Possibly another reason to beware of the police? A female friend of mine was late to meet me yesterday and explained that when leaving the Saphan Taksin BTS station she was approached on the street by a motorcycle policeman whom asked her for her papers. As she told her story, she wondered to me did she look Cambodian, Chinese or, ultimately, other than like a Thai woman? Assessing her 'look' anew, I decided that no, she looked Thai to me. As well, her dress was conservatively normal as compared to what I considered as casual for progressive Thai women, light makeup (she was attractive to begin with), her hair pulled back, comfortable walking shoes (flats, as she was, I will admit, above average height), etc.; or, dressed as though she might just be out for a trip to the zoo or the park, I'd say. In other words, I would be happy to introduce her to Grandma as my good friend if I saw her passing on the street (were she still alive). All said, my friend wouldn't be a standout in a crowd other than again, for her attractiveness and height, were she singled out. That thought, I could see that she was somewhat disturbed and asked her why so. Apparently, after she told the policeman she had no papers to identify her as a Thai citizen - or even as a person with a name? Not sure , because I didn't ask her - he told her that unless she could produce some sort of identification he would have to take her to the police station. Taking comfort, she said, in the fact there were many vendors as well as 'motorcy' transportation operators around, as well as the many other people going in and out of the BTS station, she kept her wits about her - as she hadn't broken any laws, she said - and put her mobile phone into her hand as if to make a call. The policeman then asked her who she was calling and she replied that she was calling her lawyer. He asked her why she was doing that and she explained that if she was going to be taken to the police station she would have her lawyer meet her there so he could sort out why she was taken there to begin with (she reiterated to me that she hadn't broken any laws and had never been asked for 'papers' in her entire life). Hearing that she was going to have her lawyer meet her was enough for the policeman. Obviously angry, she said, he relented and said she could go... but with a warning: "this time." I'm not naive, and I doubt she is either. But, for the sake of fairness that he was justified in his actions as a policeman, I wonder if it is common for Thai nationals to carry their 'papers' with them. As an ex-pat I carry multiple identification documents with me, including a copy of my passport, but I wonder, for the sake of those women who might be without, either foreign or Thai, that they should too? I think - and trust more - this woman's intuition that the policeman (whom she said she would not be able to identify anyway) was acting 'otherwise' than as in his official capacity. I intimated to her that I agreed, the experience she related sounded a little wierd to me too and that if she wanted to make an official complaint I would go with her to the police station. She said it wouldn't be necessary as she doubted it would happen again, and anyway, he (the policeman) would be long gone 'by now.' Having offered her a taxi for her return trip home - and refused - my only consolation for my concern for her was that she allowed me to walk her at least part of the way back to the BTS station... whence I wondered how many times had this policeman been previously successful in taking other unsuspecting women to the local 'police station.' Is my paranoia showing? Even in my country of origin it isn't uncommon for policemen to act 'otherwise' under the color of the law. When found to do so, however, they usually bear the full force of the law they swore to protect... with prejudice, I might add.