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The response following the altercation speaks volumes. The volunteers have long been criticized for not taking action, and now we can see why they may not have done so in the past. My personal view is that now that there is a police commander willing to uphold the law, the volunteers have some motivation to intervene when witnessing such a blatant violation of both the local law and the undertakings Thailand has agreed to in respect to international conventions on wildlife protection. I note that the volunteers were intervening on behalf of an abused animal and were not taking direct action against a Thai national. The current response will not inculcate respect for local police officials and suggests that they haven't understood the new police commander's directive. Let's see if the police commander does anything. It would provide an opportunity to show that he means business when he says law and order will prevail and that he is going to tackle corruption.
Posted by Ruan on November 3, 2013 10:07
What seems to have been forgotten here is that these volunteers are not police officers and actually have no policing powers - they are there to assist the real police. Why is a volunteer carrying pepper spray anyway and what sort of training has he had?
Posted by Mister Ree on November 3, 2013 10:50
The volunteers overstepped their authority. They are there to assist tourists, not enforce laws. They shold have taken a photograph, and called the police. Giving them more authority is not the solution, instead give the real police what they need.
Posted by Christy S. on November 3, 2013 11:43
Mister Ree, are you serious? Read the article. The volunteers directed their attention towards the loris and were then assaulted by the tout. They subsequently received zero support from Royal Thai Police.
Posted by Ping on November 3, 2013 12:20
I'm surprised the need for volunteers is neccessary. I'm sure the Thai police could trainup their own force adequately to deal with foreigners, and improve their language skills to an acceptable level.
Posted by reader on November 3, 2013 12:27
Seems to me that expat volunteers are damned if they do and damned if they don't.
Posted by Simon Luttrell on November 3, 2013 12:48
"At Patong's Kathu Police Station, a senior officer decided no action would be taken against the tout who initiated the physical confrontation" speaks for it self.
Posted by Sherlock on November 3, 2013 12:50
How utterly disheartening for the volunteers. To be assaulted by a thai thug who thinks he can get away with it because they're farangs,and then not get full support from the uniforms would signal my resignation if i were in their shoes.
Posted by jimbo on November 3, 2013 12:50
Full credit to the volunteer police, finally we see something positive. Now we wait and see if the police commander, Major General Ong-Art Phiwruangnont, puts his words into action and supports the volunteers AND asks his officer WHY the tout was not charged and WHY the event was not recorded. He also needs to ask WHY it was "suggested" that the volunteer pay for the touts hospital bill. I fear now that the volunteers will feel the wrath of their Thai colleagues , watch your backs guys. What these volunteers have done, is what the Thai police SHOULD be doing, but for reasons "unknown" (lol) they fail to do.
Posted by DSI Watcher on November 3, 2013 13:04
Posted by sir burr on November 3, 2013 13:22
The Thai man assaulted the farang. Under Thai law, any citizen can file assault charges, which the police must honor. Why was no action taken in this case?
Posted by Paoa on November 3, 2013 13:28
I love that story as it show how the Police Force is looking down and taking care of their foreign volunteers in Tourist Police in Phuket and Thailand at large.
Posted by Whistle-Blower on November 3, 2013 13:40
The legal situation is clear, the volunteers have no authority to do anything but to call the police. Taking the Iguana, even if this animal is a protected species, is an illegal act on behalf of the volunteers! What ever happened is just the result of having amateurs without any police experience trying to do police work. A proper police officer would try to de-escalate the situation! Hope this will not backfire big time for them...
Posted by Ex-pet on November 3, 2013 15:13
More importantly..... How is the iguana?
Posted by Geraint Lewis on November 3, 2013 15:21
Maybe the volunteers should be called something other than tourist 'police'. They are not 'police' in any sense & are misused & abused while the real police hide or take no action.
Posted by Logic on November 3, 2013 16:09
Why not name the senior officer in Kathu Police Station? The reasonable act of course would be for all police volunteers would be to stop working as volunteers. The situation is clear. They tried to stop the animal misuse, were repeatedly attacked and answered with reasonable force to stop the attacks. But the unnamed senior police officer showed were his professional loyalty lays.
Posted by Lena on November 3, 2013 16:28
@sir burr, I think you "sir" are being a little pedantic, I think most readers realised ping's small error, but unlike you "sir" did not think it needed commenting on, can you at least say something about the story, and just grow up a little.
Posted by DSI Watcher on November 3, 2013 16:31
Maybe I am the only one in the world that find slow lorises, iguanas, stray dogs and sweet puppies to be less important than street kids and other children that circumstances have brought in an unfavourable situation. Just wish they would get half the attention that dogs, iguanas and lorises get then they would be a lot better off today.
Posted by Sailor on November 3, 2013 16:39
Posted by Simon Luttrell on November 3, 2013 18:13
The volunteers are there for tourists , not to be police. They everstepped their authority
Posted by Bill W on November 3, 2013 18:50
Nice discussions here but where is the Iguana?
Posted by nero on November 3, 2013 20:25
I don't see why these volunteers are trying to uphold the law in a place where the very people in charge have no interest in the same. They don't even want the law upheld, they just want a free translator and some bodies to walk their beat so they can sit back and watch football.
Posted by BigP on November 3, 2013 22:51
I have been coming to Patong 23 years. Everybody knows that the real m**** is the police themself. They protect these people mistreating animals, seks shows businesses and selling copy products. Why you think is that. Because Police is receiving large amounts of protection money from these people or even worse they own these businesses themselfs. Being a volunteer means helping the local police doing the things they are not interested in. These two volunteer guys did a great job, but the local police is not happy and now you understand why. As long as the local police force is not completely reorganised, all the corruption will stay in place and nothing will change.
Posted by TAK on November 4, 2013 01:07
So, a focus is now on the use of a pepper spray, right?
Posted by Sue on November 4, 2013 02:17
Seems to me the volunteers are willing to do what the police are not.
Posted by pozz59 on November 4, 2013 06:25
seems like this newspaper is very biased on which posts it publishes seems like it is as corrupt as everything else in thailand i will no longer read the crap from here
Posted by mr wolf on November 4, 2013 12:54
Phuketwan's attitude to comments remains unchanged from the previous announcement:
There is naturally a lot of misunderstandings about Thai law. It will probably surprise most that any civilian in Thailand, whether Thai or foreign, has the right to effect an arrest on another they witness committing a crime (not including minor traffic infractions). That does not mean that doing so is always prudent, or in line with the departments mandate. But in the case of the volunteers, the discretion lies with the arresting volunteer.
Posted by NomadJoe on November 4, 2013 21:01
Posted by C&C on November 8, 2013 17:02
Posted by C&C on November 8, 2013 17:06
Hi guys, i've been in and out of thailand for more than a decade, i was thinking to relocate to phuket but after reading storys after storys month after month i was thinking is it worth it to stay in a place like that where farangs are nothing more than a walking wallet full of currency. Is it worth it to stay there with wife and kids. I'd like an honest answer. Thanks.
Posted by Stephane on November 10, 2013 12:17
Posted by C&C on November 10, 2013 19:31
Posted by ThaiMike on November 11, 2013 07:05
Posted by Stephane on November 11, 2013 10:58
The problem is that farang wolunteers work in a foreign country, where they have no authority whatsoever! What would you all say if a thai-tourist suddenly appeears in one of your european or US contries "assisting" the local police? Unbeliveable, wouldn't you say?
Posted by Wilai on November 18, 2013 20:11
The problem begins with the inability of Thai police to speak the languages that the tourists speak, Wilai, along with the Government's inability to provide enough police to meet Phuket's needs. These problems are not common in Europe or the US. Take away the volunteers and the police would struggle to cope. When the language skills have been improved and sufficient police are provided, the volunteers will no longer be necessary.
The Editor wrote: "The problem begins with the inability of Thai police to speak the languages that the tourists speak, Wilai, along with the Government's inability to provide enough police to meet Phuket's needs"
Posted by Wilai on November 19, 2013 02:25
The expat volunteers (they're not tourists), the people they've helped over the years and the police would all disagree, Wilai. There probably is no country in the world more attuned to volunteer service. The willingness to help others is what made the aftermath of Thailand's 2004 tsunami so different to the outcomes from other natural disasters elsewhere. Ambulance services remain largely voluntary. In many cases, full-time professional rescue services pale by comparison. Perhaps the rest of the world should look at what Thailand has achieved thast they haven't been able to achieve.
The Editor wrote: "The expat volunteers (they're not tourists), the people they've helped over the years and the police would all disagree, Wilai"
Posted by Wilai on November 21, 2013 00:30
There's no indication that problems in Pattaya are automatically repeated in Phuket. The problem lies not with the volunteers, but with you making assumptions. (''One bad apple? All apples must be bad.'') Only Doomsayers make those kinds of assumptions.
The correct thing for (all) the volunteers to do, would be to resign in support of their colleges. Questions might get asked at a higher level than Kathu Police station, then.
Posted by agogohome on November 21, 2013 09:33
Actually, it is an interesting thing, with the immigration police volunteers.
Posted by Anonymous on November 21, 2013 11:01
Posted by C&C on November 21, 2013 17:28
Posted by ThaiMike on November 21, 2013 23:16
ok as an ex-volunteer myself, what exactly did we overstep??? When we are ordered to assist and confiscate those iguanas and other illegal endangered species on Bangla (by that same senior officer) then we do it. We expect the browns to be backing us up, but they don't! Have a look at that Pattaya volunteer team. They work very close together with the browns AND have powers to arrest. Concerning the pepper spray, those a-holes carry knives and guns... but then again, touts can't overstep their borders can they???
Posted by Sam on November 23, 2013 18:12
Sam, you got that the wrong way round. OC (pepper spray) is more effective than CN or CS, especially when it comes to people on drugs.
Posted by NomadJoe on November 23, 2013 23:00
Thursday December 5, 2013