Phuket Expat Altercation with Thai Touts Leads to No Police Response

PHUKET EXPAT ALTERCATION WITH THAI TOUTS LEADS TO NO POLICE RESPONSE – An article was today published by Phuketwan in which it describes how Phuket expat tourist police volunteers came under attack by Thai tourist touts attempting to peddle illegal photographs of tourists with an Iguana.

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From the article it appears that three expat tourist police volunteers were on patrol in Soi Bangla, Phuket.

Their job, for want of a better description, is to assist tourists who fall foul to the growing number of scams and violent confrontations.

Expat Tourist Police Volunteers Thailand

This issue here is what powers do the volunteers have and it appears clear that they have none at all.

During the altercation with the Thai tout the volunteers reported that the man attacked them and as a result one of the volunteers defended himself with the use of pepper spray.

The Thai national was then taken to a local hospital to have his eyes washed out and the police have decided not to press charges against their fellow national – for either attacking the volunteers or indeed engaging in the illegal activity of using an endangered species for financial gain.

The volunteers, according to the published article, would have liked to have seen more of a response by the police and indeed see the perpetrator arrested.

Not only have the police declined such action but they have also refused to record the incident and the twist in this latest incident becomes even more bizarre after the tout requested that the volunteers pay for his medical treatment.

Hello! Am I missing something here?  Let’s delve a little deeper into this madness.

According to our insider sources these volunteers are not only expected to give up their time and effort without pay but the Thai authorities even refuse to provide basic medical insurance in the event one of them has to receive medical treatment as a result helping the Thai police to do their job.

There’s a new Police Commander in town, , Major General Ong-Art Phiwruangnont, who has successfully negotiated with central Government for an additional 97 Royal Thai Police Officers.

It has long been acknowledged that the Phuket police force is woefully under staffed; which is why expat volunteers have been called upon – that and the fact that many of the police officers don’t speak adequate English.

At present, and on top of the reinforcements of Royal Thai Police Major General Ong-Art Phiwruangnont has acquired, he is now asking the local expat community for an additional 100 volunteers to join the ranks.

I’m sorry but if someone spat in your face would you really turn around and help them pick up their groceries?

Of course not, you would in all probability ignore their cries from help; which is why I’m astounded as to why any foreign expat would volunteer to help out the Royal Thai Police; especially when it is clear they would not provide any back-up in the event of an incident.

Let’s again look at the facts:

  • Thai Police refused to back up the volunteers
  • Thai Police refused to arrest a fellow national
  • Thai Police refused to record the incident
  • Thai Tout wants reimbursing for his medical costs

I’m sorry but I’m left scratching my head as to why anyone would volunteer to help out people who clearly don’t want help or indeed find the help offensive and intrusive.

OK, it could be said they are not helping the Thais but rather the tourists but frankly without any powers of arrest, no back-up from the authorities or any tangible level of support you have to ask why anyone would bother assisting the Thai authorities.

Maybe those volunteers are egotistical or even narcissistic in the wearing of a uniform or getting off on the non-existent powers that they have.  Who knows, but one thing is for sure and that is it is a completely thankless occupation from all quarters.

Maybe there are other reasons; maybe these folks just want to help but again it is obvious that the Thai authorities will ask for help with one hand and then slap those who do help in the face with the other.

At we have heard some horrendous stories of how expats and tourists are treated and frankly we are astounded as to why anyone would want to visit let alone live there.

No doubt Phuket and indeed Thailand has an attraction for many but it does appear from the outsider that those foreigners visiting or living in Thailand really shouldn’t play any role in attempting to police the place.

I’m afraid Thailand really does appear to be a place where laissez faire should be implemented by foreigners.

If you are thinking about visiting Phuket, or any part of Thailand, do your research first as Thailand is noted for many things including high levels of violent crime and extortion.  A good place to start is by looking at forums such as for this is where many expats hang out to discuss the growing issue and problems Thailand continues to create.

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  • Matt Owens Rees

    A truthful account. May I add a few points?

    As you allude in your article, Thailand can be a tad xenophobic.
    Most of the police volunteers are trying to do the best they can with limited
    resources and authority to help their fellow expats or tourists in predicaments
    that are indeed linked to xenophobia and greed.

    Though I have to accept there are some volunteers that are
    in it for the glory or to curry favour. Everything considered, the majority of
    them make a positive contribution in difficult circumstances.

    You ask why people visit or live here. A long-term expat
    once told me to “go with the flow” as he put it. To integrate and not to expect
    or insist on Thais doing things in a western way. I think he was right. That is
    not to suggest one drops one’s western standards; it is to suggest thinking about
    why they do things differently and understand their (eastern) point of view..

    Thai forums are awash with what I call Thai apologists and
    Thai bashers. Those that see no faults in the country and those that see
    disaster and cheating at every turn. The reality is that these keyboard
    warriors as some have called them are a vociferous minority and do not
    represent the quarter of a million expats that live in the country in harmony.
    Albeit with bouts of frustration and disbelief.

    Routinely, comments from observers with more unbiased views
    are either flamed or deleted.