Pol Lt Col Jeerasit Noopayan, Chief of Chalong Traffic Police, told The Phuket News that the incident had been investigated and that he had called the German tourist who made the allegation through a video posted online late last month.
The German man in his public explanation of the incident said he was stopped by a policeman immediately after he exited the underpass as he was riding to visit the Big Buddha viewpoint on Feb 20.
The officer explained that it was illegal to ride a motorbike through the underpass. The officer ignored the German tourist’s protests that he saw no traffic sign informing motorists that it was illegal to ride a motorbike through the tunnel.
The officer then asked the tourist to pay B5,000 as the fine.
The German explained that he did not have that much money on him at the time. The officer then asked for B2,000 instead, which could be paid there by the side of the road. The German man agreed.
“We have already asked the German man about this case. The German man admitted that he was riding through the underpass and the police stopped him,” said Lt Col Jeerasit.
“He did not come to the police station. It was just a phone call. He did not mention the arrest and fine,” he added.
According to Lt Col Jeerasit, when he spoke with the German man, the tourist was only concerned with the lack of signage warning people that it is illegal to ride a motorbike through the underpass.
Lt Col Jeerasit was so adamant on this point that he repeated four times when speaking with The Phuket News yesterday (Mar 8).
“He did not mention the arrest. His concern was only about the prohibition sign that cannot be seen anywhere near the underpass,” Lt Col Jeerasit kept repeating.
Incredibly, Lt Col Jeerasit pointed out that although the German man was recorded in the video posted online, the German man did not post the video online himself, and did not give a translation of his own words recounting the incident, which the German explained in German.
“The person who recorded the video used Google Translate to communicate with him, which can cause some misunderstanding,” Lt Col Jeerasit said, without acknowledging that he himself had spoken to the German man.
“He was not the one who recorded the video and he did not intend to say that the police practiced against the law. He just wants to say that there was no sign prohibiting motorcycles from going through the underpass. The man was not even the person who posted the video,” Lt Col Jeerasit said.
Lt Col Jeerasit did not mention whether or not he actually spoke with the officer involved in the incident.
“We have already checked and there is no record of the arrest of the German man on that day… He did not say where exactly the incident happened [on the phone]. He said he went through an underpass and he did not say which underpass. He only said he was going to the Big Buddha Temple. It is possible that it was the Chalong Underpass, but he did not confirm,” Lt Col Jeerasit told The Phuket News.
Lt Col Jeerasit noted that the offence of going through an underpass with a prohibited vehicle such as a motorcycle incurs a fine of B500.
The Phuket News reminds all motorists that it is illegal to ride a motorbike through any of the five underpasses on the island.
JohnC | 10 March 2023 - 09:13:34