Police Hassles

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by jt65, Sep 11, 2004.

  1. jt65

    jt65 Member

    Hi All
    Yesterday I was going past Narawat bridge and was pulled over by one of the 20 police officers. He spoke good english and started on me about no number plate. Then moved onto asking for a motorbike license. After producing my thai license he went back to the no number plate. I proceeded to show him the invoice papers which he had no interest in. He kept telling me to take my bike down to the station to be impounded. I refused and he proceeded to look for the keys which amusingly he couldnt find. I then went for the telephone and told him I wanted to call my friend in the police force. It was at this point he pushed for an on the spot 500bht fine and I could keep my bike. I argued a little more but not wanting to lose my bike I payed and was let go. I then headed to my mechanic in Chiangmai Land and told him the story. He laughed and said I got off cheap and I was lucky I didnt lose my bike for good. I then asked what is the process now for getting plates . He informed me that this is now not possible and that the police are going to start fining and taking all big bikes without plates. It seems crazy they want to fine you for not having plates but then give you no system for obtaining them.
    Now I know TIT but does anyone have any input on all this? I was wanting another season of riding but it looks like I will be shipping my bike to Oz for the coming winter here if I am to be hassled here.
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  3. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    I think it is just another attempt by the cops to make some money.
    The guys stop you, then check for
    1. helmet
    2. licence
    3. rego / tax.
    usually in that order.
    They want to get you for something & make some pocket money.
    Personally I reckon its 75-80% "bluff."

    Just yesterday - Sunday morning - I "snuck" out on the BeeEm to race over to a mates place 2 kms away & pick up a couple of Cds.
    The police had a checkpoint set up by the old stadium in Chang Puak. Shit I thought, a bloody Sunday & they are out checking / looking for pocket money. This place is getting more like a police state / farang country & not so much sanuk anymore!
    Anyway, the policeman was firm but polite, spoke half decent English & must have thought it was Christmas as he had me for
    1. no helmet
    2. no licence
    3. no passport (a new scam, worth trying.) He even asked if I was working here! None of your business I thought, but I simply said no. However, I could see his English & confidence was good enough & just to be smart that he might even be prepared to ask about a work permit – try anything for an extra baht?
    4. no bike rego.
    But "luckily" enough for me, also NO money - I did not even have my wallet with me!
    His next line then was we have to go to the police station & you pay 500 baht.
    Yes Ok I said, but I have no money. Do you want to come to my house first & let me get some money?
    Ah, tricky old farang……
    OK, you go, but next time you must pay 500 baht……

    Now to be honest I think that the time is coming - maybe end of the year / 6 months - & they will be checking for bike regos.
    Exactly what happens then I don’t know.
    But I’d expect all the bike rental shops to complain & get together to approach the governor / police for a solution, as it would seriously affect local tourism & many people’s livelihood.
    Then there’d be a Thai compromise with an amnesty for a certain period in which any unregistered bikes can be registered for a fee. At a guess, this fee might be a low 10,000 -15,000 baht a bike.
    And after that, the police would be allowed to enforce the law.

    To me, part of the problem is that big bikes are classified as motor vehicles, the same as cars. And the rules that are being applied to cars are also applied to bikes. Cars must be registered, insured & taxes paid.
    A big bike is a “car.” Bikes & cars are classified the same & pay the same customs duties. Bikes don’t get any preferential treatment, & I don’t think the govt cares as bikes are “insignificant.”
    Earlier this year, they had an amnesty for unregistered & expired motor vehicle registrations, & you got a month to pay up. Now bikes are next?

    We’ve been having crackdowns like this for umpteen years, & eventually things return to “normal.” For how far away & expensive normal is, your guess is as good as mine.
    But if you are worried about your bike, & probably you should be, as I think it is going to be more serious this time, then start exploring how little you can get a plate for. First up try the shop you bought the bike from, then take it from there.
    Alternatively hope for a change of govt, which I think might allow things to slacken off a little; & then we can return to the great sabai life we once had, before we were told to be commercial & just think about money.

    Keep the power on
  4. jt65

    jt65 Member

    Thanks for replying to my story. I am more concerned now that I know you were also pulled over. I started to think that I was very unlucky and just got an officer that spoke good english. As for your advice I went to the shop where the bike was purchased and also all other shops I know of and everyone told me the same thing. That is that as of around 3-6 months ago one can no longer get plates for
    "Invoice" bikes even using the old corruption method and that the only alternative to use of my bike is to :
    1. Carry two wallets. One with no more than 100bht and one with my regular money. Obviously when pulled over pull out the one with 100bht. This limits the payment for our greedy friends.
    2. Break my "Pride & Joy" down and sell it as parts. (Not my preference).
    3. Sell the bike. This seemed the most obvious solution until I was told that the only people who are now buying unregistered bikes are policeman. And apparently they are doing it in droves as they can negotiate great prices for obvious reasons and of course they can ride them with no plates or problems.
    4. My option of sending the bike back to Oz has now hit a snag as two shops have informed me that this would be a mistake as most invoice bikes in Thailand are actually Stolen bikes shipped from Japan and they once it arrives in Oz and engine number and chasis numbers checked I may be in a heap of trouble. The news just keeps getting better.
    5. My solution is ride my little X1 scooter until the tide turns as you are suggesting although I am going to miss cruising on my baby and am very upset about not riding north thailand this year. I love living here but I just wish they would give some thought to some of the things that they do.

    Anway wait and see!

    PS - Ive seen you on that new beemer. Great looking bike , must have cost a packet.

  5. Shawn in Oz

    Shawn in Oz Member

    Maybe this can help your helmet hassles ?

    When i was in Thailand earlier in the year at my wife's parents farm in central Thailand.

    Bike - 1 small step-thru
    people - 3
    helmets - 2
    the idea - my wifes of course

    The police only enforce helmet laws on a Tuesday down there ?!?!
    Myself & my daughter had a helmet so my wife put on a wide brimmed hat!
    My wife reckons you only need something large on your head to keep the police happy.
    It worked went past heaps of checkpoints with no problems !?!?
    Now Davidfl maybe you can publish an official GT-Rider origami design so we can print it & cut across the dotted line. Think of the advertising potential.

    P.S. - for Davidfl, did you receive my emails from a few months back which included & bike video attachment?
  6. vtrman

    vtrman Member

    To those resident in Chiang Mai - is this "no reg plate" situation going to prevent me from hiring a 250cc Dirt Bike in November?

    I'm coming to Chiang Mai with a bunch of mates late Nov, and want to hire 4 or 5 dirt bikes (with plates if poss!). Lek Big Bike aren't replying to my emails and their FAX doesn't seem to be working. Are they still there?

    Anyone got a contact email for another supplier such as C+P, or Mr Mechanic or whoever you can recommend?

    So - are Lek Big Bike still operating?
    Are non-plated bikes still being supplied?
    Any more up-to-date tips please.

  7. ufkenmill

    ufkenmill New Member

    I have a cb400sf in CM also and had the unlucky fortune to be stopped by our 'friends in brown' for no plate. I had my helmet on, headlight on (illegal also to drive w/ headlight off but rarely enforced or spoken of) and was driving like my 92 year old grandmother since i knew i was in the vicinity of a 'sponsored' police box at a busy interection.

    There was no checkpoint here but as I was sitting at the light waiting for it to turn green I had two coppers pull up next to me and ask me to come with them. So I went and was given the same story you told about my bike being impounded. I offered to pay the fine to them and have them 'take it to the police station for me' which has always worked in the past but they wouldn't accept my money (what????). Ok, this is a new one,hmm.. I told them I was renting it, even though I own it but it has no plates. They wouldn't negotiate anything, they wanted me at the police station no matter what.

    So as i rode on the backseat of my own damn bike while some copper drove it to the police station, I had visions of maybe pushing him off and driving away on it??? I decided to stick it out and see what happened, I played it cool but inside I was having nightmares of having to see a local cop driving around on my 'impounded' bike while I puttered around on a cheesy motorbike.

    I got to the police station and they affixed all teh 'impound' stickers to it and took me inside to collect the 'fine'. Anyway, to make a long story short I had to pay 1000baht in tickets. 500baht for no registration and 500baht for not paying taxes on my 'illegal' bike. but I got my bike back and counted myself lucky. I think that even the boys in brown have a heart and probably wouldn't take a motorcycle from a foreigner, but who knows, I could be wrong.

    I now take a different route to work everyday and if I see a copper near me I resist and evade like jesse james. I think I'm just paranoid now about it but I haven't had problems since and i enjoy riding the bike too much to let it sit....
  8. vtrman

    vtrman Member

    sticking with the same topic, just....

    I want to hire 4 to 6 dirt bikes (250cc ish) from 22nd November for 9 days. Good business for someone.

    I've phoned / faxed Lek Big Bike repeatedly with no response. This morning, finally a lady answered the phone, and the only response I can make out is, "Lek closed, he gone to Japan"[:(]

    What I couldn't find out is, is this just a temporary closure (ie has he gone to Japan on a holiday, or to source some more "illegal" bikes or whatever) or is this a PERMANENT closure of the Lek Big Bike rental shop?

    Anyway - I still need the bikes , and I'm worried that this police problem may stop hire shops renting out 250cc unplated dirt bikes. Can anyone re-assure me that it's still possible to hire such bikes in Chiang Mai, and from where?

    Feel free to email me on [email email=bill@biketours-uk.com]bill@biketours-uk.com[/email]

  9. BobS

    BobS Ol'Timer

    There are several rental places listed in the main part of this site, under "Bikes"

    Try Joe's Bike Team 053 251 186, [email email=tole@loxinfo.co.th]tole@loxinfo.co.th[/email]

    They rent out the bikes you want, usually in pretty good shape as well. BUT - not plated.

  10. vtrman

    vtrman Member

    Thanks Bob, and thanks to "M" (same?) who emailed me directly with the same recommendation.

  11. SiFuh

    SiFuh Active Member

    Wow, so good to see everyone again.

    You guys should consider being very lucky. I am now in China and they won't allow the use of any motorcycle on highways. Apparently the Chinese PSB made it illegal for any moped to be ridden on major highways and in certain cities.

    I hope everything with the police settles before October next year. I want to be back riding on South East Asian highways again.

    Have fun all
    SiFuh Chat
  12. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Has anyone noticed the smart little policeman who hangs out in moon muang soi 7 & nabs riders for no helmet / licence / rego?
    From what I can gather around Cnx town, this is the only "soi" the cop(s) hang out in. All the other sois are left alone with the police generally "manning the main streets" when they are in need of cash.
    I'm really curious though, as to what gives with hanging out in this particular soi?

    Keep the power on
  13. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    The police big boys are up from Bangkok checking all the rental shops in Chiang Mai for unregistered bikes.
    The pressure's really on, with most shops being told to keep their unlicensed bikes off the road until they pay the full tax & registration fees.
    The final outcome is still very unclear & it will be real interesting to see how a solution is "negotiated;” as it must be, or the motorcycle touring business here will be killed should they strictly enforce the letter of the law.
    No rental shop could afford to pay the full tax & fees, then charge enough rental fees to get any money back & stay in business.
    Stay tuned.....

    Keep the power on
  14. mja34

    mja34 Ol'Timer

  15. Jack Marchetti

    Jack Marchetti New Member

  16. Peter R

    Peter R Ol'Timer

    Amazing that the BKK boys would travel all the way to CM to look for bikes without plates when they could make a much shorter trip to Pattaya and find literally hundreds of them.
    One solution for the bike rental shops of course is to just get the bikes registered and charge a bit more to cover the cost of the extra investment. After in which other country can you rent GOOD bikes as cheaply as here ? Can't really see the point of locking your bikes up, doesn't do much for cash flow.

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