Ask just about any Thai and they will tell you Thailand’s police force is one of the world’s most corrupt. Known for its practices of extorting money from often innocent Thais and foreigners, corrupt Thai police extort money in bribes, for supposed traffic offenses and, in some cases, so they won’t arrest you.
A couple of corrupt Thai police officers, however, have made national news in Thailand today after a video tape of them trying to ‘extort’ 50,000 baht (approximately $1,680) from a working-class Thai supermarket cashier was posted on YouTube.
The video shows the cashier, who had been working at a small stall in a local mall in Bangkok when she was arrested by Thai police. She was accused of ‘conspiring to sell counterfeit products’ and was told by the policemen with her, she had two choices — either give them 50,000 baht or go to jail.
Luckily, there were people with her who videotaped the incident.
While she was still at the police station, a man who had made the complaint about the stall selling copyright goods arrived and said there had been a mistake.
The counterfeit problem had already been taken care of previously, but there hadn’t been enough time to collect the counterfeit products from every stall selling them. The stall where the cashier was working was one of these stalls.
The mall manager and the man who had pressed the initial counterfeit claim then told police the woman was definitely not involved and had done nothing wrong.
You’d think, at this point, the police would have let the woman go. But no. Instead they insisted she sign some paperwork and allow her fingerprints to be taken, which she refused to do as she had already told them she wasn’t involved, and this had been confirmed by the person making the legal complaint.
Eventually, the woman was put in a cell until her lawyer arrived. At that time, he was forced to pay ‘bail’ before they would let the cashier go.
Finally, just in case you are wondering, for a woman working on a typical stall at a Bangkok mall, 50,000 baht is approximately 3-4 months’ salary. These types of corrupt Thai police don’t just ask for low amounts you know.