Connect with us

Opinion

Opinion: History of mob rule repeats itself

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published 

 on 

PHUKET: The Royal Thai Police must conduct a full and transparent investigation into the sad chain of events that led up to the riot at Thalang Police Station – all instigators must face justice.

Issues of democratic development aside, one of the silver linings of living under de facto martial law for almost a year-and-a-half has been the dramatic reduction in the number of tourism-killing road blockades set up by protesters.

Prior to the seizure of power by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) in 2014, hardly a month passed without a roadblock of some kind. The island seemed to be dangerously close to slipping into a ‘protestocracy’ (story here), which was fostered by widespread self-entitlement, greed, corruption – and residents not trusting police.

In late April 2014, irate residents of Tah Chat Chai staged a crippling roadblock on Thepkrasattri Road, accusing police of violent interrogation methods when the officers questioned young suspects in the brutal rape of a pregnant 25-year-old woman.

The road closure caused hundreds of would-be passengers to miss flights and ended, as usual, when the officers were transferred out of the district.

Many, if not most, of these blockades have taken place in Thalang District, which has a long and depressing history of poor relations between local residents and police at all three of its stations: Thalang, Cherng Talay and Tah Chat Chai.

It is hard to keep count of how many times Ban Kor En community members have blockaded the deadly section of Thepkrasattri Road that runs through their community, demanding that changes be made to the curve to preserve the lives of those on that vital main artery and those who live nearby.

But the unprecedented riot at Thalang Police Station represents a particularly worrying break in what had been a period of relative peace on the island, and may reflect a growing public discontentment with the police.

Our national police force has failed to earn the same level of respect as their counterparts in the military and is still regarded by large segments of society as not only self-serving and corrupt, but also incompetent.

It is fortunate that the officers on duty at the time of the unprecedented violent attack did not fire on the attackers in self-defence. The restraint exercised is to be commended, as riot police in developed, as well as developing countries, far too often fail to do so, which leads to even greater violence.

However, the failure of well-armed police to ‘hold the fort’ as they are assaulted with sticks and stones could also be misconstrued by the public as yet another form of incompetence. Some might ask: How can they be expected to protect society at-large from so many miscreants if they can’t even protect their home turf?

It is in fact this restraint and the confidence that justice will be eventually served, versus the immediate desire to get even with the attackers, that will best serve the force in the long run. Police have already gathered enough solid evidence to put at least nine of those responsible where they belong: behind bars. However, it must be done with complete transparency. And, at the same time, it is equally important that the incident that triggered the riot also be investigated in a transparent way. Otherwise, widespread perceptions that Thai police are ‘above the law’ will continue to prevail.

 

Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates

image

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.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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

Follow Thaiger by email:

Phuket57 mins ago

Phuket police raids nab suspects for allegedly having guns, drugs, kratom

World2 hours ago

Antivirus legend John McAfee apparent suicide in Spanish prison

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Thursday Covid Update: 4,108 new cases; provincial totals

Phuket Sandbox July 1st

days
hours
minutes
seconds

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Bar girls in Pattaya arrested for allegedly violating Covid restrictions while live streaming

Protests3 hours ago

Gathering for 89th anniversary of constitutional monarchy

Crime3 hours ago

Police arrest suspect who allegedly killed Covid patient and 7-Eleven clerk

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Multiple Bangkok hospitals stop Covid testing, citing fear of insufficient beds

Pattaya4 hours ago

Chon Buri governor says Pattaya bars will stay closed for now, Covid cases remain high

Crime4 hours ago

15 year old stabbed at private school

Thailand5 hours ago

UPDATE: Police identify alleged gunman who opened fire at field hospital, killing a patient

Thailand6 hours ago

PM orders investigation into pricey street lamps

Best of6 hours ago

Top 5 Thai Restaurants in Bangkok

Phuket6 hours ago

Phuket governor outlines plans to track and trace foreign arrivals

Coronavirus (Covid-19)6 hours ago

Thursday Covid Update: Latest wave exceeds 200,000 cases

Thailand7 hours ago

Guitarist from “Playground” dies in road incident

Thailand4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

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

Phuket4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

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

Tourism4 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand5 months ago

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

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending