Michael A. Sisti

Author, Lecturer, Consultant


Thailand’s Criminal Justice System

We previously related the extortion caper with the taxi driver, but this one is even better. Being aware that even good driving gets punished in this country, Tom was especially careful to stay well within the bounds of the traffic rules. It was like he was taking his driving test all over again.

We were cruising along the coast, taking in the sights. Tom stopped the car so I could jump out and snap a couple of photos near the water. I got back in the car, and less than a block later, we were pulled over at a roadside traffic stop. The polite police officer pointed out that my seat belt was not fastened. He showed me a piece of paper on his clipboard with handwritten scribbles and pointed to the number 500. Knowing the drill, I reached in my pocket to retrieve a 500 baht note ($15), but Tom said to the constable, “500 bahts? How about 200?” Not knowing if he understood the American sense of humor, I couldn’t tell whether the officer was going to laugh or pull his weapon. Fortunately, he started laughing, took the 500 baht note, and slipped it under his clipboard. I then asked for a receipt. “No receipt for you.” “OK. Can I take your picture?” He shook his head, obviously running out of patience. He then gave us a salute and waved us on. As we drove away, we returned the favor and gave him a salute.middle-finger_11

The $15 photo was worth it.


About Michael Sisti

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