If you thought the tourist and expat shakedowns on Sukhumvit Road had come to an end following almost two months of damaging publicity for the police that resulted in three separate investigations into stop and searches you’d be wrong.
Yes, the Thionglor Police District have done a complete u-turn and are now handing out leaflets explaining search policies and reports of illegal stop & searches seem to have dried up.
What hasn’t stopped are the shakedowns of expats and tourists by the “Litter Police”.
The tessakit (เทศกิจ), employees of the BMA, Bangkok Metropolitan Authority, are still out in force around popular tourist areas of Bangkok fooling the unsuspecting into believing they are real policemen, asking for passports, threatening arrest and court appearances, offering “discounts”, not issuing receipts and leaving people upset and frightened.
The two tessakit hotspots for targeting tourists littering are on the skywalk at MBK and on Sukhumvit Rd from Nana down to Terminal 21. They have been working these two areas for as long as I’ve been coming to Bangkok which is now 10 years.
Littering is against the law and the fine if caught is 2,000 baht. I have no problem with that but what I do have a problem with is how these guys operate.
Firstly, at the MBK skywalk they have a table set up at the stairs leading to the BTS station and business is brisk due to the fact there are NO LITTER BINS and very few warning signs. A public area with such high foot traffic and not a bin to be seen anywhere on the skywalk has me putting 2 and 2 together and coming up with ten.
Secondly, on Sukhumvit Rd they have tables set up at various spots plus booths. Here they work in packs using walkie-talkies with the help of vendors, tuk tuk drivers and other hustlers working the tourists on that stretch of road, who are all getting a “finders fee” of 200 baht for any tipoffs they make that lead to a fine. The “spotters” will follow smokers waiting to see what they do with their cigarette butt when they are finished smoking, ready to pounce if they foolishly throw it on the street. That’s harassment.
Once stopped after littering, foreigners are then typically subjected to a shakedown at both MBK and Sukhumvit. The tessakit will knowingly let people believe they are the police for one. They may offer to reduce the fine and with a smile say “no more problem”. Other instances will see the full 2k fine being asked for with no “discount”, sometimes with a proper receipt but not always.
If they are met with any resistance or questioning they will ask to see passports, threaten the foreigners with a trip to the police station and a much heavier fine, court is another threat they often use and when asked of they are police the answer is ALWAYS yes.
That part isn’t a lie as such as they work for the City Law Enforcement department of the BMA and some uniforms do indeed say City Police on them. It is nothing more than a play on words as the tessakit have NO POWER OF ARREST and are NOT real police officers.
The BMA has dozens of uniformed officials out enforcing the littering law, one that appears to be more of a money-making enterprise than law enforcement. It should also be pointed out that the “litter police” are never seen targeting Thais in the two areas I mentioned, only foreigners.
If you are stopped by the tessakit and feel intimidated or threatened by them call either the local police station or the tourist police.
In the Sukhumvit area call Lumpini Police Station on 02 255 5993 or if you are at MBK then call Pathumwan Police Station 02 215 2992. The number for the Tourist Police is 1155.
Ms. Marvel Wraps Shooting in Thailand Despite COVID Surge
Marvel Studios’ Disney+ series Ms. Marvel has completed production in Thailand despite the recent resurgence of COVID-19 infections in the country.
According to Variety, the Thailand shoot was overseen by multiple Oscar-winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and encompassed Season 1’s fourth and fifth episodes.
While the recent increase in Covid cases in Thailand led to provincial governors halting movie and TV productions, Ms. Marvel was reportedly able to obtain a waiver and continue shooting from April through to early May “as it was already observing strict anti-virus protocols.” Those measures included but were not limited to, closed sets, mandatory masks and virus testing twice per week.
Created by comic book writer G. Willow Wilson, artists Adrian Alphona and Jamie McKelvie, and editors Sana Amanat and Stephen Wacker, Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel first appeared in Aug. 2013’s Captain Marvel #14.
The series will stream on Disney+ in late 2021.
Health Ministry Target Vaccinating 5m Bangkok Residents In 2 Months
The Public Health Ministry aims to get 5 million people in Bangkok vaccinated against COVID-19 in just two months.
Government sub-committee on COVID-19 vaccination management chairman Dr Sophon Mekthon said the mass vaccination drive is aimed at curbing the serious outbreak in the capital. People aged over 18 are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccination if they do not have any medical contraindications.
He said the ministry will use both Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines during the mass inoculation campaign in Bangkok, adding that an additional 2.5 million doses of the Sinovac jab and 1.7 million doses of the AstraZeneca shot will be delivered to the country this month.
Dr Sophon said the Public Health Ministry plans to use parts of Bang Sue Railway Central Station as a vaccination hub and to administer 100,000 doses per day in Bangkok. The ministry is confident that, from next month, there will be 10 million more doses of COVID-19 vaccines available each month.
British Man In Thailand Balcony Fall Returns Home
A British man who was stranded in a Thai hospital after falling from a sixth-floor balcony is now back home after a successful fund-raising appeal.
The former British Airways worker, 56-year-old Ian Mitchell-Barnes, broke his pelvis, both arms and both legs in the fall last October.
He has already had one foot amputated and now faces losing the other as well.
His family and friends launched an appeal to raise £10,000 towards his medical repatriation – and now thanks to people’s generosity he is back home.
His sister, Jane Mitchell-Barnes, said it was “nothing short of a miracle” her brother survived. But it left him with catastrophic injuries from which he is slowly recovering.
She added although Ian had received good treatment in Thailand, he needed to be home in the UK to continue his recovery.
Source: Birmingham Mail