SATURDAY, February 24, 2024

No evidence to confirm presence of secret Chinese police stations in Thailand, security agencies say

No evidence to confirm presence of secret Chinese police stations in Thailand, security agencies say

Relevant security agencies have found no sign of Chinese police hunting down dissidents and crime syndicates in Bangkok’s “Chinatowns”, a source said.

A source from one of the agencies told The Nation on Sunday that security personnel recently checked the Yaowarat and Huay Kwang areas for “secret Chinese police stations” but did not detect any.

Rumour has it that China has deployed its police force to work undercover in groups of four or five in the Yaowarat and Huay Kwang areas.

Reports said that these police officers were disguised as embassy officials in charge of taking care of Chinese tourists who needed help with documents, like driving licences.

It was alleged that Chinese police were secretly trying to trace members of Chinese syndicates preying on their countrymen, and hunting down dissidents to send them back to China.

The source said random checks were conducted in both areas, which are popular with Chinese tourists, but no secret police posts were detected.

“But we can’t confirm that there are no secret Chinese police posts here,” the source said.

“These officers may have come in disguise somehow to carry out secret operations with consent from certain local agencies.”

Rumours about secret Chinese police posts came after the Tourism Authority of Thailand floated the idea of letting Chinese police patrol areas frequented by Chinese tourists to boost their confidence.

The idea was put forward after TAT found that even offering free visas had failed to bring back Chinese tourists as expected.

Tourism experts believe many of them may be reluctant to visit the kingdom because they are concerned about Chinese syndicates operating in Thailand.

The experts said their fear may have been further amplified by the Chinese crime thriller “No More Beats”, which tells the story of a group of people being lured to Thailand with the promise of highly paid jobs, to only be forced into a scam ring to defraud people online.

Recently, government spokesman Chai Wacharonke admitted that Chinese tourists may be afraid of syndicates operating here and may feel that police officers from their own country could help ensure their safety.

The source, however, said it would be difficult to let foreign police join patrols because it would require legal clearance at several steps.

The source added that Chinese police could cooperate with Thai police via Interpol on a case-by-case basis to identify certain criminals. Otherwise, Chinese police could provide information to Thai police to help locate members of crime syndicates, the source added.