I would stress that my options in this letter are purely my own. It was with some surprise and regret I read the recent statement by Kim Kiver, head of National Investigations centres of the Danish police, with reference to bikers in Thailand. He stated in the newspaper Politiken, “Motorcycle gangs can forget setting up their criminal activities in Thailand. There are no motorcycle gangs in Thailand as far as I know; however, there are some 500 MC’s or motorcycle clubs ranging from young rider classic clubs up to the full on Harley Davidson clubs.”
Mr. Kiver appears to emulate the position of a new sheriff in town determined to clean up society and get rid of the bad guys. It would appear that the MC’s he has in his sights are the Hells Angels and Bandidos. Firstly the Bandidos have to think back some 10 years to recall setting up in Thailand. With chapters in Chiang Mai, Kamphangphet, Pattaya and Chumphon, they are principally a Thai club by membership. I have always found them to be polite, intelligent and fully integrated into the Thailand biker community. The Hells Angels have indeed set up a chapter this year but have been coming here for years and it may surprise or even dismay Mr Kiver to learn that here in Thailand the two clubs appear to co -exist rather well.
I doubt Mr Kiver attended or even knows of the superb Burapha Pattaya Bike week festival in Feb. Over 2 days some 50,000 people attended this festival which included both Bandidos and Hells Angels and I can report that Burapha MC the organisers reported not one single case of violence or bad behaviour. This celebration involved some 26 different countries attending and bikers from all over SE Asia rode to Pattaya to attend. It was a festival of peace designed to bring together bikers of different nations, races and creeds. It was the 15th such festival and achieved its aims quite brilliantly and can be considered a credit to the biker community, to Pattaya and indeed Thailand. The event is also attended by dignitaries from various countries.
Bikers in Thailand are proud of the integration of foreigners and Thais within their numbers and also the integration of members from differing countries. Riding is the name of the game and Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos and now even Burma have opened their doors to bikers from Thailand who further spread the message of camaraderie and peace.
Thailand is not like Europe and America. It has some of the best riding in the world and a good free feeling about it. Bikers like it and don’t want to lose or screw around with what they have. The bike scene is no more than fifteen years old but has developed in this peaceful way and I feel their is a respect and desire to keep things as they are, by every biker that comes here to settle. Some “Lone Ranger” figure from Denmark with his warmongering approach is not needed here. I am sure the Thai police are perfectly capable of taking care of business where necessary. The biker clubs themselves can police within their ranks quite adequately if need be.
Let us not forget that Thailand has the Siam Union of Motorcycle clubs which also keeps an overall eye on things. Finally, it is dangerous to judge the book by the cover, to stereotype people who have a different lifestyle. Bikers don’t brag about their charity work they just quietly get on with it. If Mr Kiver wants to raise his game from National to International Crime Investigator may I suggest taking a good look at white collar crime in Thailand where I am sure he will soon find some big fish basking in the shallows!