In two separate cases in just over two weeks Phuket police officers have shown what they can do far better than their counterparts on other main tourist destination islands in the country.
First, Chalong Police tracked down and arrested a man for raping a British tourist after the couple had met in a bar and the man took the woman back to his room – and by his own confession had sex with her while she was not conscious. Silence is not consent, and our police officers quickly – and quietly – had him in custody on the same day the rape was brought to their attention.
This past week the Tha Chatchai Police revealed their prowess in old-fashioned police work by tracking down a murder fugitive and having him arrested more than 700 kilometres away nearly two weeks after the manhunt began.
The rape of a tourist and the heinous crime of stabbing a 55-year-old local woman to death in the street were both treated seriously and the perpetrators brought to justice as timely as anyone could hope for.
If the government is looking to restore tourists’ faith in travelling to Thailand, this type of police work goes a long way toward doing that. Tourist havens around the world attract more than their fair share of undesirables, and Phuket is no exception. It’s what we do about them that counts.
Make no mistake, we are not kidding ourselves that the officers involved in these two specific cases are representative of the greater Phuket police force as a whole. Police anywhere have trouble upholding a good reputation because of a few bad apples. In some places there are more bad apples than others, pretty much working the barrel into cider.
It’s no secret that good police on this island have their fair share of issues to deal with, mainly related to cash and their not-so-clean counterparts, usually involved in petty shakedowns of tourists – an aspect that would be best dealt with seriously in the age of social media, where it doesn’t matter how much top-ranking officers decline to comment on the matter.
But we are giving the officers involved in these two specific cases a gold star for doing what’s right, and doing it well.