Some of you might remember the 2006 movie Bon Cop Bad Cop. It was a great film that started with a body being found on the border sign between Ontario and Quebec. This meant that the police case would need to be handled by police forces from both provinces. This led to a wonderful and wacky relationship between the two officers in charge.
You might be wondering why I brought up this movie. The reason is that I saw a sign on a major street near the hospital that demonstrated one of the weird aspects of the Bangkok police department. Like all city police forces, Bangkok’s is divided into divisions or sectors. But I’ve heard some strange things about the divisions in Bangkok whereby when a crime is committed, there is often a dispute as to which division is in charge.
So back to the sign which shows the Thong Lo Police Area in one direction and the Khlong Tan Police Area in the other. (Slide 1) What I’m wondering is what happens when a crime is committed in the middle – slide 2 – kind of like what happened in Bon Cop Bad Cop. Does it mean that cops from both divisions need to get involved? Is there a jurisdictional dispute? If there is, at least the two divisions have cops that speak the same language.
I bring all of this up because I’ve heard of these types of disputes happening in Bangkok. Most of them are related to issues found in massage parlours and drug dens, many of which have cop affiliations. So there is some territorial stuff going on in the police department. I have a feeling what this sign really means is that on one side of the street, certain cops own certain businesses, while on the other side other cops own certain businesses. They don’t share ownership or proceeds. That’s a bit like the situation in Ontario and Quebec. I think the sign is actually a border marking. In Bangkok, policing is as much about business as it is about crime fighting. In business, borders are apparently important.
There is one final point to bring up about this border sign. It follows up on yesterday’s entry on the craziness of Bangkok’s wiring. Just like everywhere else in this city, there are wires coming off the mains attached to the border sign pole and almost every other pole. You can see this in the last slide. Wires, wires everywhere. Even at border crossings.
Just for some entertainment, I found an amusing clip from Bon Cop Bad Cop about the cross border crime. You might enjoy it.