Are Thai Police Bad? Do They Treat Foreigners With Disrespect?

royal thai police thailand

A member of the Royal Thai Police, an organization I have always found to be full of police officers who are polite, friendly and respectful — copyright Vladimir V. Samoilov, Creative Commons

 

¬†Are Thai police bad? I don’t think so

As anyone who has lived in Thailand for a while knows, Thai police have a bad reputation. Many non-Thais living here will tell you Thai police are corrupt. They scam foreigners for money, they will always side with a Thai over a foreigner in a traffic accident even if it’s the Thai’s fault and, oh yes, they will throw you in jail over something small. But is this so-called ‘bad reputation’ of Thai police actually justified or not?



Weirdly, what some farangs say about Thai police has never been my experience with them. Admittedly, I’ve never done anything illegal in Thailand, so haven’t been subjected to a grilling by any member of the Thai police force but, whenever I’ve met a police officer in a store, directing traffic at a traffic light, or even sitting on a motorbike parked next to mine at a traffic light, Thai police have been nothing but respectful, courteous and, yes, often smiling and very friendly.

That’s why I thought this story from the famous Stickman’s website was so interesting. The recounting of what happened to a ‘farang’ (white foreigner) living in Thailand when he was involved in a traffic accident at an intersection. A traffic accident between him, a motorbike and four young Thai teenagers.

The accident was not his fault but, having heard the horror stories all of us have heard about how bad the Thai police really are, he knew he was in for some trouble. But, was he really?

Read on to find out what happened, but it’s fair to say you may be surprised. Then again, if you’re like me and tend to stay on the right side of the law in Thailand so haven’t ever had a problem with Thai police, you may not be.

Do be aware, though, unfortunately Thai police trying to extort money does sometimes still happen, as this video recorded by a Thai motorist proves.