Thai Beach Destination: Police Chief Wants Officers to Stop Taking Bribes

There’s a new police chief in Pattaya, a beach town just a bit more than an hour’s drive from Bangkok that was a significant R&R destination for US servicemen during the Vietnam War.

It became the sort of place that US servicemen, spending US dollars, could buy anything they wished.

Pattaya has been cleaned up some compared to what it once was. I’ve stayed at the Sheraton, the property was lovely, though it wasn’t uncommon to spot an older Russian man with young Thai female who spoke neither Russian nor English.. or an older American man with a young Thai male at breakfast.

The new police chief is the brother of the national police chief yet is focused on his officers not taking bribes.

New Pattaya police chief, Pol. Col. Sukthat Pumpunmuang told officers to stop taking bribes and focus on snatching thefts and tourist druggings to clean up the city’s image.

..He also warned officers – particularly traffic cops – to stop taking bribes. With cameras in every phone and social media so prevalent there are “eyes and ears” everywhere, he said. Officers caught taking bribes would damage the image of Pattaya.

He made special mention of traffic police and said there have been many complaints about the large number of checkpoints, which people see as bribe-taking centers. He said officers must justify the need for checkpoints and clarify if they are to prevent crime or control traffic.

The two biggest crimes in Pattaya are “snatchings of jewelry and handbags” and “drugging and robbery of tourists, usually by transvestites and female prostitutes on Pattaya Beach.”

A genius speaks: The new police chief “said if those two types of crimes could be controlled, the city’s crime problem would greatly be diminished.”

Instead of receiving bribes from the public, Pattaya’s Mayor appeared at the meeting to suggest “the city wants to support the police department either through food, drinks or allowances.”

The national police chief General Somyos Pumpunmuang is appointed by the country’s junta, which is currently upset with the US over criticism of its rule. The US has suspended US$4.7 million in military aid.

From the start of the coup, I suggested that it shouldn’t really affect travel. Indeed I’ve been to Bangkok since the coup. Martial law itself has become a tourist attraction. The government in continuing an initiative begun by the democratically-elected and deposed Prime Minister to crack down on bad Thai food around the world and to provide the country with free wi-fi.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. It’s just words. Nobody will want to be a cop w/out bribes. The military has been expropriating the police’s cash cows since the coup & police are looking for new revenue sources.

  2. That is fantastic news, I feel safer already. Can’t wait to go there to partake in the jet ski games.

  3. leaflet passed out by Pol. Col. Chutrakul Yodmadee:, chief of police bkk

    advising them what to do when they are targeted for extortion by roaming gangs of cops.

    Foreigners may take photos of police officers who do the search before searching begins.
    Searching has to be done in a place with sufficient lighting and not be desolated.
    Do not pay any amount of money to police officers whether you are asked to do or not.
    In case you are on (in) a vehicle or a taxi, whether a private vehicle or a taxi, police officers who stop a vehicle and do the search must be in a proper checkpoint, under control of a commissioned officers.
    Collecting urine specimen must be done only in the police station.
    Foreigners could carry a copy of first page and entry stamped page of their passport instead of the original one.
    *** If there are further questions or any fairness requested.

    Pol. Col. Chutrakul Yodmadee: 08-3349-3349

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