Thursday, 28 October 2010

The cop who knows too much

'Just admit have a young guy on the side,’ said the policeman.

I was sitting in the police station after filing a complaint about a local pest.

I told him that I have a boyfriend at home, but also spend some of my time with a family in the slums.

'I like the idea of having my own son,’ I said, referring to Mr Ball.

‘What you mean is, you have a love interest over there. You’re unfaithful, a Romeo, a flirt. You are lying to yourself,’ said the policeman. 'God tells us not to tell lie, but 40% of what we say is lies anyway,' he said.

The officer had a tidy, compact frame. Wearing glasses, aged about 30, and with clean-cut, Chinese features, he spoke with a powerful voice. He also appeared to know the ways of the world, at least as they appear to Thais.

‘You have been here 10 years, and you know the way Thai society works,' he told me.

'If you are seeing someone on the side, you will have to let your partner in on the secret,’ he said.

‘He knows,’ I said.

I visited the station to complain about a ruffian called Ton, who earlier in the day had sent me a dozen text messages threatening me harm.

I know Ton through farang C, who lives in the same condo complex as me. Farang C goes out with Ton’s old girlfriend, which annoys him.

Farang C wants to give his girlfriend a new start in life after Ton – a former jailbird and drugs dealer - preyed on her for years.

However, Ton and his former girlfriend have a daughter together, which means their lives will probably always be intertwined, no matter what farang C wants.

One day recently, Ton turned up at our condo, wanting his girlfriend back. I talked to him on behalf of farang C, who does not speak Thai.

The girlfriend agreed to go with Ton, but left him again soon after, and has not been back to him since. She left their daughter with Ton.

Ton takes advantage of my tenuous connection to this sordid saga by calling frequently, asking me to pass on messages to his former girlfriend via farang C.

When the girlfriend, who has avoided him for weeks, fails to call, he gets frustrated, and sends me nasty text messages.

So that was how I turned up at the police station the other day. He had upped his threats to a new, worrying level.

'It's raining. Be careful you don't crack your head on the slippery road,' he said in one message.

'On the inside, there's not much to eat, so eat well today, my friend,' he added. 'They also give it to you up the backside.'

Then, in the most menacing message: 'It's started. It won't be me. I have asked a friend to deal with you instead. Ha, ha, ha!'

The officer who listened to my complaint took down no notes. And here I was, thinking that I would have to fill out lengthy forms before getting any action.

I showed him the text messages.

He made no comment, but asked me to call Ton.

I had not responded to his text messages, and long ago stopped taking Ton's calls.

Seeing my number flash on his telephone must have surprised Ton - though he did not get me on the line, but the cop.

‘Ton...what’s this about you threatening the farang?’ he asked, without bothering to introduce himself.

Ton must have known he was talking to the police.

'Where are you?' the officer asked.

Ton told him.

The officer asked him a dozen or so questions, still without bothering to say who he was.

‘Farang C and the farang sitting in front of me are different you understand that?’ he asked.

'They are not conspiring together to stop you contacting the girlfriend. The farang in front of me just helps with language,' he said.

The officer had grasped quickly who was involved in the drama, what had happened, and where we stood in relation to each other.

This was not my first unpleasant encounter with Ton, who has turned up at the condo on several occasions, likes to lose his temper, and make threats.

The last time he came, I called the police.

Two officers from the station turned up on a motorbike, and spoke to Ton for an hour. They asked to see his ID card.

He refused, claiming he had lost it. No one took down his name, or asked for his address.

I told him about the condo incident, thinking he might look up the station records. 'The beat officers who visited the condo might have filed a report,' I suggested. But the bespectacled policeman who took my complaint was not interested.

‘Have you ever thought of sending someone around to Ton's place to give him a warning?’I asked hopefully.

‘Home visits won’t work, as he could pull out a weapon. It’s not like in the West, where cameras are going everywhere, recording everything,' he said.

‘We settle things the Thai way,’ he said, urging me to show some understanding for Ton.

‘He’s just out of jail, and has no job, no friends. He has turned to his girlfriend for support, but she has started a new life.

'He is also looking after their daughter, but the girlfriend rarely calls him,’ he said.

At first, the policeman had assumed Ton was a former fling of mine.

'Is he good looking?’ he asked.

‘He is, in a way,’ I said.

When Ton talks to me, he rubs his groin constantly. Maybe his boxers are scratchy.

The officer spoke to Ton pleasantly, though in a booming voice. They were on the phone 10 minutes.

It was like a ordinary conversation, the type you might have with the local plumber.

Soon after his chat with the local constabulary ended, Ton called me to apologise.

I thanked him, and hung up.

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