October 24, 2002


A Señor Story © 2002

The signs were clearly there. I just choose to ignore them. For this, I paid dearly. First I learned about the Thai Mafia. An acquaintance told me that if a Farang (that is Thai for any westerner, i.e. ME) attempts to open a business that competes with a 100% Thai owned business then the Mafia will do all it can to put the Farang out of business. If somehow the Farang manages to succeed despite the Mafia, the solution is simple: murder. Yes they kill you! I wish someone told me this before I bought a 25% stake in a restaurant and a 33% stake in a language school! Both of these business compete directly with 100% Thai owned businesses. Since I co-own with Thai people I believed that I was safe. Furthermore, every country has a Mafia and every Mafia has their share of horror story's, such things were of no concern to me.

The following day after learning about the Thai Mafia I found myself at a gas station filling my tank. In the midst of this a strange looking Thai man came running up to me. Apparently he saw my tattoo and was very curious and excited by it. In very broken English he began to ask me all about it. After explaining and thinking he understood nothing he showed me his tattoo. I was shocked to find a swastika tattooed to his wrist. As I am in a foreign country in which I am not thoroughly familiar with all the symbols and customs I asked him what that was. A big smile came across his face and in perfect English he said, "Nazi." He followed this up by giving the Hiel Hitler sign and then broke into a dance while singing, "Kill all the gays. Kill all the Jews. Rid the world of all such scum!" He stopped dancing, winked at me and said, "I am Thai Mafia!" and walked away.

What the fuck was that? Did he know that I am a Jew? Is it a coincidence that one day after learning about the Thai Mafia I randomly encounter one? Was this a subtle message that perhaps I should not own parts of the businesses that I have become involved with? Perhaps the time had come to leave Thailand all together? I did not sleep well that night. My dreams were nightmares and my nightmares were violent. I awoke at 6:00AM. I was ready to pack my things and get the hell out of there. Before packing I began my day like I do all others here. I rolled out of bed and headed straight for the beach. There I practiced Chi Kung while facing the sea and watching the sunrise. After I went for a swim. I was just sitting there in the water taking in all the beauty that surrounded me, regaling in the serenity that always follows my Chi Kung practice and I knew I was not going anywhere! I'm a harmless guy. The Thai Mafia doesn't even know I exist and if they do, the certainly don't give a shit about me! Samui has become my paradise and I ain't leaving.

Like all countries in the world, Thailand has many laws. Some are quite silly and others quite practical. Some are strictly enforced and others, well, not so strictly enforced. One of the more practical laws is one must always wear a helmet while riding a motorbike. Although practical this law is barely enforced. I would estimate that 10% of all Farang and 20% of all Thai's actually were helmets, yet I have never seen anyone pulled over for such an offense, a 200 Baht ($5) fine. Nevertheless for the first two months that I lived here, I followed this rule religiously. If I drove one mile or 100 miles I always wore my helmet. However after two months, I got a little overconfident about my driving and every now and then I simply chose not to wear my helmet. I never had a problem until the day after I met the Mafia man at the gas station.

I was off to Nathon, the commercial center of the island, helmetless. A cop pulled me over. I was taken to the Police station and dropped off in a large room filled with people. One by one each person was called up front where they filled out some paper work, paid their fine and went on their way. Unfortunately for me, the police were in no rush. I sat in that room for over four hours until my name was finally called. As I began to fill in the paper work an uniformed officer came by. He said something in Thai and then told me to follow him. I wasn't too nervous yet, but when I found myself in an interrogation room I nearly shit my pants. I quickly composed myself and thanked the good Lord that I happened to have a lot of money on me. I figured I was looking for more the 200 Baht fine. I broke out 10,000 Baht ($250) and asked him if this would take care of things. Before I knew it I felt the back of his hand smacking my cheek. He slapped me so suddenly and with such force that I fell to the floor. He then started screaming in rage, something about how all Farang think they can break the rules and pay their way out of trouble. As he was yelling he removed his belt from his slacks and began pounding the desk with it. For the first time in my life I was paralyzed with fear. I literally could not move. He planned on making an example out of me to put all Farang in their place, when two men dressed in jackets and ties bolted into the room. There was a lot of yelling in Thai and then one of the gentlemen escorted me out of there. He told me that the officer claims that I tried to hit him and therefore I must spend the night in jail until things got sorted out. He led me down a corridor where there were three holding cells. Two Thai men occupied each of two of the cells, mine thank God was empty. I stood awake, wide eyed all night. Many convicts and cops came and went but lucky for me no cop hassled me and no other convicts were brought into my cell.

The next morning I was brought back to the interrogation room only to find the same deranged officer sitting behind the desk. Much to my shock he apologized for slapping me. He explained that yesterday he found out that his wife was having an affair with a Farang and he took out his aggression on me. He had to tell the other men that I tried to hit him to save face for losing his temper. Now, I was free to go. OH MY GOODNESS! You can be sure I got out of there as fast as possible. Upon reflection I don't believe that the officer's wife really had an affair. Hell for all I know he might not even be married. I believe that Mafia had me pulled over and had the cop scare the shit out of me. Am I just paranoid? I don't know, but I do know two things. I am looking into getting rid of my ownership of my two companies and I will NEVER ride my motorbike without a helmet again. Oh for the good news... I never had to pay the 200 Baht fine!

Señor is from Samui, Thailand.


liisaa said...

Interesting story!

Anonymous said...

I did laugh at how you unfolded this story although I felt bad for you.....thanks for the eye opener