Wannabe-cops cash in on police checkpoint mania

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Law enforcement’s recent passion for road checkpoints may be taking a bite out of crime, but it’s also giving unethical officers more opportunities to line their own pockets.

An example of that was witnessed on the railway road in Nongyai June 23, where 2 traffic volunteers and one non-commissioned traffic-police were randomly stopping motorbikes and shaking down drivers for fines.

The two men on the left are traffic volunteers and the real NCO-traffic policeman is on the right at this illegal and hazardous checkpoint. The two men on the left are traffic volunteers and the real NCO-traffic policeman is on the right at this illegal and hazardous checkpoint.

The area near the Pattaya train station under the Highway No. 7 overpass is an unlikely place for any official police action, which is perhaps why the two traffic volunteers “assisting” the non commissioned officer traffic cop were hiding in the bushes before jumping out in front of moving vehicles to stop them for alleged offenses. Most drivers were not amused, shouting at the wannabe-police for nearly causing accidents and running an illegal stop-and-search operation.

Those who complained too much were allowed to go, but the unofficial officers still managed to glean payouts from meeker drivers.

Unlike sworn officers, traffic volunteers undergo no real background check, are unpaid unless called upon to assist city hall, are not supposed to dress in official police uniforms and cannot operate checkpoints. Their uniforms are similar to that of the traffic police, except that they wear patches saying “Traffic Volunteers”.

As such, the Nongyai checkpoint clearly was illegal. According to police regulations, all official law enforcement checkpoints must be manned by a commissioned officer, be marked well in advance and affect only one lane of traffic. The Nongyai trap was unmarked, unmanned by real officers and nabbed drivers in all directions.