Trouble with Police

Discussion in 'General Discussion / News / Information' started by jt65, Dec 5, 2003.

  1. Hi All
    Have been hearing a few stories of late about certain police in certain areas taking possesion of large bikes if they are not registered. Recently people were telling me not to be too concerned about not having a number plate as it is not a problem in the North. Three different people have told me stories of riders losing their bikes on the way to Pai from Mae Rim. Apparently their is a police box with a ex bangkok cop who takes your bike if you dont have a registration plate. Other people told me that cops in Hang Dong and Sankampaeng are starting to do it and you need to pay upwards of 5000bht to get your bike back.

    After hearing the news I visited the Red Baron in Bangkok to find out how to register my bike only to be informed that I cannot legally do it. Apparently even the bikes that are registered ( over 200cc) have been registered under the table and are still by Thai law illegal due to the emmision restrictions. The manager then informed me the only way to get a bike with a number plate was to buy a bike from one of 3 shops in Bangkok.

    I find all this very hard to believe. I mean there must be some legal way to register a large motorbike. Then again TIT. Any confirmation of the above stories would be appreciated as for me it is all hearsay.

  2. JT
    This sounds like a good story & could be possible. But, I don’t know anything about riders losing their bikes going to Pai - were they Thais or farang, and were the bikes "big bikes" or regular 100-150cc bikes?
    Without anymore specific details, my guess is that it could just be Thais on regular bikes, who are getting caught.
    In the last 2 1/2 months I have done 10,000 kms in & around North Thailand, and not been stopped once by a cop for any sort of check, even at the manned checkpoints - farang are just waved on thru.
    Last but not least it aint easy getting big bikes registered. If you want to get yours licensed, then I recommend Peter Reid at Siam Superbike for honesty & the best deal.

    Keep the power on
  3. David
    Apparently on the Pai route the riders were Thai on 250cc dirt bikes. The police take possesion of the bike in a lockup until they can get them registered. It seems a catch 22 because as you know it is difficult to get them registered.

    The one story in Hang Dong was another Thai guy on a big chopper style bike but after he paid 3 - 5k in fines or whatever you wish to call it he got his bike back. I cannot confirm any of these stories and am glad to hear your experiences do not coincide.

    I had no intention of registering my bike as I have found it not easy and the cost seems very high for the privelege. After hearing the stories I became worried and started to look into it only to find it a bit of a nightmare. As you say most Farangs get waved through and I have found this to be the case also so it is still a hard one to call.

    I went on the bike ride today to Phrae for the bike week and about half or more of the bikes were not registered so I guess I am certainly not in the minority with an unregistered bike.

    Thanks for the referral , I will buy a bike magazine and locate this chap and give him a call.

  4. JT-

    Try for starters.

    Dave Early

    Ever notice that "What the Heck!" is usually the right answer?
  5. Just back from an overnighter in Pai.
    No trouble with the police.
    But I note that that there are 3 police checkpoints.
    1. Mae Sae, half way to Pai.
    2. Huay Nam Dang (just west of)
    3. Wat Chan & route 1265 turn off.
    Nothing ever happens at either the Mae Sae or Wat Chan turn off checkpoints.
    However the cops at the Huay Nam Dang checkpoint are probably the efficient / naughty ones. As we passed I noticed that they had 2 lots of Thai guys on Honda Dreams bailed up & seemed to be issuing tickets. Both the bikes had plates on & the riders were wearing helmets so I assume they might not have had licences, or “the boys” were just touching them up.
    In Pai the gossip is that since the BKK cops busted the local casino a few weeks ago, the local Pai cops are short of a buck & looking to recover their losses from whatever they can.
    Keep the power on
  6. David: as you know I frequently do that stretch of road from Mae Taeng and on up to Soppong. I think nearly all the stops of any kind at Huay Nam Dang are for eastbound traffic, since they are mostly looking for illegal Burmese heading away from the border, and of course yah bah. All buses are stopped and checked for Burmese, but farang are always waved through. In fact, I have been through there in a 4WD pickup with carryboy, the yah bah dealer's favourite, and they were all out in the road waving their hands until they saw I was a farang and then it was a smile and a wave through. Only time I was ever stopped there was when there were US Army Special Forces present doing some kind of training a couple of years ago, Very strange.

    If you are headed past Pai and on to Soppong or Mae Hong Son, what I have found to be the strictest police checkpoint can be found on top of the mountain between Pai and Soppong. Having driven that route maybe 100 times, this is the only place that I was ever subjected to a licence check. But, getting back to the OP, like you, we have never experienced or heard of a problem with untagged bikes being driven by farang. I have had theories as to the reason, and if they are true, I can see how some things could change if some alien Bangkok boys in brown decided to get active, but in the end, I think the tourism perspective and the part rental bikes play will keep things cool for at least a while into the future.
  7. Burt
    Yeah I'm not totally convinced these stories are true, and personally I've never seen or experienced anything to indicate it happens.
    But as a farang I reckon that the cops are always going to think that we are just "dumb tourists" and leave us alone. As you have experienced, as soon as they see you are a farang they nearly always wave you thru.
    My tip as you approach a police checkpoint is to always flip up your visor, so that they can see you are a farang & they leave you alone.
    I can’t remember the last time I was stopped for any sort of check and have always been waved on at checkpoints; so keep riding boys & don’t worry.

    Keep the power on
  8. You CAN actually legally register a big bike in Thailand, eg all the bikes that BMW import are registered and private imports can be done also although its a time consumimg and expensive process because without type approval you must take it for testing. (This is to ensure your dirty bike doesn't pollute Bangkoks pristine air.) The charge for the emission testing is around 28,000 Baht. Not bad for an hours work eh?
    The cheaper option is to recycle and old book, using contacts within the registration dept. Its a more or less legal option, I mean once its done at least it establishes ownership. Have no doubt that riding a unregistered bike is risky. It means the bike can be taken and ownership claimed by anyone, without a book what rights to ownership do you have ? If there is an accident, no matter who is to blame, YOU will be at fault and liable for ALL damages. My shop does registrations for bikes that we sell but we do not have the resources to do it as an outside service. Peter
  9. Hi Guys,
    Even with my short bits of riding in Thailand I have encountered the police quite a few times. The dumb, english only, farang routine has worked a few times with the lunch money shakedowns, when you really havent done anything wrong and the cops are just fishing for a quick easy buck. However I have paid 100 baht fine when caught red handed taking a quick short cut at a missed turn in Bangkok, after a receipt was issued...
    The recent checks in Chiang Mai and around northern Thailand for helmets and tax stickers for Thai's on bikes seems like a forewarning that the police are slowly cracking down. It would only seem to be a matter of time before they realize that the return on the effort spent checking farang riders on unregistered bikes could outweigh the trouble of doing it...
    What do you guys think? Peter

    peter c.
  10. I remember all of us getting searched on the way to Doi Mae Salong (from Mae Chan), some 10 years ago...Remember, David? ;-)

    The was the last time I've been stopped for anything except a 'where you go?" stop. Being easily identifiable as a farang is good idea for another reason, too....Whenever I see a farang driver, I always give him his way... Thais seem to do the same, creating a safety barrier for the farang biker. Everyone is afraid of crazy farang drivers!
  11. Larry
    Yes I remember this only too well. I ended up getting an unwanted write up in the Bkk Post resulting in a trip to the provincial police HQs in Chiang Rai to make a formal complaint against the police manning the Kiu Sataa checkpoint. I was bloody nervous about it all at the time, however I found the police in Chiang Rai very understanding, with the end result being the transfer of a couple of naughty cops.

    Keep the power on
  12. Yes, naughty boys..I'll bet that's how they got assigned to that little hole in the first place :)
  13. Hi
    and watch out for local police in BKK. they pull you over as soon as they realize you're a farang. twice i've paid for my motorcycle being 'too big' whatever that means.
    keep your visors closed.
  14. I wouldn't pay, I would wait till they took me down to the station. (If your bike is legally registered). I have not come accross a law yet on motorbike sizes. What strikes me as odd is how can you register a bike that is illegally too large?
    Hmm, that dumb english speaking only foreign routine works occasionally. I got pulled over for not wearing a helmet 2 years back and spoke english only. He asked for my licence so I gave him my Australian licence. He didn't know what he was looking at. 20 minutes of questioning, he gave up and let me go. 1 block later I was pulled over by another police officer. However this officer COULD speak english. :) I could not. 5 minutes of total confusion over the strange sounds that were leaving my mouth and he let me go. Not all foreingers can speak English you know?

    have fun.

    Let me know if anyone does come accross a legal document that states bike sizes.

  15. Margus, don't let Thai cops screw with you too much! If you're cool on registration, then don't worry! TELL him to take you to the station NOW if he hassles you about the size of your bike

    Unlike most Thais, farangs don't have to put up with being harrassed by cops unfairly (you haven't broken any law). Demnd to go to the station if you're not in the wrong. I am sure that you will be treated fairly at the station if you remain cool...Don't raise your voice!

    And I agree with the strategy of not speaking Thai with police...I understand all the 'private' talk about me between the cops, giving me a decided advantage in most situations

    Oh and please don't ever offer to teach English to cops. For obvious reasons! [;)]
  16. I personally have a hand held tape recorder. I do not carry it with me much, only when I know I am going to be doing paper work that involves the law, eg. Work Permit, Visa,.. you name it. Unless any of you understand psychology I wouldn't recommend it. Some people can change very fast when they find out you have there words on tape. It is still legal evidence in Thailand to use voice recorded devices in court. However, if you play carefully it will get you out of many seemingly difficult situtations. It works best with the ladies behind the information counters. Just tell them you don't wish to forget anything and you are using it for personal use.
    I haven't tried this tactic on the police yet, since the police are very good to deal with in my experiences. Just smile and be happy and they usually let you off.
    If any of you decide on this option. Don't abuse it as power, you may find yourself in deeper trouble than you were once in. It is also evidence that you are to use in a case. Don't ever let the tape out of your site unless you have made a copy or you are at the station (I am guessing at the station they will take it away from you for reviewing).
    Above all, do some research and make sure you do everything legal. Thai law is not that difficult just confusing in some areas. There are plenty of English and Thai copies on the net. English copies are not really legal, only the original Thai version is, but not all of the people in Thailand know this.
    Guys, really, just have fun and enjoy this country. Like all things you will meet the odd asshole out there trying to screw you. In reality it is you who has to make the choice. Do you want to let yourself get pushed around occasionaly or do you want to make sure justice is dealt correctly. If you do nothing you can't complain.

    "All that's necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world is for enough good men to do nothing."
  17. In Chiang Mai city it looks like the police are finally getting serious about the helmet law.
    They've made 2 attempts to stop me in the last 2 days (Feb 4 & 5), & normally they've never bothered me.
    Shyte, I don't like the look of this if we are forced to wear helmets in the city at 40 kph in 35 celsius heat!
    Lets hope it is a temporary revenue raising exercise.....

    Keep the power on
  18. Wear one of those war helmets. They're not much good in a an accident, but it is cool enough for riding around a city at slow speeds. Some of the Thais seem to be wearing a plastic looking helmets that seems to have been picked up from a toy shop somewhere. :p
  19. David, I've got one of those nazi helmets...stop by and pick it up anytime. I'm sure you'll give everyone a chuckle [8D]
  20. Well guys, I hate to be the lone dissenter but there always seems to be one. I don't care if you fall off your bike at 45 kph or while it's on the side stand, if you land on your head the results are not good. I would rather sweat a little than bleed a lot. I know all the arguements, and YES they should probably worry about more important things, but just my personal preference.

    Dave Early

    Ever notice that "What the Heck!" is usually the right answer?
  21. Well, in David's defence, some might say David's head is harder than some, possibly negating the need for a helmet at slow speeds.....I sense Orange Crush busses might be more worrisome to him [;)]
  22. Haha, nice.

    I agree with SilverhawkUSA but for 2 reasons. 1) I don't care how hot or humilating it is, my head is more important. 2) If I don't wear a helmet and don't die in an accident. My mum will hunt me down and kill me.
    I wont go as so far as wearing a helmet while it is on the kick stand though.. But as soon as the engine starts (off the kick stand) I have already got my helmet on..
  23. Silverhawk
    I dont disagree with the safety aspect, but it's a bit too hard for me to break a 20 yr habit at my age.
    I also (foolishly?) feel quite safe chugging around town at 20-40 kph most of the time.
    I accept that anything can happen at anytime, but do enjoy taking my chances.........I recall dropping my bike off at a car wash in Chiang Mai 12 years ago & stepping out from the gas station to cross the road to walk the 300 meters home when I got knocked over by a Honda Dream coming down the road the wrong way!
    Unfortunately I think that under the current govt. the time is coming whereby we all have to obey the law(s) & my pen rai is no longer good for business.

    Keep the power on
  24. I don't disagree either. Back at "home" they have been arguing the merits of the helmet laws for almost as long as I have been riding (many, many, many years)and the arguements keep coming. I don't mean to start that debate here. Like I said, just personal preference. But I think you are right, the writing is on the wall. Helmets, vehicle taxes, and soon number plates. Now if they could only figure out the unique concept of "Driver Education".

    Dave Early

    Ever notice that "What the Heck!" is usually the right answer?
  25. Hahahaha :) if only....

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