Crime on the rise across Bangkok

Woman swallows jewel; militants bomb shrine

TOURISTS FLOCK to shrine in Bangkok, Thailand for spiritual and cultural enrichment.

Not even Inspector Clouseau could have predicted the actions of this jewel thief. On Sunday, September 13, in Bangkok, Thailand, a Chinese woman had a six-carat diamond, worth $300,000, surgically removed from her intestines. According to sources of the BBC, the woman was thought to have exchanged this gem with a fake at a jewelry fair on Thursday. An airport arrest, hospital x-ray, and an attempt with laxatives later, authorities decided to have the woman undergo surgery. Not to alarm any sympathizers, the surgery was a brief twelve minutes and our “heistress” is on her way to recovery.

While this seems like a scene from a 1960s comedic detective series, organized crime is a serious and rising issue in Thailand. Gangs operating at a high level of crime often control and corrupt the local government. These groups are called chao pho, which ironically translates to “godfather,” and act as a mafia. According to the Thai authorities, 39 of Thailand’s 76 provinces are experiencing the tumult of the local chao pho.

Whether or not this woman was a part of such an organization remains to be seen and speculated upon. The likelihood is low, however, due to the regularity of pick-pocketing and snatching in Thailand. On the other hand, beyond the statistical information, this far-fetched scene makes for a good Bond film.

Crime is a rather broad subject with multiple sub-groups: violence, theft, human-trafficking, smuggling, prostitution, and terrorism. However, the petty pilfering of jewelry pales in comparison to the abject destruction of a shrine in Bangkok, for which the Thai authorities are blaming Uighur militants. Most of us have never heard of the Uighur, a minority ethnic group from western China. While this bombing is nearly a month old, only recently have the local police been able to pin the culprits as Uighur. The motive behind the crime is said to be revenge against Thailand for forced repatriation, or deportation, of Uighur refugees.

Historically, this would be the first attack outside of China the Uighur have committed. Whether or not the Uighur were the perpetrators, the result remains the same: 20 individuals were killed at the bombing, most of Chinese citizenship. Speculation on the situation rises as the style of crimes committed by the Uighur are re-evaluated. Frequently enough, the Uighur have attacked with knives in sporadic, gang-like occurrences, rather than organized terror strikes. Hard evidence and explanations from the Thai authorities were scarce, and their public relations were not forthcoming with information concerning the event.

To say that the supposed Uighur attack has any relation to the aforementioned chao pho would be extreme lateral thinking on the part of readers. Be that as it may, the crime in Thailand—especially Bangkok—is affecting the quality of life of its citizens, and the militant government is taking measures to cover up much of it in effort to preserve the lucrative tourist business.

From jewel thieves to terrorists, it seems Bangkok’s crime situation is dire, and local government, as well as international government, is creating no positive effect.