Opinion: A Policeman murders drug dealer on tape, why aren’t we more shocked?

We have all seen the video by now. A senior police officer choking the life out of a alleged drug dealer to demand a bribe.

The video has gone viral, the police officer in question is being stripped of his rank, and an investigation has been launched.

Police Chief Suwat Jangyodsuk held a quick press conference where he said that the officer in question, if guilty of wrongdoing, will face the full extent of the legal system.

Suwat also went to pains to say that the conduct of the officer in question was not reflective of the entire police force as a whole. It is part of Royal Thai Police line that this was just one bad egg.

But given the developments of the last few months, do we even believe them anymore?

After all, this is the same police force that is chasing down motorcycles and shooting rubber pellets at the rides from point blank range.

It is the same police force causing traffic accidents to chase down protesters.

The same police force who has aggressively and belligerently crackdown on pro-democracy protests with rubber bullets, tear gas, and riot shields.

The time has come to ask whether officers like this murderer is the exception or the rule.

Thailand is flooded with stories of police who deal drugs or demand extortion/bribes, or those who shakedown bar and restaurant owners.

No institution is looked upon with more disdain and distrust in Thailand than the Royal Thai Police except perhaps parliament.

Given the reality of things and given how endemic corruption is within the police force maybe the time has come to consider not just reforming the police but dissolving the force altogether.

Then maybe we can start from scratch and scenes like this become a thing of the past. At the very least we should be more surprised and shocked at the footage rather than nod along grimly.


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