Pattaya police again were put on the defensive after a transgender woman randomly stopped and asked to take a drug test posted a video of the encounter online.
The video shared on Facebook by user “Kungkang Tiffany” quickly went viral, attracting dozens of comments criticizing police for gender-profiling transgenders.
“Out of nowhere, a cop followed me and asked me to do a urine test. I’m confused,” Kungkang wrote in the caption on the 10-minute video shot May 5 on a small street near Bangkok Hospital Pattaya.
In it, Pol. Cap. Nopadol Intasorn accused Kungkang of acting suspiciously and driving a motorbike – a Honda MSX – that frequently is stolen. Nopadol asked to search Kungkang and have her submit to a urine test for drugs. She refused and argued and eventually was set free to go.
On May 8, Nopadol spoke to the media to defend his actions, insisting he was “only doing his job” when he stopped the transgender woman and requested a drug test.
He claimed Kungkang, upon seeing him on patrol, tried to change routes to avoid being stopped, which raised suspicion. Another transgender woman was riding pillion on the Honda and fully cooperated.
Kungkang, however, balked at being taken to a nearby police box to do the urine test, telling the officer if he wanted one, it would be done there on the spot. She said she had a normal, steady job and the officer was making her late.
The officer instead suggested using a restroom at a nearby restaurant, but the eatery had no toilets.
Rather than continue the argument, Nopadol let the two go without charge.
Nopadol confirmed that the two women were upstanding citizens and had good jobs, so he dropped his claims of them being suspicious.
The officer continued, however, to maintain he was “just doing his job” and asked anyone stopped by police to cooperate when asked to take a urine test.
Random stop-and-searches and drug testing, however, is not allowed under Thai law and officers must present credible evidence to back up their probable cause and any testing must be done at a proper police station. Both Thais and foreigners are completely within their rights not to submit to searches that do not meet those requirements.
The incident marks the second time in less than a month Pattaya police have been accused of profiling transgender women with embarrassing results.
On April 21, a Bangkok woman filed charges against a police officer and volunteers who allegedly stopped them for no reason and, when they did not cooperate, allegedly assaulted them on Pattaya Beach.