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how to act if stopped on a motorbike by police in Thailand

From: David Unkovich <davidfl@G...> Date: Thu Nov 21, 2002 8:18 am Subject: Re: [bkkriders] Re: Bikes on Expressways

Nice one Shinji Agreed, just because the guy is waving at you doesn't necessarily mean you did anything wrong & so just keep going - it must be the guy behind you?

Play the dumb farang tourist & never acknowledge that police officer is trying to attract your attention. Don't even look at him or especially in his eyes, if you can. I've even waved back & smiled "thinking" that he is just trying to be friendly & say hello. Just don't acknowledge he's trying to stop you personally, it must be some one else. In the North, 99% of the time this works for me. I've never really had a problem, but no doubt this would not work so well in Bkk.

I recall one group of guys I was leading & the police had a checkpoint set up - the usual just before mid-day, looking for money lunch money. Constable Nok was waving madly at me, & I just kept waving at him & sailed through. But not the other guys, they all slowed right down & pulled over. Bad mistake, 300 baht a pop so a nice take - 900 baht for lunch. I'm not recommending running police checkpoints, but quite often you can just play dumb (perhaps it is too easy for me) and just chug on through. Then if you get stopped, don't speak any recognizable lingo (language) and they often don't know what to you with you, so just wave you on.

I once (10 yrs ago) had a problem with the police at the Kiu Sataa checkpoint on the Tha Ton - Doi Mae Salong road. Got pretty much strip-searched, without getting stripped of my clothes, but everything was out of my bag & pockets. I even had to empty out my wallet & every single slip of paper in my notebook. There was no doubt they boys were just trying it on to scam some money, but I stood my ground - in the rain, they wanted to do it all in the dry comfort of their slimy little police box, and then when they had finished I gave them a right ear bashing. 2 days later I was back at the same checkpoint and 2 other officers started to try the same game, but before they got too far, another cop called out to leave him (me) alone. For several months I had heard about these guys touching up the poor old farang tourist, & they must have made a killing in the lunch money stakes. Anyway I did not let this one go & wrote letters to the Bkk Post, TAT & Tourist police. Four months after the event I was asked to go to the provincial police station in Chiang Rai & make a formal complaint. I was reluctant to do so at first, but after regular phone calls I relented & rode up to Chiang Rai to sign the papers. There was a file 10 cms thick, which had come up from Bkk and at the bottom of the file were my original letters and the Bkk Post report! All I had to do was sign an official complaint and they transferred the bad staff from the checkpoint. Their game was over. It was a weird victory as I always expected to get done for something / anything for the next 6 months. Nothing happened, but I admit I was nervous each time I approached a police checkpoint in Chiang Rai province for many months! Actually nowadays I find most of the cops in the North nice guys and a lot of fun. They are all human beings trying to survive, just like you and me, but some of us have different positions on the ladder & perhaps need to push a bit to go up the ladder. (Sorry for waffling a bit much with this one.)

According to this provision, a police officer is empowered to order a motor vehicle driver to pull over upon seeing his committing a traffic offense. On the other hand, this provision doesn't empower police officers to stop motor vehicles just to check driver's license or registration or insurance. So what's happening on the street is that a police officer raises his arm and a driver spontaneously interpret this as a legitimate order to pull over,

Regards David Unkovich

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