Outcry over police VIP airport escort service

Officials at Suvarnabhumi airport's 'Fast Track Lane' for immigration. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
Officials at Suvarnabhumi airport's 'Fast Track Lane' for immigration. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Tourism operators have slammed the Thai police VIP escort service sold online in China, saying it severely damages the image of Thailand.

The popular Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao features a number of fast-track entry services at Suvarnabhumi and other airports from several agents, some of which claim to be former airport employees.

Sisdivachr Cheewarattanaporn, president of the  Association of Thai Travel Agents, said the image of the country was battered by the video of the illicit VIP service for a Chinese tourist who claimed to have purchased a police escort service from the airport to her hotel in Pattaya.

After the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said on Tuesday its offices in China could not find the ad offering these services, a Thai Facebook page named "Shoot to China", which has 1.4 million followers, immediately responded by posting reviews about VIP entry services on sale via the e-commerce platform.

Mr Sisdivachr said tourism operators are worried about the situation because it caused "a tremendous downgrade in public security confidence" when police officers who are supposed to offer public services instead decide to offer a business.

"We disagree with their actions, as it absolutely was not the right thing to do. In the past, police only helped escort and transport important persons, groups or invited national guests, as assigned by the government, without such illicit cases," he said.

"This is the first time this service was publicised. The reputation of not only the country, but also the Thai police has been damaged."

The Tourism and Sports Ministry found that members of the Tourist Police were involved in the viral video of the VIP escort.

A screenshot captures a VIP escort service offered for sale on a Chinese e-commerce platform.

Meanwhile, Airports of Thailand (AoT) denied involvement with another case of VIP fast-track services at the airport after a vendor posted the airport ID card on the e-commerce platform, claiming to have connections at the airport, along with offers to help escort arrivals through the VIP fast lane for a fee of 100-698 yuan (around 400-3,000 baht)

The AoT said it did issue the ID card, but the employee is registered with a private organisation that runs a business at the airport. The AoT said it is not responsible for this employee.

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  • batter: to hit something hard many times - ตีติดต่อกัน, โจมตีติดต่อกัน
  • claim (noun): saying that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it - ข้ออ้าง ข้อกล่าวหา
  • downgrade: to reduce someone or something to a lower rank or position, to reduce the strength of something - ลดความสำคัญ, ลดความรุนแรง
  • escort: to go with a person or group of people in order to protect them - คุ้ม
  • fast-track (adj.): operating quickly, doing the job without delay -
  • former: of or in an earlier time; before the present time or in the past - อดีต, แต่ก่อน
  • illicit: against the law - ผิดกฎหมาย
  • image: an opinion that people have about someone or something - ภาพลักษณ์
  • outcry: a strong expression of anger and disapproval about something, made by a group of people or by the public - การคัดค้านอย่างรุนแรง
  • platform (noun): the type of computer system or the software that is used; a technology -
  • private: involving groups, businesses or industries that are not owned or controlled by the government - เอกชน
  • reputation: the opinion that people have about how good or bad someone or something is - ความนับหน้าถือตา
  • respond: to say something as a reaction to something that has been said - ตอบ
  • responsible: deserving to be blamed for something that has happened - มีความรับผิดชอบ
  • slam: to strongly criticise someone or something - วิพากษ์วิจารณ์อย่างรุนแรง
  • vendor: someone who sells something, but often not in a shop - พ่อค้าแม่ค้าแผงลอย
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