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Pattaya Daily News

21 July 2009 :: 21:07:44 pm 1405

Foreigners Taken For a Ride by Police

This is the true story of a young Australian volunteer teacher in Pattaya who was nearly ripped off by the police after his motor bike accident experience.
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Josh was a volunteer teacher at our PDN office, helping to train our staff English and sometimes poor kids whom we gave free classes too, once in a while.

Josh, a 24-year-old man, rented a motor bike from a shop somewhere in town. One day he was late for the class. I had a call from him at 9.30 am, saying he’d had an accident. I offered to help, but he said it was nothing serious and he could handle it himself.

However, he came back to the office in the afternoon and walked straight to his office. I was too busy to find out what had happened. Josh rushed out and left a note that he had to go back to the police station. I called, but he kept saying that he could handle everything, and I wasn’t too worry.

We had not seen Josh for about three days.

On the fourth day, he knocked on my door, and walked into my office with a miserable looking face. He said a police officer had asked him to bring Bt80,000 to pay a fine because he had been charged with drunk and dangerous driving and had had accident, in which the other party had been injured.

I asked what the Bt80000 was for. He said Bt40000 was for the motorbike owner and Bt40000 was for the man whose Mercedes he had hit. He showed me the Bt80000 , which he’d had to ask his family in Australia to transfer to him. He said the police officer who was in charge of his case seemed to be very helpful and had made an appointment to receive the money at his apartment.

I told him to call the police officer and made an appointment at a restaurant near our office, to which the police man agreed, though he didn’t know it was actually outside the PDN office!

I turned up with Josh and was introduced as his mother’s friend. The police corporal was aged around 35, with quite a friendly looking face.

He was a little bit surprised that Josh had turned up with me, not being alone as had happened, previously, every time they had been through negotiations.

I asked him politely about the accident.

He said Josh was so drunk when he was driving his bike out of a soi in South Pattaya that he had accidentally hit a Mercedes side on and damaged the car badly. When I asked to see the pictures, he said they were at the police station. I asked why the car owner was not with him and why we didn’t meet at the police station rather in a restaurant. He smiled at this juncture, but didn’t comment.

The police officer’s version of the story was as follows:
“Josh was driving his bike fast and dangerously out of a soi and ran into a Mercedes, which was driving along the South Pattaya Road at 9.30 in the morning. He fell off the bike and couldn’t communicate because he was so drunk. They took him to the police station where the car owner signed a paper giving the police the authority to take care of the case because he was in a hurry to go back to Bangkok.

The policeman said the motorbike owner had also demanded that Josh pay for the damage to the rented bike. He also let this police officer handle this matter for him. The policeman said Josh was written up as driving dangerously and Josh’s case would be charged as a criminal one, requiring he be sent to court and would either end up in jail, or be repatriated to Australia immediately.

I asked to see the alcohol test report; he did not have one and tried to avoid further negotiations down at the police station. I knew, by this time, it was a cheap style threat, but I did not know at that moment what I could do to solve the problem without causing more complications.

Frankly, I thought Josh might be involved with drugs somehow, perhaps taking them, so I had to be careful.

I asked Josh to tell his side of the story, which goes like this:
He said he was not drunk at all. It was early morning and he was on the way to our office to teach. “You cannot afford to drink and walk into the classroom,” he said. He remembered that he was driving slowly when he came out of the soi because he was going to turn right at the main road. A car came along at normal speed, passing in front of him, but the corner was very busy and he accidentally flipped the bike over and knocked his head on the ground , subsequently losing consciousness.

He regained consciousness at the police station and it was explained to him that he’d had an accident and damaged a car. The police showed him the pictures of a damaged car, but he could not remember if it was the same car or not. His motorbike had also been taken away and the owner was at the police station demanding that Josh pay for the damage to the bike. Josh had not seen either the car or the motorbike after the accident, due to having been unconscious at the time.

I told the policeman that Josh worked with us, but he did not have that much money. He either had to find a lawyer or borrow the money from me; hence I was eager to hear the facts.

However, after chatting for some time, the police officer admitted the motorbike was not that badly damaged and when asked for the car’s details, such as the owner’s name, addresses, etc. he could not prolong the obviously fake story any more.

We finally found a creative way to bring the matter to a conclusion.

I said the maximum we could pay was Bt5000 for the motorbike, but nothing to the owner of the car because we didn’t even know if it had been damaged.

The policeman initially said “No way! We at least have to pay my boss, the police case controller, otherwise his report would be there forever.”I quite believe that, too, so Josh and I had a five-minute private discussion. During that time, my son accompanied the policeman, in case he decided to dash away and come back with even more creative ideas, which might bring further complications for us. So the final agreement was a 10000 baht fine, 5000 for the motor bike and 5000 baht for his boss, at least that was what he said.

However, when we had agreed, he said,
“Let me call my boss first.” He picked up the phone and talked in front of us, Josh, me, and my son.
“ Hello boss,” he said “the farang doesn’t have any money. A very nice lady wanted to lend him some but she doesn’t have a lot of money either. Too many problems! They want to talk to the car owner, want to see the photos and the motorbike, too. Many headaches! What do you want me to do?”He kept saying “ yes..yes..yes..” He may even have been talking to himself, I don’t know.

He finally said to his boss ‘Okay boss I will give him the passport back. I haven’t received any baht from him, okay? Do you want to talk to the lady? No? Okay I will find another case for you!”Josh ended up paying 10,000 baht. The policeman sped away with big smile.

This has been just another instance of what can happen to unwary foreigners in Pattaya. And it’s all true!

Warina Punyawan

Reporter : Warina Punyawan   Photo : PDN staff   Category : Editorial

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