THAI POLICE SCAMS MARIJUANA SMOKER – I retired to Thailand, Pattaya, at the age of 63 and I have to say in the 4 years I had lived there I didn’t really have any problems.
Many of the expats that I associated with appeared to have a problem with the system; in one respect or another. However I always took the attitude that Thailand belongs to the Thais and what they do with their own country is their business.
Yes, Thailand has a number of problems and none of us like being fleeced by the Thais but most of it is relatively inconsequential; such as being charge more than a Thai for goods and services – big deal and I never gave it much thought but just considered it the way of the Thai or Thainess as my friends like to call it.
Corruption in Thailand is without doubt the biggest issue and I am sure that if corruption, on all levels, was reduced then real improvement could be made. Again I felt this is something for the Thais to sort out; after all the foreigner could always pack up and leave.
One of the reasons I took early retirement was due to arthritis. I could consider myself fortunate in that my condition wasn’t disabling but more continuous discomfort.
I didn’t take any specific medication for the pain but rather just a few Tylenol a day but as time went by I noticed that the Tylenol wasn’t having the same effect so I decided to go and see a doctor.
The doctor examined me and provided me with a prescription. I was amazed, and nearly 4,000 Baht lighter in the wallet, at the amount of pills I had been prescribed; I honestly couldn’t remember any doctor back in the UK ever prescribing so many drugs for a single ailment.
After taking the medication for about a month I found myself getting lethargic and even a little depressed. I was advised by the doctor that I shouldn’t drink alcohol and whilst I wasn’t a big drinker, maybe five or six beers a week, I did like sitting with my mates in the bars having a few cold ones.
One night I was called out by my friends for a drink. I sat there with a coke and felt rather jealous that I couldn’t have a cold beer with them. One of my friends then remarked that I appeared to have changed; that is I wasn’t the bright and friendly fellow as before.
He was obviously concerned something was wrong; he pointed out afterwards that he suspected there were problems back home or maybe money issues.
I explained about the drugs I was taking and he told me it was nothing unusual in Thailand for a doctor to prescribe multiple drugs, in quantity, as this is one area where the hospitals make a lot of money.
After explaining my condition he asked me if I had ever taken, or would considering taking, marijuana.
In my youth I had participated in a fair amount of weed smoking but it had been over 30 years since I last smoked any. However my friend told me that he has a slight problem with back pain and that he found smoking marijuana not only helped but it didn’t have any of the nasty side-effects of prescription drugs – more importantly he could still participate in a cold beer.
Obviously I didn’t know where or whom I would obtain marijuana from; yes it’s common knowledge it’s available but having never thought about it I wasn’t sure where to start.
This turned out not to be a problem as my friend had a supplier. I was of course worried, considering the legal penalties and consequences of getting caught in Thailand with illegal drugs.
My mind was put at easy when he told me that his supplier was in fact a police officer and therefore there wouldn’t be any issues.
I met with the police officer and was surprised that he didn’t try to disguise his profession; he actually turned up in uniform and I purchased a quantity that would last a week or two for 2,000 Baht.
I actually found smoking marijuana far more beneficial that the prescription drugs the doctor gave me. For starters it did kill the discomfort and I didn’t feel groggy or depressed. I therefore concluded that I had found the perfect solution and two or three joints a day at the most was enough to keep the pain under control.
I have to admit from the moment I met the police officer I didn’t like him. He was like most police officers in Pattaya, gruff, rude and ignorant. They ride around on their mopeds like Gods fleecing anyone that crosses their path and they do so with impunity. However, I didn’t have to like him but I was always respectful and thanked him kindly every time I bought my supplies.
Within a week or two I was back to my usual cheerful self and all was looking very promising. Over the next 3 months I had purchased several packages, each time in small quantities, of marijuana from the police officer without incident and never thought I would have any problems.
One day, I phoned and asked for my usual supply and as per all the other occasions a time and meeting place was set up. Unfortunately on this occasion I was to find out just how crooked the Thai police really are.
I met the police officer at 8.30 pm upon where he handed me the marijuana and I handed him his cash. It was then, from nowhere, that two other police officers appeared and took an arm each and arrested me.
I was taken to the local police station and placed in a cell. No statement or charge sheet was ever produced. I was left in the cell without food or water for just over four hours when all three police officers reappeared.
I was taken out of the cell and into an office and sat down whilst still handcuffed. The police officer who had been supplying me with marijuana smirked and told me that doing drugs in Thailand is bad for your bank account; the other two officers found this most amusing and laughed.
They didn’t mess about and got straight down to business. They wanted 300,000 Baht and then I would be released. The alternative was that I would be charged, likely to face a long prison sentence and then be deported.
I wasn’t exactly impressed and all the stories I had heard on foreigners being fleeced really hit home. I really didn’t see what choice I had; I wasn’t bothered about the deportation but I really didn’t fancy languishing in a Thai prison at my age.
I agreed to their extortion. I was taken back to my apartment whereby they took my passport for security. They turned up again in the morning with my passport and escorted me to the bank; whereby I withdrew 300,000 Baht and handed it over.
I felt like an idiot for getting myself in this situation and when I spoke to my friend he assured me that in the two years he had been buying marijuana from the police officer he had never had any problems.
I could only conclude that I was seen as an easy mark but I do know that my friend, and about six or seven of his friends, no longer buy their supplies from the police officer – there is some consolation that his lucrative little side business has dried up; or at least in part.
Exactly one month after my arrest I had tied up my affairs and left. I now live happily in Portugal and whilst Portugal has its own problems they are nowhere near the issues people experience in Thailand. The other nice thing is that I don’t have to apply for a retirement visa each year or report to the immigration police every 90 days.
The beers in Portugal are cold, the sun is shining, the beaches are clean, the locals are wonderful and I don’t have any problems smoking marijuana for my aliment.
Oh, how wonderful it is to live in a civilized society once again… oh happy days!