Imagine you had a bar in Pattaya and one day an undercover cop walked in and placed 2,000 Baht in the hands of one of your service girls – that’s after she told him straight in the face she didn’t provide any “extra” services.
Minutes later four other cops raid the bar and arrest you on trumped-up prostitution and human trafficking charges (claiming the 2,000 Baht in the hands of your waitress were evidence enough she was on the game.)
Of course, if you handed over 30,000 Baht in cash now they would consider dropping the made-up charges …
What would you do? Here’s an idea: How about calling the national police chief in person and complain directly to country’s top crime-buster about the four corrupt coppers attempting to extort you? For some reason you’ve got his private number or he might even be a friend of yours?
Well, this is just what the owner of a karaoke bar in Pattaya did last week as she found herself in this bizarre situation, hoping to shut the extortionists up by talking straight to Chakthip Chaijinda, Commissioner-General of the Royal Thai Police. A crackdown on corruption is a top item on the national agenda, so that should quickly sort this farce out, shouldn’t it?
But, alas, even after you’ve turned your hands-free speaker on and the national police chief’s voice can be heard clearly they still think you’re talking to a ghost and, instead of beginning to see they’re attempting to blackmail the wrong person, handcuff you and take you away in a private car …
No, this is no short fiction story but indeed happened to Mrs. Paranisa Chainapanichjul, the female owner of the Nangfah Karaoke Bar on Pattaya Third Road last Thursday night.
According to a report by Pattaya One, the 36-year-old woman claims that
at 7.30pm, on July 14, Ms. Pranee Ployrum, a DJ at Nangfah Karaoke Bar, was sitting in the bar when a man walked in and ordered a soft drink. He started up a conversation with Ms. Chanida Chokcharoen, a waitress, saying that he was waiting for a friend. He then suddenly announced that if she admitted she was available for prostitution he would give her 2000 baht.
Ms Chanida refused and told the man the Karaoke Bar did not provide those services and so he got up and walked over to the unsuspecting Ms Pranee and placed the cash into her hand, without saying what it was for. He then walked out of the bar and as a confused Ms Pranee was asking Ms Chanida what had happened a team of four police officers raided the bar.
The leader of the team identified himself as Pol Lt Col Narawuth Karamhito and another officer, Pol Lt Jatupoom Limsiriwattanakul, began photographing the marked notes that were still in the hand of the shocked Ms Pranee. Both ladies were threatened and told to call the owner to the premises as she would be charged with prostitution and human trafficking.
Once at the bar Ms Paranisa (the owner) telephoned Police General Chakthip Chaijinda, the Commissioner General, to complain. The general asked to speak to the officers but they refused as they didn’t believe who he was. Instead they referred him to Pol Maj Gen Amphol Buarubporn, Commander of Chonburi Provincial Police.
They also accused Ms Paranisa of being insane as they believed she was talking to nobody on her cell phone. So the general, who was in fact the real general, told her to put her hands-free speaker on but the officers again refused to believe him, took the phone away and handcuffed Ms Paranisa. (…)
You can read the whole drama at Pattaya One. What we can tell you is that it wasn’t before a couple more phone calls were made and she was asked to pay a bribe of 30,000 Baht to have the trumped-up charges dropped that Mrs Paranisa was actually released and she herself filed a criminal complaint against the corrupt cops.
This story is simply too bizarre to be true. Still it is. We’re afraid corruption is so deeply ingrained in Thai culture that eradicating it will always remain a Sisyphean challenge.
UPDATE – Ironically, Pattaya One report in an update, the karaoke bar owner has now been offered a generous bribe of 500,000 Baht from an unnamed senior police officer in exchange for withdrawing her criminal complaint against the accused cops. She has however refused the offer and may even go on TV with her story.
Meanwhile, at least one of the accused officers has been, no, not suspended or transferred to an inactive post, but simply relocated to another station.