Embarrassed Thai police vow to probe Chinese tourist’s ‘VIP police escort’

Images: Choudan / TikTok
Images: Choudan / TikTok

The national police have convened a committee to investigate a Chinese traveler’s tale of how easy and convenient it was to get an airport “VIP escort” courtesy of, yes, the national police.

Three cops have already been reassigned after they were seen in the woman’s breathless video recounting how she easily skipped immigration and got a paid police escort all the way to Pattaya that drew outrage over the weekend. Police spokesperson Atchayon Kraithong said police would investigate and warned officers they would be disciplined for providing such services.

He said that the Royal Thai Police, which oversees everything from patrol officers and tourist police to the Immigration Bureau, would get to the bottom of it all, including those who coordinated the service and whether they used public or government-owned vehicles.

That could take them to unlikely heights far up the food chain, however. One of the suspended cops, tourist police Lt. Col. Somphon Phinyosamosorn said the escort was coordinated by none other than the Prime Minister’s Office. The office has not publicly commented on the allegation.

The other two cops “transferred to inactive posts,” a euphemism for an administrative slap on the wrist, were inspectors Thanakorn Nukulthanakit and Thanawat Simakchonboon. The cops said they used their own private vehicles.

The scandal comes amid public concern over expanding scandals involving the influence exerted by wealthy Chinese nationals on venal Thai authorities.

In recent weeks, the police and senior officials have been implicated in selling visas to thousands of mainland travelers to live in Thailand, turning a blind eye to illegal Chinese-owned nightlife venues, and protecting well-connected crime figures.

After several years, Chinese tourists began arriving to Thailand again just two weeks ago after Beijing reversed its zero-COVID lockdown policies.

In the video posted to China’s TikTok under the account Choudan (Stinky Egg), the unidentified woman detailed her VVIP experience to her large following as if it was another travel tip video.  Her profile says she is 21; she appears to have 6.3 million followers.

Indeed, the internet is rife with advertisements for “airport VIP escort” services, but none readily mentions police involvement. 

The woman said in the video that she had inquired with an agency about getting a ride from the airport, when she was asked if she would like to book a VIP police motorcycle escort. She said officers were awaiting her when she got off the plane and whisked her through immigration in five minutes.

The video shows her and her travel companions getting help with her luggage and the police motorcycle escort.

She said that everything, including the police ride 122 kilometers away to Pattaya, only cost her THB13,000 (THB6,000 for a motorcycle cop and THB7,000 for a police car). She also gave the cops a THB200 tip and said the trip took only one hour when it could have been three.

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