Thailand, also known as the land of smiles, along with every single one of its neighbors has a long, proud tradition of bribery. Unless there is a politicians or a police or army general in the family, then without ‘greasing the wheels’ a family won’t get far in Thailand. There would be no university education without bribing the director, since intelligence and hard work won’t get a person as far as a good family connection.
There won’t be a lifetime government job for a nice bribe (without ever a need to show up to work even once). Any male citizen of Thailand can even become a bona fide 4 star general in the Royal Thai army without ever going to bootcamp; or become an Ambassador to Mexico for a fat envelope of cash in the right hands.
That’s why this news item is especially distressing to Thai nationals, as bribery is the corner stone of the normal day to day life and carries a level of sacred trust. The Banglamung Police Station in the sex tourism capital of the world, Pattaya Thailand, broke that sacred trust.
According to online gambling news in Thailand, Kritsana Jongrak, 48, has been happily bribing the local police precinct for a decade, never missing a single bribe payment to the Banglamung Police. By western understand he had what you may call a ‘perfect credit report’. With such a flawless record, every single person in power in the entire country would be proud to accept bribes from such an exemplary briber.
In exchange for the bribes, the Thailand police allowed him to operate a small but very profitable underground casino in Thailand. Despite nearly every Thai national participating weekly in illegal gambling, the government forbids all forms of gambling besides lottery under the draconian Thai gambling laws.
Earlier this week, after delivering his perhaps 552nd weekly bribe envelope, he returning back to his Soi Khao Talo casino in Darapan Village only to be raided by the very police he just paid off an hour earlier.
Mr. Kritsana Jongrak was speechless as he and 19 Thai casino gamblers were arrested for illegal card and dice gambling and accepting bet on sports in Thailand.
What must have hurt most was the Thailand police use of the very same handcuffs on him that he special ordered for last Thai New Year as a value added bribe bonus. The Thai police confiscated the equivalent of over $15,000 US.
After a 30 minute interrogation, the now limping and shaking Thai illegal casino owner was taken to the traditional conference in front of reporters. Kritsana Jongrakadmitted admitted to running rummy card games, high-low card games, various dice games, and having $15,000 confiscated.
Prodded with a friendly smack on the back from one of the grinning police officers, the former casino owner quickly admitted that he is mistaken and his wife was the banker during the casino hours and police only confiscated $500 from his illegal casino.
The senior commissioned police officer lazily played with his hockey puck sized sparkling watch all the while sporting a painful looking ear-to-ear toothy grin. He slowly drawled that only one non-commissioned probationary officer may have been involved in possible misconduct and has already been transferred elsewhere.
The defendant faces between 0 and 5 years in prison, depending on pre-trial bribe negotiations between his attorney, the judge, the prosecutor and the precinct police commander. If the agreed upon amount is paid, the witness would become forgetful, pre-trial records would become lost, evidence would be tampered with, transcripts accidentally deleted and search warrant misfiled.
At the end of the media interview the arrested gamblers and the unlucky Thai casino owner are remanded and taken deeper into the foul bowls of the police precinct. The Thai media shuffles out bowing low in front of the grinning police precincts commander, all faces around frozen in the same head splitting grotesque and insincere toothy grin.
The media walk past the grinning street peddlers, shop owners, drug dealers, pimps and prostitutes lining up in a neat queue to deliver their weekly bribes. Another day is coming to a close in the mysterious land of smiles.