Cops are queuing up for inactive posts
published : 5 Feb 2023 at 04:00
newspaper section: News
It has been quite an entertaining week although admittedly not everyone involved will see the funny side. An Air Force officer says he is happy he was caught after snatching a necklace at a gold shop because he wanted to get away from his wife and a prison cell would do nicely. A rather bizarre motive, but he got his wish. Apparently a lengthy spell in the slammer beats a daily nagging.
It also appears that one of Thailand's finest traditions, the "transferred to an inactive post" season, is in full swing. Several Bangkok police officers have been transferred to such posts after allegedly extorting Taiwanese actress, Charlene An. For some reason such stories seem to have added spice if an actress is involved.
One wonders if the police had known that one of Charlene's most recent films was Ghost Fist 3, they might have had second thoughts about taking her on. Perhaps there could be a sequel, set in Bangkok.
Anyway, it's a rather confusing case with so many red herrings and contradictions, which is nothing new here. Incidentally, another over-zealous cop has gained inactive post status after a similar offence in Pattaya.
The transfers even prompted a firm "Bad Cops Must Go" headline in the newspaper although that might just have been a case of wishful thinking.
One wonders what the cops who are transferred will do all day considering they are supposed to be inactive. They can hardly arrest one another, although maybe that wouldn't be such a bad idea. One suspects that the Ministry of Inactive Posts must be suffering serious overcrowding, absolutely awash with all these gendarmes diligently doing nothing.
New readers unfamiliar with inactive posts can be forgiven for wondering what skills are required to hold such a prestigious position. To qualify, you must have the ability to doze off at a moment's notice. It is also useful to have a good command of yawning and be proficient in snoring loudly.
Sack the lot
There was an interesting case back in 1991 when a committee was appointed to investigate an influential official in the Budget Bureau suspected of "inappropriate behaviour", a nice way of saying he had been siphoning off huge amounts of money.
The diligent committee spent an entire year investigating this gentleman, involving considerable grilling, probing and mulling.
When they came to their final decision they announced that they could not find anything inappropriate in the suspect's actions.
That was not the verdict the powers-that-be had wanted so they promptly transferred the entire committee to inactive posts -- more than a dozen of them.
The influential suspect did not escape scot-free, however. He was also transferred to an inactive post, incidentally for the second time in 10 years. He was clearly making a career of it.
One of my favourite inactive post stories concerns a senior official at the Public Warehouse Organisation who some years ago was transferred to such a post after being accused of "a lack of productivity."
Asked why he had appeared to have done nothing at all during his lengthy tenure he explained it was very simple -- nobody had asked him to do anything.
Sounds like he was an ideal choice for an inactive post.
All readers will have experienced police checkpoints and most people probably support them as long as they nab drunken drivers and crooks. However there is a certain "grey area" that not everyone appreciates. It usually features red lights and invariably results in handing over red notes.
There was a brief period in the 1990s when in some secluded areas in Bangkok, gangs disguised as policemen set up illegal checkpoints where they extorted money from motorists. It got so bad that a senior police chief actually advised motorists not to stop at checkpoints in dark or secluded areas as they might be manned by fake officers.
The problem facing motorists however was distinguishing between an official police checkpoint and a fake one.
It turned out that most motorists settled for stopping at the checkpoints anyway, resigned to the fact that one way or another they would probably have to fork out some cash whether the cops were fake or not.
Some years ago in a bid to give a feeling of a more widespread traffic police presence someone came up with the splendid idea of cardboard cops. These were life-size replicas designed to make motorists behave and to scare off crooks.
Admirable though the motives may have been, it was stretching things a bit to expect the motorists and crooks be fooled by cardboard cops.
A similar attempt a few years earlier had also not been a great success courtesy of Mother Nature. All the cardboard cops were blown over in a major rainstorm and were left littering the highways lying on their backs, hardly a deterrent to would-be offenders.
I remember a case in England near my home town years ago when a motorist was pulled over on suspicion of drink-driving. The driver began shouting angrily at the police claiming that he hadn't touched alcohol all night.
At this point his wife leaned over from the passenger seat and trying to calm things down explained helpfully, "It's alright officer. He is always like this when he's had a few."
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Bangkok Post columnist
A long time popular Bangkok Post columnist. In 1994 he won the Ayumongkol Literary Award. For many years he was Sports Editor at the Bangkok Post.
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