THAI COP FLEES THE SCENE OF AN ACCIDENT – Tragedy struck one Thai driver yesterday as a 28 wheel truck transporting oil rigging machinery, under the supervision and escort from the Royal Thai Police, passed under a foot-bridge that was too low for the truck to get under.
This resulted in the 30 tonne foot bridge collapsing and landing directly onto a pick-up truck following, killing the driver instantly.
The driver of the truck carrying the oil rigging machinery, Thanongsak Sathitpao, has been charged with causing death through carelessness.
However, the police cruiser, assigned to the Traffic Police Division, has disappeared. Division chief Pol Maj-General Piya Tawichai said he was looking to see if the policemen in the cruiser should also be held liable for the accident.
Eyewitnesses said the police cruiser did not stop to help and instead sped away. The trailer-truck company Lak Thong Logistics Co Ltd had hired the officers to lead the motorcade. Normally, most companies hire cruisers from the Highway Police Division to do this job.
If you are familiar with Thailand and how the Thais drive this will really come as no surprise. Fleeing the scene of an accident in Thailand is more common than an Englishman spreading marmalade on his toast.
Commonly drivers will flee the scene of an accident and then turn themselves into the police a day or two later and many have speculated this allows the driver to sober up from either alcohol or drug consumption.
When this news hit the websites and blogs around the world those unfamiliar with Thailand understandably thought this was a joke. Many of the comments, from the uninitiated, revolved around ‘surely no police officer would do such a thing?’
For those familiar with Thailand and the Royal Thai Police, with their pet name being ‘The Boys in Brown’ BIB for short, this comes as no surprise at all.
The Thai police cannot be equated with any Western style of policing; that is the concept of ‘protect and serve’ is completely alien to a Thai cop. Policing in Thai carries overtones of profiteering; that is the main goal of any Thai police officer is to make money and this is achieved mainly through extortion, corruption and as evidence has shown on numerous occasions murder as Thai police are often chosen as hitmen.
The average Thai has little or no respect for a Thai cop; not that most Western societies have either, but here they are feared and so would you be if you knew the local thug was allowed to walk around the streets all day with a loaded gun.
Sometimes the police chiefs do have to make example of their officers and this happens when they drop the ball and get caught. The punishment is flimsy at best and often the result of any disciplinary action is merely a transfer to another province.
Even in the cases of murder Thai cops walk free due to their ability to pay off senior officers and judges. This is nothing new in Thailand and anyone, including a cop, fleeing the scene of an accident is a cultural normality in Thailand.
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