Roger Crutchley has been a long time columnist satirical columnist for the Bangkok Post. The following is his column in Sunday's (10 June) paper.
Breaking news: Pattaya to be 'livable' Published: 10/06/2018 at 04:25 AM
Most encouraging news of the week came on Wednesday when authorities announced a crackdown on crime in Pattaya which will finally make the city "livable". The somewhat quaintly named "Operation rooting out crime for a livable city" is admittedly a bit of a mouthful and we can only wish the boys in brown the best of luck. I mean, where do they start?
It has a sort of "mission impossible" feel to it except there's no Tom Cruise to do the dirty work.
There have, of course, been periodic crackdowns of a similar nature in the past. The best-known in recent years came in 2014 when the Ministry of Wishful Thinking announced plans to transform "Sin City" into a family-oriented paradise.
Its main target appeared to be to rid the streets of transexuals following complaints from tourists who related unfortunate experiences back at the hotel when they discovered their new friend, Miss Noi, was actually Mister Noi. Impressive numbers of Mister Nois were duly rounded up. But after a small fine, they were quickly back out on the streets using their unique charms on the passing parade of tourists.
Few will forget the "Raid of the Year" in 2016 when a Pattaya police swoop netted 32 elderly ex-pats for the heinous crime of playing bridge. Among those regarded as a threat to society was an 84-year-old Dutch woman with a walking stick.
After that Pattaya citizens could sleep content in the knowledge their streets were safe again.
But the vigilant boys in brown were at it again earlier this year with lightning raids on pubs which had brazenly allowed darts to be played on their premises. The offending dartboards were duly confiscated until publicans could produce a hitherto unheard of "dartboard licence".
See no evil
Among the list of crimes that were to be cracked down upon this week, there was no mention of "ladies of the night". This may possibly be the result of a proclamation last year by a senior Pattaya policemen denying any prostitution existed in the resort.
He must have been using the same optician as the female cabinet member who in 1999 was dispatched for an in-depth survey of what attracted people to Pattaya.
When she gave her report a few weeks later, with a commendable straight face she announced there was absolutely no sign of a sex industry in Pattaya. Mission accomplished.
My favourite Pattaya crackdown occurred in 2015 and it was one of those stories that sporadically appear in Thailand that prompts you to check the date to make sure it isn't April 1.
In a specially coordinated raid, a crack police squad seized hundreds of bars of "rude soap" from two shops. The soap was shaped to look like … well, you don't really need a wild imagination to work that out. Considering what goes on in Pattaya on a daily basis, this raid had a bit of the "tip of the iceberg" feel about it as police seized this naughty soap. Many observers admitted they didn't think the constabulary would take "cleaning up" Pattaya quite so literally.
Law and disorder
One of the most memorable crackdowns came in 1997 when a taskforce of elite policemen from Bangkok were dispatched to Pattaya to "really sort things out".
Their task was to snuff out all forms of crookery.
Things did not go entirely to plan. In one incident, a diligent detective took a lady back to his hotel to interrogate her on matters of law. It will come as no surprise that when he awoke the following morning, his lady friend had disappeared along with his wallet, gun, phone and car.
In the same swoop, another officer, allegedly a little the worse for wear, managed to crash his new BMW into the back of a vehicle waiting at the lights, sparking a spectacular 10-vehicle collision.
Well, they were told to make their presence felt.
There was a similar purge on the Pattaya underworld back in 1990 when the authorities ordered all bars, nightclubs and entertainment venues to close by midnight. This proved a fascinating exercise because in those days half the places didn't even start operating until that time of night. This did not go down well with bar owners and customers who didn't fancy turning into pumpkins at the witching hour.
But there is always room for flexibility in Thailand and after a few days of silliness it was agreed that businesses could remain open after hours if they could "prove they were promoting tourism" -- whatever that was supposed to mean. Suffice to say, after a few "negotiations" things were swiftly back to normal.
Walking Street Summit
It's a pity they did not decide on holding the Trump-Kim summit in Pattaya. Just imagine Mr Kim and Mr Trump strolling up and down Walking Street discussing nukes -- now that's what you call a photo-op. Admittedly there might be a few distractions -- those ladies at the Stale Peanut bar can be a bit "forward".
Then the statesmen could jump on a couple of jet skis and whizz around Pattaya Bay. Mr Trump would relish negotiating with those loveable jet ski operators. Alternatively, they could settle down for a quiet game of bridge or darts … on second thoughts, perhaps not.
Who knows? The next police crackdown in the resort might have been called "Let's Make Pattaya Great Again."
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