The era of the independent (and politicized) Thai police is over

From Post Today, July 18, 2014
Title: Police in the NCPO era.

[The cartoon shows that, under the National Council for Peace and Order (NPCO), the police force plays a subservient role to the military. The military has forced the police to tackle problems of crime that were ignored previously under political influence. With military promises to dismantle and decentralize the command structure of the police, the dream that the Royal Thai Police could have the status and power to rival the military is dying.

Update: Many have asked “when did the police ever rival the military?”

The answer is the mid-twentieth century: Gen. Phao’s police. Phao was branded “the worst man in the whole history of modern Thailand.” Phao’s police force was known for indiscriminate murder and mass drug dealing summed up in his famous declaration, “there is nothing under the sun that the Thai police cannot do.”

Thaksin signaled he would mimic Phao’s ruthlessness by using the quote in his speech launching the “war on drugs” on January 14, 2003. This war saw thousands of suspected drug dealers murdered, often on their way to police stations to answer police summons.

Interestingly, the Pibul dictatorship, under which Gen. Phao served, attempted to monopolize the rice trade with its own payment scheme, and just like the Shinawatras, severely disrupted the rice industry and lost Thailand its leadership of the world rice market.

Thaksin’s rise to power gave hope that the police could again rival the army as political muscle. With the police reporting directly to the Prime Minister’s office instead of the interior ministry as in the past, this perhaps signaled that the police force could be used to support the aspirations of a single political party and have its top ranks populated by Shinawatra family members and political cronies.]

Update, 2015: Junta reverses course: No reform of the Royal Thai Police

2Bangkok.com Editor Ron Morris’ book, The Thai Book: A Field Guide to Thai Political Motivations, is available in the Kindle Store.

This entry was posted in Analysis, Editorial Cartoons, Thai Police, The Thaksin Years. Bookmark the permalink.

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