It is amazing the number of times that stories of bribery and corruption appear in Thai Newspapers. Currently only those stories that affect the opposition make the Newspapers and it is only thanks to the efforts of other websites (like Political Prisoners in Thailand http://thaipoliticalprisoners.wordpress.com/ ) that any other stories get out.
However, a high proportion of these stories involve the Royal Thai Police. Bribery, corruption, protection rackets and even murder are not uncommon to be reported when they are found out.
Last year the political events in Thailand overshadowed news that came out in January of 2009 about the Thai Police having to arrest other officers that were working as a kidnap gang. It is was reported that these Border patrolmen abused their positions to extract Bt8.7 Million and many people had been wrongly imprisoned (and are still being held) as a direct result of extortion and kidnapping by the Border patrol group called Patrol 41.
The case of Toby Chaurnaud is a case in point about how the failings of the Thai Police affect the UK ex pat communities and there are other stories that I could point to including one from July this year concerning a scam at Bangkok Airport that seemed to operate with the Thai Police tacit approval.
Now the Royal Thai Police are implicated yet again, this time in a robbery from a Saudi Royal Palace, a crime that is 20 years old and has caused major friction between Saudi Arabia and Thailand for a long time.
From the BBC News Website "First there was the theft - $20m (£12.5m) worth of jewels, including a very rare blue diamond, taken from a Saudi palace and smuggled into Thailand in 1989.
The thief was caught and much of the jewelry was recovered.
But most of what was returned to Saudi Arabia turned out to be fake.
The following year, three Saudi diplomats in Thailand were murdered and a Saudi businessman, Mohammad al-Ruwaili, disappeared." (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/8454240.stm)
Both the Bangkok Post and the Nation have also reported the news of the arrests and imminent prosecutions (http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/local/165089/suspects-in-al-ruwaili-case-indicted and http://www.nationmultimedia.com/2010/01/12/politics/politics_30120149.php )
Further evidence exists that the Thai Police regularly "fit up" foreigners on trumped up drugs charges as the bonus rewards they get are too good to pass up. One source has quoted Bt10,000 per kilo of drugs per Farang.
Her Majesty's Government (HMG) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) still persist however in trusting the Royal Thai Police and operate under the misguided allusion that they are never to be questioned, in fact a memo was sent to the Embassy in Thailand from the FCO informing them to never question the methods of the Royal Thai Police, something they adhere to with amazing exactness.
One has to question however how long this kowtowing to the Thai Police can be allowed to continue in the light of the scandals that have come to light in the last few years. My guess is, based on the HMG's previous performance, indefinitely.