Corrupt police may be selling Doraemon stickers to foreign vendors as street protection, according the Bangkok Post.
Vendors pushing fruit, ice cream and other carts featuring sticker images of Japanese manga cartoon character Doraemon may have purchased insurance from corrupt officers. The “insurance” allows them to sell and know they will not be arrested for either illegal vending nor their illegal status in the country.
Authorities call them “suai stickers” and believe they are a recent criminal tool. With this new intelligence, they’re cracking down on illegal foreign street vendors and investigating the possible practice of corrupt officers using the stickers to protect the illegal vendors in exchange for bribe money.
“Suai” in Thai means “kickbacks,” or, money that illegal foreign vendors are giving to police as protection in this context.
Some of the vendors, who are mostly from Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam and speak Thai well, told labor officials that they were forced to purchase the Doraemon stickers for between THB300-500 each.
They allegedly had to pay for the stickers, which they display on their carts, and then pay again each month, sometimes as much as THB1000 each. According to the vendors, the officers were even brazen enough to sometimes show up in their police uniforms to collect the funds.
The Department of Employment is assisting in the search for illegal foreign vendors who, they say, are heavily concentrated in the Huai Khwang, Ratchathewi, Saphan Kwai and National Stadium areas.
According to Surasak Kaisit, chief of the foreign worker inspection section,there is concern that the actions of the vendors are illegal, but also that they are taking away jobs that could be done by Thais in need of work.
According to the department, approximately 1.5 million foreign workers are registered with authorities.