Pattaya has a new police chief, Col. Apichai Klobpetch, who has (hardly a major surprise) vowed to crack down on traffic violations and crime, as well as to increase the safety of tourists. His appointment earlier this week, Khaosod reports, is a “part of a massive shakeup in the national police force, which has seen hundreds of officers reshuffled around the country.”
So what is Col. Apichai’s vision for Pattaya?
In a phone interview with Khaosod English, the new police boss is quoted as saying:
First, we will manage the traffic, to provide convenience to tourists and reduce accidents. Second, we will decrease crimes. We will put a control on crimes, to make them happen as rarely as possible. Third, and this is the most important one, taking care of tourists’ safety. We will provide security for their lives and possessions.”
So what can Pattaya and the Farang population expect from the ambitious new police chief?
After just three days in the new job Col Apichai already proved that he means business by leading a massive raid on Pattaya’s five biggest massage parlours, Honey Body Massage 1 & 2, Sabai Room, Rasputin and PP Massage. The crackdown came in the wake of a raid on one of Bangkok’s biggest body massage parlours, which uncovered a number of underage workers, including prostitutes from neighbouring Burma. The place was shut down and several police officers were sacked for allegedly receiving bribes from the owners.
While Wednesday night’s surprise raid on Pattaya’s most popular massage parlours uncovered no irregularities and the owners were simply reminded to strictly obey the law, we’d expect more similar raids on sex trade-related entertainment venues in the next couple of weeks and months.
What else? Definitely more road and sobriety checkpoints. But their number has kept on rising for months now and motorists have been warned anyway to leave their motorcycles or cars at home when they plan to have one over the eight.
As for a marked reduction in the number of crimes against tourists – the new police chief’s alleged top priority – we certainly wouldn’t hold our breath but simply wish Col Apichai good luck. He will need it.