Akha Chronicles
Book 1: Maesai
Chapter 25: Police




Police were a constant hazard for the Akha and exploited their lack of identity and representation.

If you were a tourist in Thailand you could ignore the police for the most part, they were nice, they were pleasant, they left you alone.

But if you were Akha it was a whole different story.

Police at checkpoints could ask for whiskey and cigarette money, search your vehicle or motorbike and there was always the risk of drugs being planted, just a few pills.

Once captured or imprisoned there was little hope of getting out and sentences were long.

Many Akha were not wary that as a Akha they WOULD get worse handling than a Thai might get which should be just one more reason to be super careful.

The main checkpoints were places to be cautious but police boxes also had many bad exchanges with the Akha in their regions.

One really couldn't keep up with it all, and of course there were the endless drug raids in the villages, to grab this or that Akha, and one had a hard time knowing exactly all that was going on or the reasons for it.


The tourist policeman

Asks me not to speak of brothels to tourists

It was prajat, he asked, the guide complained.

So I happened to comment what was just down the street.  Guide didn't like that.


Prajat the tourist police man

said they donít know how to take knowledge, the akha


Beggars rounded up by police

One woman hiding behind truck, the police on other side

The Thai women kept motioning to her to keep down, that was the typhoid woman, till the police were gone. Their truck was just on the other side of the car, from where she was hiding, and they were on a big beggar sweep.  Finally they went away.


The Old Woman and Police

The old toothless beggar woman get up from where the police have all of her beggar friends sitting in front of the police station in Maesai and immediately hikes her dress up, pauses lon enough for the police to see her that she obviously needs to and is about to use the bathroom and then waddles half squatting, her dress still partially hiked up, around the corner of the building and right on out of sight.  I half laugh to myselof, Walking over to that corner of the building and there isnít any old Akha woman as far as the eye can see to the very outer edges of the parking lot behind the police station.  Old age.


Police smased little girl

I went into the afternoon market today and on the way back they brought me alittle child ai knew proably 3 or 4 at the most.  She had been hit and shoved forward and down so hard by aThai Policeman or ďdah nohĒ as the Akha say, that her nose was raked and also obviiously broken with swelling below the eyes quite prminenly.

Quite obviously some of the police not the nicest but they try.  Smashing  little kids oare we?

The girl I took to the hospital in Chiangrai had abdominal TB.  I give her follow up shots every day. 

Her name is Anna.

The soviet Union has dismantled.


Police, wife, checkpoint

There is a plice checpoint 1/2 way between maesai and the golden triangle.  Each time I pass there on motorcycle I get stopped and searched right dow to locating my money.  My friend is burmes.  On one occasion I took her to see the triangle.  I had forgotten about th 5 kim limit for Burmese people.  On arriving at this check po8int she was taken into custody, even though I explained it was my mistake and said I would return with her to Mae Sai.  Not good enough.  She was going to prison at Chiang Rai.  I realized what demon's from hell I was dealing with.  Gosh.  Fjinally the offered to let her go for 3,000 baht between jokes about her trip to chiang rai.  Unfortunately I hadn't pocketed money for ransom fees.  So they kindly  offered to look after her while  I returned to Mae sai and my bank.  My friend was terrified. Welcome to the real world.

Unfortunately there is neither compensation to tourists for this kind of behaviort on the part of thailands police nor does there appear to be any ethic impose on the police in the first place.  Beyond those incidents I could point out scores of cases where cops in Thailand are engaged in harrassment, intimidation , extortion, prostitution and the beating of children.

Only when punishmnent of cops is comparable to the pwer and potential for abuse given the position will the evil end.  ??? Dismisal is not sufficient.  How about public flogging?  By victims?


The Cop

There was this one cop, and he was always having a hard time of it. He used to chase the beggar kids, hit them and stuff, then got video taped by someone and that got reported and stopped. 

Then he was involved in the strip joint near the river, but that closed too.

He asked me a few times for money, I never gave him any.

One time he caught a tourist from Michigan doing heroin in his room at the Maesai Plaza Guest House and he called me up to help cut the deal.

I asked him how much he wanted, 10,000 baht he said.  The man sent it to my bank account but the cop got called away and the man had to leave town to catch his flight back to the US so he got away and never lost a dime.

The cop never mentioned it again either.

Once we had to go together to an Akha village to sort out a problem over a theft by a foreigner of an Akha head dress. 

On the way the cop had to stop at a brothel where he made a little wheeling and dealing about one girl that a man from Singapore had taken a fancy too.

Ah yes, all is for sale, and some people make it easy.

I hadn't seen him much of late, even cops change, maybe him too.


Police At Nimit's

Sure they used heroin, they were there all the tim.

Sometimes they didn't even bring their guns in their holsters, sometimes they played with them, you just didn't know what they were going to do.


The police try hard

This is what you have to say about corrupt police to be indirect


Thai police, highway robbers of akha

also a problem, planting drugs, beatings, etc


The Death Of Ah Pah Rgoeuh Zuuh Gooh


The drunk motorcycle driver hits our car


Ah Zeeh is busted, the Thais are not, Flat Village


Ah Pah Rgoeuh Zurh Gooh of Mae Salep Is Murdered


The police beg off on the beating of Ah Peeh of Soi Yah Kah, Haen Taek


Mr. Ah Bpah

He lived in Mae Salep, in the Christian part of the village, out of the village, no protection, and the police took him and beat him because his daughter was married to a foreigner, this really slow guy from Germany who was Polish.  Not very clever, and Mr. Ah Bpah died and the police dumped him on the road and I found the body when I came down the mountain from Sam Yak a few minutes later. I got a look at the Autopsy, and the doctor was the same as my wife's doctor and he couldn't lie to me about it, said that he died from a skull fracture and brain hemorage, back low end of the skull, right over the brain stem.  After they loaded him in the truck to take him away he told his wife that he thought he was dying, and he died in about five minutes from that time.


Aug 13, Monday 2001



Prison Death

More prison deaths of drug users, suspected runners, etc.


The prison

The chiangrai prison was enormous, nearly a kilometer to the side.

Many inmats were taken to the court every morning around 10 am.  Many of these inmates were Akha.  They were often arrested under dubious conditions and treated harshly or beaten.  Sometimes they were severely beaten.  Savagely. 

They did not get very good representation if any at all.  There did not appear to be much oversight of the process.


Therd Thai Killing

Therd Thai village the police kill Lahu headman, chopping him with knives. Check this out.




Have a comment or question? Like to know more? Send me an email at akha@akha.org
Copyright 2004, by Matthew McDaniel