Thailand’s Tourist Police under fire for carrying famous lawyer’s luggage (video)

Photo via ThaiRath

Thailand‘s police chief Pol. Gen. Damrongsak Kittipraphat ordered an urgent investigation into a video of Tourist Police officers assisting with the luggage of a famous lawyer at Suvarnabhumi Airport after the clip sparked concerns that the act was inappropriate and outside of the officers’ specified duties.

Chief Damrongsak held a conference yesterday at the Royal Thai Police (RTP) Headquarters to announce the launch of the investigation as well as to order the force to work according to the same Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), which should be clear and non-discriminatory, reports ThaiRath.

In the 20-second-long clip, two police officers in brown uniforms push luggage belonging to the family of Lawyer Tam, a well-known figure in Thailand, and help to lift it onto the luggage belt at the check-in counter.

The clip surfaced because famous political whistleblower Chuwit Kamolwisit posted it on Facebook yesterday, calling out the police…

“I am a walking citizen. If I travel anywhere, I go to the counter and load my luggage myself according to the regulations. No one to welcome me, no police to carry my bags.

“The clip confirms that Lawyer Tam is a very important person – the police have to welcome him, assist with his bags and accompany him to the gate. Is Lawyer Tam not a public attorney?

“How rich, how prestigious do you have to be that the police welcome you?”

Lawyer Tam has since snapped back at Chuwit’s comments…

“Hello, Chuwit the Great… thank you for following my life. Even to the point of taking a clip of my child travelling abroad and cropping the clip – ignoring the fact that the police who came to help were walking in the opposite direction when they recognised my face and came to say hi. The police saw that my child’s luggage was heavy and came to help like someone with a good ‘Service Mind.’

“If you don’t like me, if you hate me or attack me, I don’t mind. I understand that people have issues. But to upload a clip you took from an innocent bystander, upload it to your page for millions of people to see. I don’t think it’s very manly. Or is this what [Chuwit] the great “super villain” does?” 

Nevertheless, Thailand’s police chief has ordered an investigation into the video to determine whether the officers were acting within their authority and whether the service was appropriate.

The investigation will take a look into whether the implementation of privileges has negatively affected the RTP’s reputation.

The RTP’s reputation took a heavy blow in January after a Chinese tourist made a TikTok about her experience using a Chinese e-commerce platform to pay for the VIP police escort service from Suvarnabhumi Airport.

The tourist talked about how easy it was to pay and use the service which allowed her to skip right through immigration and into a police vehicle upon arrival in Thailand. Then, traffic police officers got her from Suvarnabhumi to Pattaya in just one hour – a journey that usually takes three – by blasting the vehicle’s emergency siren.

According to the ads online, a police escort from Thailand’s largest airport to Pattaya costs 7,000 baht for a car and 6,000 for a motorcycle, the tourist said in TikTok.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.