Bangkok expat community up in arms over unlawful street searches by police

Published:  29 Jul at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
Expats in Thailand’s capital are protesting over the use of illegal street searches they say are aimed at the foreign community.

The stop and search procedures are taking place on Sukhumvit Road between Phrom Pong and the Asoke intersection and include late-night detentions at Thonglor police station as well as demands for on-street urine tests and threats of jail time, heavy fines and even deportation. Many expats who’ve made complaints have told local English language media they were intimidated into paying bribes of up to 10,000 baht to ensure their release without charge, although none were prepared to be named as they fear further action against them.

According to a police spokesperson, elevated security in advance of Monday’s royal birthday as well as dangers from youth motorcycle gangs and street gangs had caused increased police activity in the area, with Col. Nitawat Sansing calling the street searches a ‘preventative security measure'. However, bike racers and gangs are not normally active in the immediate area, with the police chief conceding that patrol officers conducting ‘stop and frisk’ searches are on random patrol duties in sois and on main streets. He added his officers aren’t concentrating on expats, as police are stopping any person who fits the bill, saying he’d received no complaints and adding it’s possible a few policemen are not acting with integrity.

Expats may well remember the 2014 surge in similar incidents of harassment, intimidation, random street searches and detention originating from the same police station, with many expats fearing an organised campaign aimed at foreigners and tourists. An investigation was promised and, some eight week later, the Thonglor police chief ordered officers to stop targeting foreigners and act within the law. Under the Thai criminal code, police are disallowed from stopping and searching any person without demonstrable cause that the person is carrying an illegal substance, intending to commit a crime or carrying something obtained via a crime.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive