Pattaya police officer denies fining vape-carrying Chinese tourists

The identity of the senior police sergeant major from Mueang Pattaya Police Station, who illegally fined Chinese tourists for carrying vapes, has been revealed. The suspect officer, referred to as “K” in previous reports, is Police Sergeant Major Nopphakit Pornwatthanakit.

Nopphakit denies all allegations.

Thai media also reported that Nopphakit has been praised in the past for his good deeds on the official Pattaya Traffic Police Facebook page.

A group of Thai tour guides in Pattaya reported the wrongdoing of a police officer who requested 60,000 baht from a group of Chinese tourists for carrying e-cigarettes via a group chat on the LINE application.

The story later went viral after a member of the Professional Tourist Guide Association of Thailand committee, Paisarn Suethanuwong, talked about it during an interview with Channel 3 yesterday.

Mueang Pattaya Police Station Superintendent Kunlachart Kunlachai reported this morning that the senior police sergeant major mentioned by the Thai guides acknowledged he is the accused but denied it.

According to a Channel 3 report, Nopphakit denied the accusation and insisted he is innocent. He added that he is a good, hard-working officer.

Thairath did some digging and discovered pictures of Nopphakit performing good deeds on the official page of Mueang Pattaya Traffic Police.

The media showcased two pictures of Nopphakit, the first showed him and a taxi driver returning a foreign tourist’s backpack on July 3 last year. The second picture, highlighted by the media, was posted on January 12 of this year and depicted Nopphakit helping a foreign man locate his lost wallet containing cash and important documents on Pattaya Beach.

Thai netizens praised Nopphasit as a good police officer in response to these pictures. Despite this, Nopphasit’s actions are still under investigation and additional evidence is required to determine any illegal conduct.


UPDATE: Pattaya police chief transferred for fining vape carrying Chinese tourists

A senior police sergeant major from Mueang Pattaya Police Station has been transferred to Chon Buri Police Headquarters after admitting he illegally fined Chinese tourists 30,000 baht for carrying vapes.

A Professional Tourist Guide Association of Thailand committee member, Paisarn Suethanuwong, revealed the wrongdoing of a Mueang Pattaya Police Station chief on a Channel 3 news show yesterday.

Paisarn said he received a complaint that an officer fined Chinese tourists 60,000 baht for using and carrying e-cigarettes before reducing the fine to 30,000 baht.

According to the minister of Tourism and Sports, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, and the famous lawyer Kirdphon Kaewkird, Thai police cannot arrest or fine foreign tourists who carry e-cigarettes. They can only report it to the court.

The latest update on the issue was published on the Khaosod platform today. Khaosod reported that the issue was circulating on a LINE group chat featuring many Thai tour guides.

The police officer in question stepped forward and admitted his fault.

Mueang Pattaya Police Station Superintendent Kunlachart Kunlachai reported that the senior police sergeant major, named only as K, confessed that he was the officer who issued the fine.

Kunlachart added that officer K served in the traffic department and has been transferred to work in Chon Buri province while the issue was investigated.

The e-cigarette or vape row was highlighted in the recent Taiwanese actress scandal in Bangkok. Huai Khwang officers confessed to extorting 27,000 from An Yu-Qing ( 安于晴), also known as Charlene An, on January 4 in exchange for letting her go free without prosecution for carrying a vape in her luggage.

Police officers across the country are in the public spotlight right now, especially for their measures against e-cigarettes.

Thairath reported yesterday that police officers in the Isaan province of Ang Thong are taking e-cigarette cases more seriously. They raided a major vape shop in the province and seized over 1,000 vapes, vape juices, and cash, which were worth over 300,000 baht.

Amarin TV also interviewed an e-cigarette seller at Huay Kwang Market in Bangkok. The seller provided interesting information to the reporter, saying that they paid over 100,000 baht per year to an officer to sell goods on the pavement.

The seller also added that they could sell anything after the payment even if it was illegal products like vapes.



ORIGINAL STORY: Chinese tourists wrongly fined 60,000 baht for carrying vapes, says law expert

A group of Thai tour guides revealed that a group of Chinese tourists were fined 60,000 baht for carrying vapes in Pattaya. The police also gave a 50% discount and let the tourists pay only 30,000 baht.

According to Thai law, Thai police cannot arrest or fine foreigners with vapes. They have to report the issue to the court.

The committee member of the Professional Tourist Guide Association of Thailand, Paisarn Suethanuwong, joined a news show on Channel 3 named Hone Kra Sae today to share his views on the Taiwanese actress’ extortion case.

During the interview, Paisarn revealed that he received a similar complaint from a group of Thai tour guides in Pattaya.

The Thai guides shared with Paisarn that their Chinese customers carried and used e-cigarettes in Pattaya and were subsequently fined 60,000 baht several days ago.

The Chinese tourists negotiated with the police officers and got a 50% discount. They paid the officers 30,000 baht which was pretty expensive in the tour guides’ opinion.

Paisarn said…

“The fine on e-cigarette charge is unbelievably expensive. It is a gap for corrupt officers to gain benefits. Some foreign tourists do not know that vaporisers are illegal in Thailand because they are sold everywhere.”

The minister of Tourism and Sports, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, confirmed to Channel 7 today that Thai police cannot arrest or fine foreign tourists who carry vaporisers even if it is illegal in Thailand.

Phiphat said that the police must report the case to the court and let the court process the case. The minister did not give the details on how the court would continue the case.

A famous Thai lawyer, Kirdphon Kaewkird, explained that the Customs Department is responsible for the fine in this case. Police officers are responsible for recording the charge, seizing the illegal vapes, and submitting the issue to the court.

According to Section 20 of the Export and Imports of Goods (1979), whoever imports or exports illegal goods shall be punished with imprisonment of up to 10 years, a fine of five times more expensive than the price of the goods, or both.

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

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