03 May 2010

Cat and Mouse Game with Cop

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The other day I went for a long walk on the local streets in order to get some long-needed exercise. During the Hot Season here, one tends to spend too much time indoors. I walked as far as I could before my feet got too hot – threatening blisters – then turned back. (I’m a tenderfoot.) Before going to the house, I headed to the local store to get ice and cold drinks.
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I must have looked a sight: drenched with sweat after my march, red-faced and wearing a bandana sweatband. But most around here are used to seeing the local neighborhood “farang” and his eccentric ways. “Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun.”
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As I was cruising the aisles of the store, I noticed a policeman in the store, one I’d never seen before. (Since Thailand’s recent Troubles escalated, there have been extra reinforcement cops stationed at our corner police station.) It hit me immediately: he was stalking me in order to bust me.
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Explanation: the laws on alcohol purchases in Thailand are byzantine. You can buy beer, wine and spirits only from 11am to 2pm (the time bracketing lunch hour) and then again from 5pm to midnight. Two legal windows in time.
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I knew that I had arrived at the store about 2:15pm and thus could not buy beer, but I wasn’t looking for beer because I already had some at home. I was at the cooler loading up on ice tea and soda. The cop was hiding behind an aisle watching me and hoping that I would try to buy some beer so he could bust me.
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He would try to settle it just between us, i.e., he would demand a bribe and had no intention of taking me in. Just like a farang being caught littering or for a traffic violation, he would ask for about 2000 Baht (US$62). He probably thought I was just a visiting farang unaware of the rules. He stood behind me, watching, as I unloaded my basket at checkout, and he disappeared when no alcohol was found. Sorry to disappoint him, as he most likely thought it was easy cash.
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-Zenwind.
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2 comments:

  1. Wouldn't the store owners get in trouble, if they rang up a beer purchase outside of the hours that it is legal to buy beer?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, they would get in trouble for it, but it is commonly done. “Illegality” is a concept here that only applies to getting caught.

    ReplyDelete