Me and the Boys in Brown

Police checkpoint in Thailand

I usually try to stay out of trouble when in Thailand, blend in and become as Thai as possible. Unfortunately the Thai’s around me seem to sense this and do whatever they can to draw the attention of the Thai police!

This past trip I had two memorable experiences with the boys in brown that could have come straight out of a Benny Hill skit. My first experience happened on the way to Damnoen Saduak floating market. The taxi driver picked me up at the appointed time and we were making very good time due to very little traffic, that should have been the first sign.

Pulled over by the Thai policeAbout 40 kilometers from our destination, and as soon as I thought this was going too smooth, we came upon a Thai police checkpoint. There was no question in my mind that we wouldn’t get pulled over and of course I was right. As the taxi driver spoke to 3 police officers and handed them all of his papers I reasoned that he would be getting at least two fines. One fine for having a passenger and not using the meter and another for speeding. I was correct on both points.

Taxi driver heading to the Police table to find out the damageNormally that would be the end of the story and we would be on our way, but this is Thailand and I was involved so it’s never that easy. No, easy would have been the taxi driver getting back in and us driving away,  the taxi driver had other plans. You see, when we pulled over we parked in the mud along the highway so when the taxi driver  took off a little too anxiously he shot mud 20 feet backwards against another drivers van who had been pulled over and over two very pissed off policemen. After another 15 minutes of brow beating by the police, an old man peddling by recounting what he saw and a few more fines we were back on our way.

The mud incident up close The crime scene The eye witness account

The taxi driver holding more fines in his hand

The second incident happened on the last day of Songkran when we were heading back to Mukdahan from Nakhon Phanome after the sun had gone down. Naturally we came upon another police checkpoint but surely this would be a no brainer as my girl was driving, no one was drinking and the stars were aligned…Wrong!

The first inkling I had that this would be a problem is when my girl said “uh-oh”. The last time I heard her say that was two days earlier when we were approaching a police checkpoint in That Phanome, little brother was driving and he apparently no longer has a license due to a drinking and driving arrest. We averted the law that time with a very quick turn off to a side street and a change of drivers.  This time the uh-oh was because my girls license expired the day before…uh-oh!

After much animated talking between the police officer and my girl a compromise was reached and the police officer walked away. A few moments later the officer returned with a very drunk old man and more animated talking ensued to which the old Thai man just nodded and burped.  The next thing I knew the old man was in the back of the truck and we were back on our way.

Confused? I was too, especially when I heard the explanation. Apparently on the last day of Songkran many police checkpoints were rewarding good drivers by handing out free iced drinks and this was one of those checkpoints. Of course while rewarding the drivers with a nice cool drink they are checking to see if they have the proper papers and also to see if they had been drinking.

Being the good Thai that my girl is she immediately confessed to having an expired license before the police officer even asked for it. Not that it mattered because the police officer didn’t care and wouldn’t have cared if she was wanted for armed robbery, because he had a problem of his own. You see, the old man the police officer pawned off on us had apparently walked into his checkpoint a few hours before our arrival and was pestering the hell out of the police. They couldn’t take him home because he didn’t know where he lived and he couldn’t walk. We didn’t get a free drink…we got a free drunk!

Problem solved…for the police officer anyway. We spent the next two hours trying to find the old mans home. The next day I made sure someone got her license renewed.

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Comment by MartynNo Gravatar
2009-06-04 17:07:07

Two very funny tales and the Benny Hill comparison is bang on. I’ve never had any real motor bother in Thailand just the odd end of month policemen needs money sort of thing. I would love to have seen the two policemen getting covered in mud, I think I would have sunk very low into my seat. All the best from sunny England.

Martyns last blog post..Thailand Blogs – May 09 Review

Comment by TalenNo Gravatar
2009-06-04 19:00:54

There was more mud on the police than there was on the van…I so wanted to take their pics before they ran off but I wasn’t in a tempting fate kinda mood.

It was bad enough I was getting dirty looks from the other police and the taxi driver for the pics I did take.

Comment by MikeNo Gravatar
2009-06-04 20:19:25

Talen a couple of great tales. Talk about Keystone Cops!

Locally I have been stopped a few times when driving the truck, but one look at my International D/L is usually enough for the Old Bill.

Mind you we do drop the local cops daughter off at school so maybe I get some brownie points for that!

Mikes last blog post..Top Ten Tips for Living in Thailand.

Comment by johnNo Gravatar
2009-06-05 06:19:10

my god trouble seems to be a manget to you keep on the right side of the tracks for a little at least this week anyway.s

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