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  • Writer's pictureKirk

Trashed in Thailand

I’m very familiar with Thailand but familiarity does not breed common sense. At least not for me.

One day as I walked the streets of Bangkok my arthritic back began to bother me to the point walking became very uncomfortable. Knowing the pharmacies there sell many anti inflammatory drugs without prescription that would require one in the USA, I stopped into one and bought some.

Exiting the pharmacy I sought a place to buy a drink to wash the pills down and quickly noticed a 7 Eleven store which is ubiquitous in Bangkok. I entered the store and purchased a coke.

I exited the store and immediately spotted a police officer standing on the sidewalk about 30 feet away. He seemed uninterested in what was happening around him and I gave him casual notice.

I stood by the store stairs and took my pills, washing them down with the coke. I looked around after finishing the drink for a receptacle but none were present. But I noticed several others had left bottles on the stoop outside the store.

After quickly glancing at the officer I stealthily left my bottle with the others and walked off in the opposite direction of the officer. But I didn’t get far before I got the tap on my shoulder. I turned and was stunned to see the officer had caught me so quickly! Did he have extra eyes?

The officer told me I littered, which I already knew. I tried to explain there were no receptacles to place trash (which is true for most of the streets there). He would have none of that. I was caught.

He asked me to follow him to the small kiosk they had set up on the sidewalk where a different officer who spoke better English addressed me. He informed me the fine was 2,000 baht (about $60). Now this is a lot in Thailand and I expected they were adding their personal fees to this.

I balked. I told them I only had 1000 baht on me. It worked! He quickly accepted my counter offer, but then I was dismayed I didn’t offer 500!

I know how things work in Thailand and I was quite certain this fine money would not make it to the government agency. So to deter self pocketing I asked for a receipt (no idea if it mattered). The officer seemed surprised but got out a paper to write. But the other officer spoke up and yelled, “He want receipt? 2000 baht!”

Had I overplayed my hand? I felt I had blown it. But the other officer ignored him and accepted my 1000 baht while giving me a paper scribbled in Thai. I have no idea what it said, but I thanked him and promptly left.

This is not the first police encounter I had while traveling abroad. But knowing how things work in Thailand left me confident the outcome would be bearable. I think I got out of this fairly cheaply considering my stupidity and disrespect.

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Roger Wells
Roger Wells
Jul 07, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Sounds like you were set up.🫤

Jul 07, 2023
Replying to

I should have known better. I had a bad feeling when I walked away.

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