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Time for All Honest Thais to Act to Stop Corruption

Time for All Honest Thais to Act to Stop Corruption

Friday, September 18, 2009
Phuketwan News Analysis/Opinion

''HE SAID the extortion gangs, including those in tourist provinces, worked under highly influential people.''

This is the last sentence of a report published in the Bangkok Post today. It is now where it should be, at the start of the story.

It's a sentence that should be read carefully by every honest Thai in the land.

The comment comes from Tourist Police chief Adis Ngamjitsuksri, who concedes that the extortion of tourists is a problem which the police alone cannot stamp out.

How many honest Thais are prepared to put their hands up, to help root out this cancer from their midst?

Unless honest Thais start to fight corruption, beginning with the extortion of tourists, Thailand can kiss goodbye to the prospect of this nation being perceived as a suitable destination for the world's holidaymakers.

People have plenty of choices these days. Why would they want to come to a country full of thieves, or full of people who tolerate thieves?

The Prime Minister has shown an interest in bringing corruption under control. It will not be easy, so he should start with a battle that can produce a victory.

Suvarnabhumi international airport in Bangkok is the place to take a stand. If corruption can be beaten at the airport, then the PM can set his sights higher by taking aim at a relatively small, geographically isolated province . . . Phuket.

If the PM is sincere about turning the tide against corruption, he could clean up Suvarnabhumi first, Phuket second, then make the island province a role model for the rest of Thailand.

Other democracies in SouthEast Asia are doing better in battling corruption. The benefit will come for them eventually in terms of increased trade and tourism . . . at the expense of Thailand.

What producer-director Gavin Hill did by capturing footage of a jet-ski operator extorting large sums from tourists was to expose a corrupt activity that has been tolerated for years by honest Thais.

The Thai media, including Phuketwan, should feel ashamed that a reality television documentary maker revealed, almost by accident, the extent of the entrenched corruption that has long been ignored out of fear, or a failure to choose right from wrong.

To prosecute the production company would be a travesty of justice. It's time for honest Thais to deal with the core issue, the real issue.

Stop the thieves. Restore Thailand's reputation. Save the country from corruption.

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Comments have been disabled for this article.


My Thai staff are already saying to me that the program was a setup, that it didn't really happen. The Thai media is spreading these views. Rohingya shame revisited!

Editor: Precisely. The first reaction of Thais to the Rohingya 'pushbacks' was: Thais are good people. They wouldn't do that. The truth is that most Thais are good people. Sadly, not all. And this was no set-up. Walk along Patong beach often enough, and your staff will see the thieves at work . . . although they are probably not operating right now.

Posted by helen on September 18, 2009 14:44


Hmm.. Patong beach population isn't exactly a breeding ground of 'honest Thais' tho is it ??

Thai people can be truly superb, welcoming, friendly, fun, quick to laugh, etc. But the mindset of Phuket has now become one where the powers that be have allowed it to run rampant, and where Thais from other provinces have come purely to get rich quick by fair means or foul. They know the police don't have any interest in solving crimes, and in any dispute the Thai is favoured (or can cut a deal) so the chances of punishment for scamming is usually nothing or at worst giving some back.

So why not do it ?

Posted by LivinLOS on September 18, 2009 15:02


Your thais staff is right, this is what the medias in Thailand are trying to send as a message to the Thai people. Please do not forget the medias here ARE NOT independant, they are controlled by the thai Elite whith links to corrupted officials.

The best way for not losing face and continue the scam publicly is of course to claim the video was a stage. Do you think Embassadors of foreign countries reporting claims to the Thai authorities about scams are liars? I dont think so...

Posted by Antony on September 18, 2009 15:29


Dear all
EVERYONE knows that without the police the bad guys wouldn't stand a change to do what they are doing!
Full Stop! That's it and there is the problem!

The majority "good" Thai's as you are calling the are the 'silent' power who will NOT speak up as it is their culture. They are taught since childhood NOT to interfere and speak up.

So sad.....

Posted by on September 18, 2009 17:09


Helen when you go into work ask your thai friends why jj is in court next week and what he is charged with. Even the head of the tourist police who is thai has said curruption is out of control and the police cannot stop it. Is all this made up to make thailand look bad? The thais have to forget mai pen rai because j thailand is now LOS, the land of scams.

Posted by billy dale on September 19, 2009 01:48


I left Thailand for four years, came back in November 2008 ....... Thailand has changed, for the worse. I can no longer suggest Thailand as a good place for a holiday to friends and associates.

A shame, because a lot of hardworking Thais will suffer because of rampant corruption.

Posted by Luke Warm on September 19, 2009 08:01


Why was my post censored?

Editor: Your post wasn't censored. It was edited. Generalisations are inaccurate and often wide of the mark. To slur an institution because some members are dishonest isn't fair to the ones who are honest. And we know some who are.

Posted by Luke Warm on September 19, 2009 08:12


Corruption IS Thailand. To complain is blaming the dog for fleas.

Editor: That's nonsense. As with every plague, corruption can be controlled and cured.

Posted by ZenMeister on September 19, 2009 09:29


In Europe each year, they rotate 30-40 percent of all senior staffs in sensitive administration (Police, Revenue Departments, and so on ...).
To clean Phuket of corruption, the Thai administration should rotate at fast pace the police and civil servants in order they have no time to build up "Mafia Style" connections and they should encourage denunciations among them with big incentive advantages.
It is not nice but it will work and will stop many policemen and civil servants running with proxy Thais jet-ski and motorcycle-car rental businesses, without forgetting girly bars and karaokes.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on September 19, 2009 09:43


I am still waiting for your Answer, Helen.

Posted by billy dale on September 19, 2009 16:48


Greng jai, greng jai is the motto of the innocents.

Posted by Mouse on September 19, 2009 21:27


Most Thais accept corruption as "normal" and acceptable in business and in government (as per the latest ABAC poll).

Posted by falang on September 30, 2009 06:47


I don't understand why my post Sept 30 was edited. I voiced an opinion that is backed by the statistics.

If the majority of Thais favor a manner in which their country is operated, then they (the majority) certainly deserve that type of government.

Editor: You named two organisations where you say we can ''see corruption in progress on a local level.'' Phuketwan cannot publish those kinds of allegations. If you have proof of your claims, you should submit your evidence to the governor's office or perhaps an embassy, using your real identity.

Posted by falang on October 2, 2009 06:53

Thursday May 19, 2022
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