After a long rest and recovery beer we decide to hit the streets on Bangkok. As we walk through the huge marble lobby of the Hotel my pal decides to have a smoke! She smoked a very popular brand of american cigs, let's call them larlborough mights!
We stand outside in the sticky air and take in the sights as my pal takes in a long draw on her smoke! I didn't smoke but eventually took it up and am now a recovering smokaholic!
Anyway, she didn't like walking and smoking so after she finished she put her pack of smokes in her fanny pack or bun bag as we call them and off we went to tackle the streets of Bangkok!
The second we hit the pavement we were bombarded with offers from street venders offering Birks at $3 and 5 bandanas for $2! It was great, we sauntered along for about 20 minutes not a bother, buying nick nacks, shoes, and fake designer t-shirts, stuff like that.
The Thai traders were lovely, friendly people with smiles for everyone!
Now we, being two Irish muppets were flashing the cash all over the place, we were a little naive about the whole Experience, that is until we were approached by a policeman!
We were standing next to a street trader, my pal was buying bandannas! There was banter going on between us as my friend was choosing her Colours!
I spotted a police officer saunter over to us! The vender got nervous and took the money quickly! Banter stopped!
The cop hands me a little piece of card, it was laminated and had the following on it!
LITTERING IS OFFENCE
No smoking for tourist on Bangkok
Then a whole load of Thai writing, I assume legislation cause there was lots of 1.3 3.6(3) stuff like that!
Needless to say I was confused! I was looking at the page like it was going to start taking to me when my pal turned and said "what's going on" this is the conversation as it happened-
Me- I don't understand we didn't litter
Cop- (in a very authoritarian voice, after all we are just two young women) litter.... Fine dollar 2000
Pal- sorry, I thought you said fine $2000 / she's laughing
Cop- You litter, American, dollar $2000
Me- you've got to be kidding, what did we litter, the place is manky, show me what we added to this....( I'm pointing at the crap all over the streets, Bangkok was not the cleanest city I've been to)
Cop- you litter - he is now waving his little sheet of paper around wildly and shouting at us!
Me- ok show me (I'm getting nervous as he's going kamanshi and I've a feeling he loosing patience! My pal is now white and has turned mute.
Cop- you smoke, you throw away! Smoke! Throw! Still waving wildly and drawing more attention to us! I look around for some help, everyone's ignoring us! Typical!
Me- listen mr policeman show me the smoke I threw away and I will pay your fee! (I'm loosing patience and know this has to be a corrupt mother f@&ker.
Cop- here! Here (he is tearing at my pals bunbag, opening it and grabbing her smokes! (he thinks he's triumphant)
Me- listen here you shady prick, she hasnt smoked since the hotel, I don't even smoke, I'm not putting up with this shite! I want a translator. (I'm irate now, my pal is still mute, I drag her back toward the hotel, thankfully it's not far as we were stoping at all the stalls)
Cop- 2000 batt! Ok ok 2000 batt! He picks up a random butt of the ground, and waves it at us!
Me- give me that (I look. It's some Thai brand) that's not even her brand! I'm walking off now not even entertaining this cabbage!
Cop- 500batt ( he's bending down and picking up every butt he sees)
Me- NO, you twisted prick! (I'm now in a power walk dragging my pal) The Cop is now blowing a whistle!
Cop- here here I find you smoke ( he's waving a filthy butt of a narlborough might ) 200batt only 200 batt. We are all in a jog now and I'm terrified! I see the hotel and take off in a sprint!
We run through the lobby with police in tow! I'm sweating like a dyslexic on countdown! All I can think about is Bangkok Hilton! And me not even a smoker, I know my pal wouldn't last five minutes so I'm going to have to go down for her!
As we pound our way to the desk the anger gets the better of me! And I start screaming for a translator. One of the staff immediately ushers us all out of sight into a board room! I'm so out of breath but start to shout that I want translator and someone from the embassy!
The manager arrived !
The cop and the manager get into some talks in Thai... The room goes silent! Then the manager asks me why I bring all these police into hotel!
I explain the story, how we didn't smoke out on the street, how he said we owe him $2000 then kept reducing it! How he had to search the streets for the butt which wasn't ours! She looked at the cop, he went bright red and looked at all the other cops who now started filtering out of the room.
I had obviously been watching to much csi as I requested that the filthy ancient butt be tested against our DNA.. She informed me that unlike our country in Thailand one is guilty until proven innocent and one would have to stay in prison until DNA was tested with could be months!
I asked to speak to someone from
The Irish embassy. I was informed that the Irish do not have an embassy but the UK represent us! I'd rather be put in prison. Not very PC but let's face it could be there for ever waiting for another country to rescue me!..
That was it, I thought it was all over, I thought, right, I'm going to prison! No point in whining about it! So I just had one thing to say.....,
"right well this is an appalling way to treat a visitor, a cop telling someone who doesn't even smoke that they have littered! Then demanding $2000 dollars for a fine, then 500 batt down to 20 batt, that's like €20.00 how can this be right, I wasnt aware that fines were negotiable, I feel sorry for the fools that pay $2000 out of fear. I won't be recommending Bangkok as a travel destination to anyone.
The cop was really red, the manager was mortified and my pal was still impersonating a mute!
The cop and manager got into a debate in Thai for a couple of minutes while I gave out to my mute friend for being a smoker!
The manager then turned to me and told me that if I paid the fine of 200 batt the whole thing would be over!
I said No! I'm not giving in to that prick! The cop wouldn't even look at me! I said I'm not admitting to committing an offense I didn't even do!
There was more talk between them! The manager turned and said she would pay it on my behalf!
I went mad! I started calling the cop corrupt and shouted that he should be ashamed of himself! He still wasn't making eye contact!
The manager relayed this to him in Thai! He spoke to the manager who told us that some sort of a fine would have to be paid as his supervisor had been informed of the situation!
So I said "I have to pay a fine so you don't get in trouble for trying to extort money out of tourists"!
The manager was really frustrated! She said its either pay 200 batt or of to a cell! My pal started to cry! The cop was practically looking at the floor! You could cut the air with a knife!
"what if I take the fine in my name and you give me the 200 batt" said the manager, my pal was now bawling!
I reluctantly said yes! The money was handed over, a receipt obtained in the name of the manager and the cop scurried away, the manager informed us that in her history of managing the hotel no person had ever brought police to the hotel! I was mortified! We left the room, heads hanging in shame and went directly to our room!
When I walked into the room my pal piped up "Jesus that was a bit unnerving wasn't it" .....
I fell onto the bed and burst into tears swearing I would never step outside the door of the hotel again! I lay there crying for about 10 minutes before I asked my pal for a smoke and a beer to calm my nerves!
What a crappy day!