Bangkok Post - - 7 DAYS -

Gang vi­o­lence

As a party of In­dian tourists left a Pratu­nam restau­rant and waited for a coach last Sun­day evening, mem­bers of ri­val gangs spilled out of the next-door pool hall — guns blaz­ing. The In­dian vis­i­tors and oth­ers were caught in the cross­fire in­clud­ing pos­si­bly even an AK-47. One of the In­dian tourists, 41-year-old Dheeraj Gakhreja, was shot and killed on the spot. An­other In­dian, a Lao and two Thais were hit, but not fa­tally. The un­prece­dented dis­play of blaz­ing guns is still some­what mys­te­ri­ous. The cause of the sud­den bat­tle is yet to be re­vealed. At press time, po­lice had nine of the youths and men in cus­tody, with war­rants for an­other 18. At least one of the gangs ap­pears to be from the south­ern prov­ince of Chumphon — a se­ri­ous way-stop on the meth-heroin-ice drug smug­gling train, if that even means any­thing.


The di­rec­tor of a tam­bon school in Phayao man­aged to demon­strate pretty well ev­ery sys­temic prob­lem in one great ex­am­ple. Ban Dong School of Dok Kham Tai district has an 8th grader who is autis­tic. While teach­ers left pupils un­su­per­vised, a star­tling num­ber of her class­mates beat the crap out of her, stomped on her face — cap­tured, be­cause it is 2018 even in Phayao — on mo­bile phone video. Teach­ers and school di­rec­tor Nan­thapol Fus­rikul served no lessons on autism, be­fore or af­ter, and went straight to cover-up mode. From the eight iden­ti­fied bul­lies’ par­ents, they gath­ered 500 baht each and of­fered the bribe to the hor­ri­fied vic­tim’s par­ents to hush it all up. That was the sub­ject in Ban Dong School classes last week, that bribery and pay­offs are the way to go.

Sen­si­tive ears

Life teaches that most hu­man ac­tions have two kinds of con­se­quences. There is the pre­dictable kind, such as if you com­plain in a Bud­dhist coun­try about the monks ring­ing tem­ple bells too early in the morn­ing for your sen­si­tive ears, so­cial me­dia is go­ing to be on your case like white on rice. There also are un­pre­dictable con­se­quences, such as who could know in ad­vance that such a com­plaint would blow a fuse of the brand new (act­ing) com­mis­sioner of the Im­mi­gra­tion Bureau Po­lice? And you might not like Pol Maj Gen (soon to be Lt Gen) ‘Big Joke’ Hak­parn when he’s ticked off. He or­dered a full shake­down of the en­tire two-tower Star View Rama 3. He im­me­di­ately found a Korean crim­i­nal fugi­tive and did a metic­u­lous “pa­pers, please” on res­i­dents, renters and build­ing own­ers, with lots of ticky-tack charges, fines and sud­den visa prob­lems un­cov­ered.

Queue break­ers

In yet an­other twofer by Pol Maj Gen (soon to be three-star) Big Joke, he busted the Visa On Ar­rival scam at Don Mueang air­port. It was pretty sim­ple, re­ally. When there was a long line of ar­riv­ing Chi­nese or In­di­ans, flunkies of the im­mi­gra­tion visa-stam­pers in­formed them that for just 200 baht more, they could skip the line, save an hour or three and head to town. Like all ex­cel­lent cor­rup­tion plots, it seemed a mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial deal, and 200 baht a head adds up very quickly. There now are “no tip­ping” signs at all VOA air­port desks.

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