popper” is. But I am guessing it’s something not legal – and there is a risk with anything like that in Thailand.
Grappling or wrestling with a policeman is seriously dumb anywhere in the world. It’s just asking for trouble,
And walking away from that situation without paying? Hmmm, I always think in a situation like this where you’re in the wrong the best thing to do is pay. I say that because if you pay, they will consider the matter closed. If you don’t pay, what next? A one-off payment for a one-off incident when you’re in the wrong doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. I don’t like the idea of being asked to pay when I have done nothing wrong, but if I do something wrong and I am shown an easy out and only have to pay a modest 10,000 baht (you get fined more for speeding or not wearing a seatbelt in many countries) that seems like an easy way out. If it had been me in the situation you described, I’d be forever looking over my shoulder – and that’s not a recipe for a happy life.