Senior police investigators who have volunteered to work in the deep South for two years realise their lives potentially now hang by a thread.
"If you ask me whether I am scared of the violence in the deep South, of course the answer is yes, because I am also a human being," Pol Lt Col Yos Thaithieng, a senior investigator at Wang Sai Phun police station in Phichit's Wang Sai Phun district, said.
"But as a police officer I can't afford to fear it. I am ready to go there to work for the nation and the people," he said.
Pol Lt Col Yos has worked as an investigator for more than 20 years, mostly in the northern provinces.
He volunteered for a post in Narathiwat because he wants to broaden his experience, and is needed to help train junior investigators there.
Pol Lt Col Yos said he was concerned about his safety but told his family he would try to avoid dangerous situations.
He is among 42 police officers who have volunteered to work as specialist investigators in the insurgency-plagued southernmost border provinces of Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.
The Royal Thai Police needs 150 police investigators with the ranks of inspector, deputy superintendent and deputy inspector with at least four years' experience to fill in vacancies as specialist investigators there.
However, only 42 officers have volunteered for the posts.
The Royal Thai Police will on Thursday put the names of all qualified police investigators in a random draw to fill the remaining 108 vacant postings.
Some officers have complained about the method of selection.
Last week they submitted a protest letter to national police chief Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew, asking him to review the order for investigators to be put in a draw.
Pol Lt Col Khaisaeng Thawilwong, who represented 76 police officers from Provincial Police Region 4, said the officers did not object to the plan to transfer investigators to the far South but rather opposed the selection process.
Most of the officers whose names would be drawn were aged 40 to 50 and had family responsibilities, Pol Lt Col Khaisaeng said.
Pol Lt Col Boonrat Tanyong, a senior investigator at Mae Rim police station in Chiang Mai's Mae Rim district, said his wife and two daughters understood and respected his decision to work at a station in Yala.
"I used to be a border patrol police officer and have experienced difficult situations before. Working there should pose no problem. It is just two years spent away from my family, and if I miss them I can talk to them on the phone.
"I can adapt myself to the Muslim environment and culture and believe that my 20 years of experience in the field will help speed up investigations in the deep South.
"I know they have a backlog of cases there," Pol Lt Col Boonrat said.
This would be his first time working elsewhere in the country, as he was commissioned as an officer in the North.
Pol Lt Col Chaiwat Jaisabai, a senior investigator at Muang police station in Chaiyaphum, said he chose to go to work at a station in Pattani and is waiting for a travel order from the Royal Thai Police.
"If you were to ask whether I am scared about the situation in the far South, I can say not at all. I really want to go there because the southern region is desperately short of experienced specialist investigators," he said.
The investigators who have volunteered have asked the Royal Thai Police to help provide better care for their families if an untoward incident were to happen.
They want the state to take care of their children until they finish their studies, and provide extra money for their families in the event they are left without a breadwinner.
About the author
- Writer: Anucha Charoenpo