Connect with us

Opinion

Facing up to the brutal reality of Phuket’s missing children

Published

 on 

PHUKET: The welcome news that the Royal Thai Police no longer need to wait 24 hours before launching a search for a missing child is one of the greatest leaps forward in policing policy in years (story here).

A regular reader would not have to flip through a pile of back issues of the Phuket Gazette to know of the countless international law-enforcement conferences reported over the years – and the standard photo opportunities of local police targeting “bad guys”, primarily in the hope of saving Thailand from losing face and defending the reputation of the nation’s lucrative tourism industry.

This latest move targets the saving of lives of those most valuable to any society: children.

It also brings Royal Thai Police policy in line with world standards. The much revered and feared Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has Child Abduction Rapid Deployment (CARD) teams at the ready across the United States.

“The first few hours after a child is abducted are critical,” acknowledges the FBI on its website, though immediately admitting that the CARD teams were established only as recently as October 2005.

However, the FBI brings some common sense to the problem – and a very strong knock-back to the tired old Thai Police mantra that they do not have enough officers in Phuket: the FBI has only 60 CARD officers who comprise only five teams throughout the entire United States.

The policy shift also caters well to the changing social fabric of Phuket, where many parents are from family homes in other provinces. Most Thais in Phuket are not Phuket natives and many of these domestic migrants leave their children with elderly family members or neighborhood friends while they earn much-needed income. Sadly, as the tragic tale of Nong Dear shows, anytime a child is out of sight of his or her parents could become a time for worry.

To their credit, the Thai Police now (unofficially) use to their benefit another recent cultural shift – the Thai dependency on being connected online. Police use the chat application Line to update the media on many breaking news stories. News of a missing child can be quickly spread the same way.

Of all sad irony, the case of missing Nong Pin in 2011 highlights how she herself could have been using at the time of her disappearance one of the greatest tools in locating missing persons: she was last seen in a Phuket Town internet cafe using Facebook (story here).

The global online networking portal has 24 million users in Thailand, who collectively send more than 5.5 billion messages each month. Yet despite the plethora of online dating services and other advertisements that are intentionally provided to Phuket Facebook users to target a localized readership, the Gazette has yet to see one localized public notice for a missing person.

Mark Zuckerberg, 29 years old and without children, has amassed a personal fortune of close to 900 million baht from Facebook. Maybe he can afford to spare a few localized ad slots to promote missing children notices – if the Royal Thai Police were to seize the initiative.

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Eastern Thailand8 hours ago

German man believed to have monkeypox briefly fled police

Thailand9 hours ago

New app to help migrant women in Thailand facing abuse

Cambodia10 hours ago

Nigerian man recovers from monkeypox, handed to Cambodian authorities

Sponsored2 days ago

The return of the most important coffee event in Thailand

World11 hours ago

Unusually heavy floods in Pakistan kill 549, thousands of homes damaged

Thailand11 hours ago

How to get the Thailand Elite Visa?

Transport12 hours ago

BTS is offering a free ride… with your mom

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Bangkok12 hours ago

Fire at Energy Ministry’s compound in Bangkok

Phuket13 hours ago

2 meth busts in Phuket this past week

Politics13 hours ago

NIDA Poll: PM Prayut should not extend term after August 24

Chon Buri15 hours ago

Mountain Pub fire: 15 victims dead, owner arrested, club uninsured

Chon Buri15 hours ago

Police transferred, safety measures enacted in wake of Mountain B fire

Bangkok16 hours ago

Bangkok taxi driver who snapped himself raping teen gets jailed

Video16 hours ago

Building a $100mil business in Thailand feat. Michael Kenner | Thaiger Podcast Ep. 1

Tourism17 hours ago

Major jump in Thailand Airbnb searches

Economy17 hours ago

Thailand’s hotels are short on workers

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending