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.