Policeman offers rub downs to calm visitors

Policeman offers rub downs to calm visitors

File a complaint at Nong Trud station in Trang and get a free 'massage to relieve stress', courtesy of one officer at the front desk

Pol Lt Pakronkrit Thongsuk, 58, provides massages free of charge to help relieve stress for visitors. WASSAYOS NGAMKHAM
Pol Lt Pakronkrit Thongsuk, 58, provides massages free of charge to help relieve stress for visitors. WASSAYOS NGAMKHAM

Being three years shy of retirement hasn't stopped a police officer in Trang from doing what he loves the most -- soothing the tense muscles of visitors who come to his station.

In fact, Pol Lt Pakronkrit Thongsuk told the Bangkok Post that he is looking to make a career out of it once he retires from the force.

Pol Lt Pakronkrit stands out from the rest of the force as he provides a service few others have imagined providing -- a neck-and-head massage for those who file a complaint at Nong Trud station in Muang district, where he is stationed.

As a frontline officer, Pol Lt Pakronkrit regularly meets the public who need to file a report for various problems, from petty theft to major crimes.

Pol Lt Pakronkrit launched the scheme he dubbed "Massage to Relieve Distress" to make visits to the station more tolerable.

"Visits to a station are not exactly a walk in the park, so anything that we can do to relieve their stress levels will help," he said.

Upon arriving at Nong Trud station, complainants are offered a glass of cold water and a herbal candy of their choice, which Pol Lt Pakronkrit says can soothe a variety of ailments.

When he sees a visitor looking particularly stressed, Pol Lt Pakronkrit, who is also a professionally-trained Thai massage practitioner, asks for permission to massage their neck and head.

After about 10-15 minutes of gentle massage, most are much calmer and level-headed, which will have a positive impact on the investigation.

Pol Lt Pakronkrit also took part in the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (Dare) programme, aimed at tackling the use of illicit drugs in schools. Dare, inspired by a similar programme in Los Angeles in the US, is sponsored by the Royal Thai Police.

Also known as the one-police-one-school programme, police are sent to educate students at local schools about the dangers of drugs and raise drug awareness.

Pol Lt Pakronkrit said he gets paid 3,900 baht per school term as an instructor.

However, he donates the pay to the school where he teaches and also gives an additional 100 baht of his own money towards the school's development.

A native of Bang Saphan district in Prachuap Khiri Khan, he moved to Trang when his wife came to the province to serve as director of a local school in Muang district.

Pol Lt Pakrongkrit sought a transfer to Trang 13 years ago, where he initially worked as a non-commissioned officer.

He steadily rose through the ranks at Nong Trud station, ultimately becoming a police lieutenant. After a few years, he made enough to pay for his own Thai traditional massage training.

He said Thai massage is world-renowned as it works wonders in soothing physical and emotional stresses, noting the massage can sometimes be a better alternative to anti-depressants.

Performing the massage on police station visitors allows him to gain experience, as he hopes to make a living from it when he retires three years from now, he said.

Debt-free, he is not held back by problems which would otherwise keep him from contributing to society.

The only setback he feels is that his "Massage to Relieve Distress" scheme does not get enough attention by his superiors, who tend to direct their praise to crime-busting investigators rather than officers with desk duty.

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