A Shooting at the Cop Shop in Pattaya

Pattaya SWAT officer with guns drawn

Here I was out on my normal daily walk and taking pictures when I heard 3 distinct gunshots and yelling a few feet in front of me and to the right.

The gun had a distinct sound that only a Glock could produce and it seemed to be firing hollow point ammunition, or,  it could have been a really cool cap gun for all I know because I know about as much about guns as I know about necrophilia. Just to clarify, I don’t know anything about necrophilia. But I do know police and there were a lot of them around with their guns drawn and smiling.

It would seem I stumbled upon a SWAT team demonstration for visiting dignitaries at the Soi 9 police station. I was deep in thought and taking a picture when I neared the police station parking lot and was so caught off guard by the random gunfire that I actually ducked.

Why do we duck when we hear gunfire?

It seems like a half hearted evolutionary response. It’s like they got to the bottom of the fight or flight response tree and said ” gunfire, evolutionary response=duck because anyone firing a gun at you is definitely aiming at that melon you call a head”.

If I would have been on that evolutionary response team “Duck” would have definitely not been the response. Think about it, you see a violent gang of midgets approaching and you hear gunfire…the response is to duck? And what will you get for your trouble? Shot in the ankles that’s what.

Then again being the smart ass I am there is a good chance that the fight or flight response might have been a shimmy with a 180 degree turn and a Michael Jackson ankle kick. Not anymore embarrassing than ducking really. Well, the cops that saw me got a chuckle at my duck so I doubt the addition of a shimmy and ankle kick would have helped much.

After watching and photographing the events at the police station I got to thinking that maybe following some cops around for the day might be interesting. Obviously the SWAT team was only for show and I doubted they would be called to duty, but there are plenty of boys in brown around.

So, I picked the first police officer I saw and followed him. Fortunately for me he was on foot and didn’t seem to be going far. As a matter of fact he pretty much just walked out into Beach road at Soi 9 and stood there. I got excited when it looked like he might pull someone over or blow his whistle or something but it never happened. My first 15 minutes in real photo journalism wasn’t going so great but you have to admit he cuts a very striking figure.

Pattaya Traffic Cop

No, if this photojournalism thing was going to work out I was going to have to go mobile so I beat feet up Soi bucow buakow buakhao that road that goes up to the Tuesday/Friday Market and headed to a place where many low lifes and miscreants are known to hang out, Tukcom. More specifically Starbucks. I had two reasons for my chosen location a perfect vantage point to cover any criminal wrongdoings and excellent Chai Tea Lattes.

My instincts were good,  the full leaf tea latte was perfect, and it didn’t take long before the boys in brown were swarming the place. Okay maybe swarming  isn’t the best word as there were only 3 boys in brown; technically only 2 as I think the one was only a trainee. Either way they were there in force and ready to take on any and all scofflaws.

You might be wondering at this point how I knew there was going to be a police action going on in front of Tukcom, well, like any good photojournalist I have my sources in the police station. Okay, maybe not in the police station but close to the police station. Alright, I overheard 2 cops talking about going to Tukcom to roust criminals.

Anyway I wasn’t 2 sips in to my latte man drink when I saw a very suspicious character rolling up the street, for some reason the police ignored him but I couldn’t help thinking there was definitely an arrestable offense there. What that offense could be I’m not quite sure but he’s definitely violated some law. I mean hell start with the mullet and work your way down.

Glitterman in Pattaya

As a side note and historical reference the man pictured above is known around Pattaya as Glitterman. He rides around town every day just as you see him. Actually this wasn’t a full tilt Glitterman day. On special days he uses another bike with more glitz and he trades the cape in for a full length golden trench coat and a swashbucklers hat complete with feathers as pictured below.

Glitterman in his full glory

As I looked back to my latte manly cup of hot liquid I caught the police out of the corner of my eye swooping in and taking suspects into custody. You could tell this was serious business by the chains used to chain the suspects together. The criminals were clearly confused by the speed and effectiveness of this police raid.

Pattaya police in action The offenders in chains A confused criminal

I know, not much of a crime but I don’t care much for gunfire and really enjoy casually sitting while sipping my tea and doing my investigative journalism. Besides red and white striped curbs are clearly no parking areas and laws were broken and luckily I was there to catch the real police work being done.

As it turns out my investigative journalism career is pretty much stalled at the moment due to the local papers and news organizations not wanting to post such in depth, hard hitting, gritty and raw stories such as I write. Their loss.

Although I was disappointed that no one wanted this story the night turned out better than expected as I started work on a new investigative assignment on Walking street at Angelwitch A Go Go.This one may take a while as I cultivate informants.

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14 Comment(s)

  1. I love your style, man. I’m in Phuket training at Tiger Muay Thai right now and just getting acclimated. I would love to see an article on this site about how NOT to get ripped off while bargaining for prices and other insights for people who have just arrived to the “land of smiles” like myself.

    Miller Williams | Jan 29, 2011 | Reply

  2. Hi Talen, maybe as well as being a mild-mannered photo-journalist you could carry around a Superman outfit; that way if you do see a crime you could change clothes. I would imagine that a fight to the death between Superman and Glitterman in Pattaya could even reach the international newspapers.

    Paul Garrigan | Jan 29, 2011 | Reply

  3. How hilarious Talen. Glitterman? What’s up with him? Where’s he from? How long has he been in Pattaya? And does he have a permit for that outfit?

    Catherine | Jan 29, 2011 | Reply

  4. Awesome journalism, Talen! Can’t wait for your next investigative piece about the happenings in Pattaya.

    Claudio Sennhauser | Jan 29, 2011 | Reply

  5. Talen – The Glitterman looks great, he certainly has a style of his own. What does he do if he gets a puncture, I can’t imagine him fixing it himself.

    It’s good to see Pattaya’s police are tackling the serious crimes in the city. Once they remove all the illegally parked bikes it should make it easier for someone to pull up on a motorbike and rob a gold shop.

    Martyn | Jan 29, 2011 | Reply

  6. I am glad you clarified things – for a second there I thought you were an expert in firearms.

    Amusing use of the strikeout – just how the hell do you spell buakhao ?

    ChuckWow | Jan 30, 2011 | Reply

  7. Miller, Thanks for the kind words. nmot getting ripped off can be a very subjective thing when it comes to bargaining and other aspects of Thai life but I think I can put something together.

    Talen | Jan 30, 2011 | Reply

  8. Paul, I don’t want to be a superhero…then again Captaan Morgaan has a certain ring to it :) I wouldn’t even know where to begin with the epic battle of Glitterman…I bet he slaps pretty hard.

    Talen | Jan 30, 2011 | Reply

  9. Cat, Glitterman has been around for quite some time…At least the last six years that I know of. Apparently he’s from England and he is supposed to be a very nice guy. He used to post on all the Pattaya forums but they were more of the incoherent rambling type stuff more than anything. I don’t know if he has a permit but I would bet he is keeping several gold lame shops in business.

    Talen | Jan 30, 2011 | Reply

  10. Claudio, the Go Go investigations started Friday night…but this could prove to be quite difficult as I was ambushed by the service staff at Angelwitch when they discovered my ruse and they plied me with sambucca to get the truth out of me…still hazy.

    Talen | Jan 30, 2011 | Reply

  11. Martyn, I can’t imagine Glitterman would fix a flat…then again you never know.

    Talen | Jan 30, 2011 | Reply

  12. Chuck, I used to be an expert in cap guns but that was 40 years ago I’m sure the technology has changed a bit. When it comes to the spelling of Buakhao it’s up to you…the street and shop signs all spell it differently so we can too.

    Talen | Jan 30, 2011 | Reply

  13. BTW – You’re right about Starbucks. Anyplace that lets me in must be up to no good.

    ChuckWow | Jan 31, 2011 | Reply

  14. Talen,

    I decided to write the blog post I suggested you write myself :) . Check it out, here’s an excerpt:

    “Immediately upon walking into the Phuket airport I was overwhelmed by a gang of taxi cab drivers—literally swarmed by 10 Thai men, each spewing broken English phrases at me—“You need taxi! I give you good ride! Where you need go!” Now, being a naïve American and thinking that I had a taxi from the camp waiting for me I tried the logical tact. I politely told each one of them “No thank you, I have a taxi already.” Silly, silly me.”



    Miller Williams | Feb 9, 2011 | Reply

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