Police, Tuk Tuks and Corruption

We got a Tuk Tuk to see the new apartment today, to check it out. On the way the guy started telling us about a sex show we should go and see, blah, blah, blah. We figured, hey, when in Rome and all that, everybody’s got to see at least one ping pong show in Bangkok. So we agreed he’d wait for us at the apartment and then we’d go to the place and have a look.

It was a dive. I mean, a majorly seedy dive. The guy kept saying young, young girls. We figured, not quite what we had in mind, let’s boost. Aware that the driver gets commission for bringing big spending farangs we asked how much to see China Town on the way back to the guest house. He said 60 baht (our original fare to the apartment), then 150 baht. We figure 150 baht for a couple of hours is fine. We jump in.

We get somewhere near our destination and he stops. We pay 160 baht, don’t ask for any change and he starts saying, no, no. Eventually after much discussion he wants us to pay 60 baht to the apartment, 60 baht to the sex show, and then 150 baht back, total 270 baht. Ridiculous. In the end we walk away.

We’re sitting a few blocks away having a shawarma (chicken in a round pitta) and up strolls our tuk tuk driver along with a gun carrying policeman. Allo, allo, allo, what’s all this then? Oh shit. So we start to have the same debate all over, with the tuk tuk driver providing some sort of translation to the police. Wholy crap. Fairly quickly the policeman says, ok, so to clear all problems, can you help him out with 100 baht.

I immediately produce the cash, hand it over, shake their hands, and say thank you in my best Thai accent. Roland was simultaneously gearing up to be a man of principle, stand by the fact that he was trying to rip us off, or at least it was a misunderstanding and we shouldn’t have to pay extra for his mistake.

It may be having read about how things, particularly the police, work in Thailand, but I think 100 baht (around £1.50) to get a policeman and a potentially crazy tuk tuk driver off your ass is a bargain. Irrelevantly of who’s right or wrong, it’s still only one pound fifty and the problem is permanently resolved. If we ever see the policeman again, he gained face (a hugely important concept in Thai culture) by solving the driver’s problem so quickly, I’m sure it wouldn’t do us any harm if we end up in a more dubious situation with the same policeman!

You gotta love Bangkok… 😉

4 thoughts on “Police, Tuk Tuks and Corruption”

  1. Hey. Blimey. How mad. What are u thinking of doing while u stay in Bangkok? Will u stay for a while? I’m over in NYC just now – luckily no crazy Tuk Tuk drivers as yet! JC.

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