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Phuket Opinion: Three cheers for clean police

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: The opening of the Karon Police Station in 2012 to serve the southwest of the island was a well-intended move, one expected to take pressure off the Chalong police who were previously responsible for the entire south of the island.

Events in recent months have shown that the truncation did not stop the scandals that have plagued the Chalong Police Station for so many years, collectively undermining its reputation and ability to maintain law and order in what must be one of the most diverse demographics in the Kingdom.

For reasons that remain somewhat unclear, the area under the jurisdiction of the Chalong police remains the most popular destination among the large and ever-growing legions of long-stay expats: from the tattoo-covered martial arts practitioners of Soi Ta-iad to the bar stool yachties of Chalong Bay.

Throw in untold scores of migrant workers from other parts of Thailand, not to mention Burmese laborers, and it comes as little surprise that the Chalong Police area has developed a reputation as a place “where anything can happen, and usually does”.

With so much going on, no precinct on the island could stand to benefit more from the assistance of foreign volunteer police. Unfortunately, the station’s former “go to” guy, New Zealander Gary Halpin, was arrested last year for allegedly selling methamphetamine to foreign tourists (story here).

More recently, the station fell under scrutiny after officers under the command of former superintendent Col Krittapas Dazintharasorn allegedly used their positions to extort money from dive instructors (story here). True to form, his higher-ups tacitly admitted the “impropriety” by suggesting Col Krittapas “had been there a long time” and had developed “close relationships with his men, which made it hard for him to maintain discipline.”

As is usual following such allegations, Col Krittapas was simply transferred to another post, out of one Phuket pocket and into another, with no specific mention of any further investigations whatsoever (story here).

In the latest fiasco to befall Chalong police station, a family grieving the death of their patriarch in a hit-and-run accident blockaded the station’s entrance for some five hours to protest its officers’ inability or unwillingness to bring the perpetrator to justice (story here).

While extending our condolences to the family, the Phuket Gazette cannot help but note the irony that in trying to “finesse” some justice in their own case, the family denied access to other members of the public who might also have been seeking justice through the station.

With all this in mind, and too many other scandals to mention in this space, the Gazette would like to offer newly reinstated Chalong Police Superintendent Sirisak Wasasiri the best of luck back in the saddle. Hopefully, Phuket residents, Thai and foreign alike, will be watching carefully to see how he does.

 

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

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