Upswing in police harassment

Coming into Ekamai bus station on the return trip from Rayong, I noticed two policemen sitting on a bench. It took a while to finally disembark, and looking around for a taxi, I saw the same two policemen sitting on the same bench vigorously going through the bags and belongings of two young backpackers.

Last month, my best friend was suddenly confronted by a policemen who appeared out of nowhere and who took his camera bag and scattered the contents on the pavement in front of the Rama IV Lotus, accusing him of having pornographic images in his memory card! My friend got scared and worried that drugs might be ''found'', so he opted to pay off the policeman.

My son had a similar encounter in front of his university campus. A policeman snatched my son's bag, but thanks to his muscular body and his young age, he snatched the bag back and pushed the policemen, shouting in Thai to back off. Perhaps this surprised the policeman. Luckily my son was able to walk away.

Similar cases of harassment seem to have become common these days and I wonder if I might be the next target. So I have two questions:

1. Do the police have the right by law to search a person on the street without a warrant or a similar document?

2. If it happens, what is the best way to react?

Bangkok Resident


FIRST-TIMERS' FOLLY

Regarding the report that the government is considering bailouts for first-time car buyers who cannot make payments on their vehicles, all I can say is that it is another example of the Pheu Thai Party's populist policies gone astray. And it is going to cost the taxpayers plenty.

The rebate for first-time car buyers was like dangling candy in front of babes. People grabbed without thinking of the consequences _ making the payments.

Car manufacturers are also to blame for their greed. Oh, how they pushed the idea. Next year should see a great market for small (almost new) used vehicles. The used car dealers are already preparing extra space to accommodate these little rod krabong. Looking before you leap is not a common practice in Thailand.

Lobzig


A POLICE DRAFT IS DAFT

Last month, the military said it wants to recruit more soldiers. Now the police say they also want to increase their force, as reported last Thursday (''Cops want conscripts to boost ranks''). The article says: ''The Royal Thai Police Office will propose amending the police law to allow for police conscription as part of national service, a senior officer in the force says.

''Deputy national police Pol Gen Watcharapol Prasanratchakij said an amendment to the Police Act is being prepared to provide for the annual drafting of 10,000 police conscripts.''

I find it ridiculous that the police are facing a shortage of manpower. It was only last year that many would-be officers were caught cheating on the police entrance exam. They were so eager to get in that they paid a substantial sum to obtain answers to the exam.

I wonder what the real reason is for the desire to boost police ranks. Is it to counter the power of the army? Is it to use conscripted new police officers as cheap labour? Is it to receive a greater budget from the government? Is it to quell future protests? Or perhaps it's a combination of all of these factors.

When will the police force and the army learn that quality is more important than quantity, and that well trained, dedicated, and ethical officers are what's needed.

Edward Kitlertsirivatana
Bangkok


LAY DOWN THE LAW FOR DOGS

I love Thailand, but the dogs running at large here are a real problem. Where I live in Ontario, Canada we have to keep our dogs from running free or they will be caught by the animal control office. If this happens three times the owner must pay a hefty fine. If a dog is running at large people call the office to have it pick up the animal, and if the owner can't be found it will go to a dog pound.

Furthermore, all dogs must be on a leash when walked and the owner has to clean up after the dog does its business.

Every dog is required to have a licence tag and proof of a rabies vaccination must be shown when the tag is renewed each year. The tag fees are higher for dogs that are not spayed or neutered. We also have dog parks where the owner can take the dog and let run and play with other dogs.

People need to take responsibility for their pets. A dog running free can be dangerous, disruptive and a nuisance. I'd like to see Thailand put into effect the same sort of regulations we have in Ontario.

Dog Lover
Rayong


STOP ANIMAL ANTIBIOTIC MADNESS

Although I agree with practically everything Michael Nightingale wrote in his letter to ''PostBag'' yesterday (''Veggies the way forward''), I would like to add to his comment that the animal farms use of antibiotics for medical purposes. They also give antibiotics to the animals because the antibiotics make some of them grow faster for reasons that aren't completely understood.

Consequently, about 80% of the antibiotics being used today are used by the animal farms, including fish farms. If this madness continues and bacteria becomes increasingly resistant to antibiotics, we may soon be faced with a terrible health crisis.

Eric Bahrt
Pattaya


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