Police chief orders probe into ‘siren service’ for Chinese tourist
Thailand’s national police chief has ordered an investigation into claims by a Chinese tourist that she received “special services” from Thai police – for a price – during a visit to Pattaya with her mother, following a video clip that went viral on TikTok.
National police chief Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas is aware of the video and has ordered an investigation to find out if the people in the video clip are Thai police officers, Royal Thai Police spokesman Maj-Gen Atchayon Kraithong said on Saturday.
Atchayon said his boss wants the results of the investigation delivered to him quickly.
In the video clip that went viral in China, the young woman who posted it says she was offered a police escort while booking transport from Suvarnabhumi International Airport to Pattaya.
A police escort from Thailand’s largest airport to one of its most popular seaside resorts costs 7,000 baht for a car and 6,000 baht for a motorcycle, she says in the video.
“I have never seen anything like this so I decided to try the service,” she explains.
Atchayon said the investigative team would determine whether such services were available to tourists.
In the video, the woman says she was surprised when a bespectacled man in a dark jacket and khaki trousers was waiting to greet her as she disembarked from her plane. The man led her to a fast-track line to get her passport stamped.
“I didn’t have to use the queue and [the process] just took five minutes,” she says in the video.
The man also picked up her luggage for her.
Just outside the arrival hall’s exit, a silver police car and a black-and-white police vehicle were parked, with two men in Thai police uniforms waiting for her, the tourist said.
She gave a 200 baht tip to a man wearing a vest with the words “Traffic Police” emblazoned on it.
One of the "officers" opened the door to the car to allow her to sit inside it.
The siren was used during the ride from the airport to Pattaya.
It took her only one hour to arrive at her hotel in the resort town. The drive – without a police siren – can often take up to three hours.
It is unclear when the tourist received such a welcome from Thailand’s finest, or men impersonating them.
Thailand has seen an influx of Chinese tourists since Beijing relaxed its zero Covid-19 policy on January 8.
Atchayon said on Saturday that special immigration treatment for ordinary tourists was prohibited.
Police escorts, he said, were available only for certain groups of people, including politicians and official guests.
Police escorts are also available for school trips to ensure safety reasons and for senior state officials who are in a rush, he added.
Unnecessary use of police escorts can affect road safety and further taint the reputation of Thai police.
“If the relevant laws and regulations were not followed, all those involved will be punished,” he said.