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Tourists warned about 'cigarette police'


Foreign tourists have been told to take a hard line with the thetsakij, or Bangkok's city inspectors, who have been accused of unfairly targeting them to issue fines for littering.


Manit Techa-apichoke, deputy director of the City Law Enforcement Department, said foreigners who feel they have been unfairly targeted by the thetsakij should refuse to pay the fines.


He said they should alert the nearest district office or police officer, so action can be taken against the inspectors.


Mr Manit's statement comes on the heels of an investigation published in last Sunday's Spectrum that revealed foreign tourists, particularly those on Sukhumvit Road, were targeted by thetsakij to pay fines for littering, while Thais committing similar offences were largely ignored.


The report, which garnered more than 150 comments online, revealed that many of those targeted by the thetsakij were not issued receipts.


The Spectrum investigation also found that very few rubbish bins were present in areas where the thetsakij operate, leading some to suspect that they were removed to increase the likelihood that foreigners would litter.


Foreigners interviewed by Spectrum investigators said that it seemed as if inspectors were standing by ready to swoop immediately once they littered.


Inspectors demanded they pay the fines on the spot, telling them that if they wanted to take the matter to a nearby district office or police station, they would end up paying much more.


Mr Manit said any city inspectors found guilty of extortion would be sacked immediately.


He said that opaque rubbish bins were removed from city streets as part of security measures in the wake of bomb attacks in the capital.


Some thetsakij had taken advantage of the situation to extort foreigners who litter, Mr Manit said.


Members of the public and tourists can call City Hall's hotline at 1555 to report any attempts at extortion by city inspectors.

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My moto for 2017: Don't argue with an idiot. Don't argue with.....

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damn. I havent seen any yet but will keep an eye out for them

Farang = Walking ATM. TG's push the right buttons and money comes out. PIN = BBBJ

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I was fined many many years ago when I was stayng at the Miami hotel. Ther was a little police booth on Sukhumit exactly a cigarette's walking distance from the hotel Every day as I was passing the booth I was careful to stubb my ciggie out in a bin, except once I forget - chucked it on the street.


They got me and wanted an astronomical fine - I bartered and got them down to about 700 baht from memory, which was a lot more than a night cost in those days in the old rundown Miami (it's even worse now from what I can see through the window!)


But I deserved to get fined, and I don't chuck my butts anywhere on the street now - in any country !

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