Bangkok: A visit to Pracharat Bamphen Road in the Huai Khwang district, one can’t help but notice the Chinese language signs decorating the commercial buildings alongside the road. As a travel destination of choice for many Chinese tourists, Thailand has a strong Chinese influence permeating its cities. A recent topic of debate among authorities seems to be a proposal to deploy Chinese police officers in the country. However, this idea has now been officially debunked by National Police Chief, Pol Gen Torsak Sukwimol.
Earlier, there were flavored conjectures hinting at plans to invite Chinese police officers to patrol popular tourist attractions, with the aim of instilling confidence and safety among Chinese tourists, who contribute significantly to Thailand’s tourism-driven revenue. The Thai top cop refuted these claims on Monday insisting that this move would compromise the original concept of sovereignty.
“There is a misunderstanding,” states Pol Gen Torsak. “I want to clarify that The Royal Thai Police Office did not endorse this proposal. We are in full capacity to not only protect the locals but tourists as well.” He also opined that inviting an external force like the Chinese police force would infringe upon Thai sovereignty.
The National Police Chief offered some insight into how these rumors might have started. He pointed out that a similar arrangement is in place in Italy to address communication issues between Italian officers and Chinese tourists. However, he firmly asserted that Thailand, with no such communication constraints, does not need to replicate this example.
On further delving into the issue, Pol Gen Torsak explained that the actual proposal involved the creation of a coordination center. This center would host both Thai and Chinese officials to jointly handle criminal matters. This center aims to facilitate amicable exchanges about culprits and crimes, vowing to further strengthen this coordinated approach. “Chinese police officers, usually deployed in the Chinese embassy in Thailand, are made responsible for such coordination,” added Pol Gen Torsak.
In an earlier conversation, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin broached the possibility of roping in Chinese police officers to jointly patrol with Thai counterparts in key tourist destinations. This idea was speculated in a meeting attended by representatives of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the Central Investigation Bureau, the Immigration Police, and the Tourism Police. It was forwarded based on a successful implementation in Italy.
This official meet took place at Suvarnabhumi airport on Sunday, just before the prime minister’s departure for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting in San Francisco. Despite the denial from Pol Gen Torsak, the officials indicated that the prospect could act as a catalyst in promoting Thailand as a top-tier destination for Chinese tourists.