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Online Uproar Leads to Cabbie's Arrest THE NATION August 23, 2013 1:00 am INTIMIDATING taxi drivers can no longer escape the long arm of the law partly because many victims can now speak up on the Internet, which is what led to the arrest of Thanet Boonsermsap, 37, in Samut Prakan yesterday. The taxi driver's latest victim, another taxi driver, said he had never met Thanet before when he approached him and demanded protection money yesterday. "Then, I looked at his cab and remembered that his license plate number had become big news," the victim said. His complaint, via a volunteer, quickly reached the police. Thanet drives a pink taxi with licence plate number à¸—à¸¨ 856 and there have been many reports on the social media of his extortion and intimidating behaviour. Just on Wednesday, a woman lambasted him for banging her car on a Bangkok road via an Internet post that was widely reported. After the uproar online, police promised to take action right away. Apparently, there have been several complaints filed against this cabbie. On June 15, Surapong Sujaritpinij posted on FM91 Traffic Pro's Facebook page that this taxi driver demanded money from him after he parked near the BTS Bearing Station. Surapong is believed to have officially taken the complaint to Bang Na Police Station. Jirayut "Max the Star 4" Kantayot, also posted on Instagram on June 16 that this very cabbie demanded money from him. Bang Na Police Station's superintendent Colonel Tawatkiat Jindakuansanong yesterday said the taxi driver had been convicted once before for demanding money from his passengers, but the court had suspended his punishment. "But if he repeats the offence, police can arrest him," Tawatkiat explained. On Wednesday, a woman said that when she got into this pink taxi, the driver refused to turn on the metre and demanded Bt70 for a very short ride in Samut Prakan. She then decided to lodge a complaint at Pak Nam Police Station. On the same day, the cabbie decided to repeatedly bang into a woman's car in downtown Bangkok. The car owner later posted a message on Pantip.com, lambasting the cabbie and praising another for stepping forward to help her http://www.nationmul...t-30213273.html Here was the thread on Pantip which eventually led to his arrest. Apparently while stuck in traffic near Bangkok's Makkasan City airport link Terminal, Boonsermsap got out of his taxi and started kicking and banging on her car until another taxi driver who saw what was happening came to help her by kicking and banging on Boonsermsap's taxi until he drove off, but not before the lady took a photo of him and got his number plate. She drove off but when she got to Asoke Rd by chance she saw Boonsermsap's pink taxi there so she parked up and went to report the matter to a traffic policeman standing there, but he was disinterested in helping, citing lack of injury and damage to person or property and told her to continue on her way since she was holding up the traffic. It was only once the story gathered momentum in Pantip, that the police were forced to act. She also mentioned that Boonsermsap initially shouted at her to hand hand over her driving license for inspection, making her think he might be a police officer. http://pantip.com/topic/30871940
Exploring Thailand back in 1974 with my college classmate Mike, I didnâ€™t get much of a chance to elaborate on his travel exploits into Bangkokâ€™s night life. I had a Thai girlfriend so the only taste I got of its charms was from the stories he told. And he told a lot of them. Never mind that he was cast in a Thai movie â€“ my girlfriendâ€™s mom financed it â€“ his off-screen antics were the real show. The trouble is, there is only one that, in good taste, I dare shareâ€¦ Back then foreigners were a rare commodity, especially English speaking ones that Thais could relate to with the odd remembered word from some forgotten GI. Theyâ€™d follow you around, wanting to paw at your clothes or your high top sneakers. Kids followed you around like you were the Pied Piper. Strangers tugged at you on the streets to sit and eat with them. In a coffee shop, everyone stared. Add to that, Mikeâ€™s unprecedented status, and it wouldnâ€™t be hard to imagine how he was eating it all up. Then there was that morning he woke up on some deserted beach, miles from the set. He didnâ€™t remember how he got there. His pockets were empty. It was only because he had his actorâ€™s pass around his neck written in Thai that a motorcycle jockey offered to waive his usual fare and give him a ride. Ragged with his hair tousled, he still got a round of applause when he finally showed up on the set. To the Thais, he was definitely a curiosity. His pantomime explanations alone would have rated him five star reviews. But now, for the first time, he was stuck. Payday wasnâ€™t for another week, and he was broke. Not wanting to let on to anyone what had happened, he made excuses about being tired and wanting to get to bed early. Then the walls started to close in. The TV might as well have been static. Were all the channels in Thai? Did Thais do anything but cry for five minutes on these soap operas? And these lizards running across the ceiling, do they bite? And that damn music playing outside, who can sleep through such a racket? Finally, he gave up and went to walk around downstairs. Any place had to be better than this. Sitting just outside the hotel, he got an offer from a taxi driver that was too good to pass up. There were a lot of jewelry stores in town, offering commissions for brought in potential customers. Since Mike was already an actor maybe this would be right up his alley. He didnâ€™t have to buy anything; just look around and act interested. Needless to say, that was what he did for the rest of the week. Every alley shop was another bottle of beer. Every avenue store was a glass of wine. By the end of the night, a midnight snack was the taxi driverâ€™s treat. Come payday, with just one stop on the way, the ride was free.