Live Football on TV – What`s the worst that can happen?

When a gun was put to my face I realised my Saturday night watching football on TV hadn`t quite gone to plan.

This is a true story from an island in Thailand

My restaurant was full with diners and customers watching football when several guys representing the TV broadcaster for English Premiership football came in, accompanied by 2 police officers. Upon them not being satisfied with our paperwork I popped down to the nearby police station with them to sort it out.

They demanded money for not having some kind of poster up saying that we could show the football. I smelt a rat. My pregnant wife, young son and I were dragged from my car as we decided to leave.

Marched to an ATM at gunpoint they got what they came for. 60,000 baht.  By this time the boys in brown had vanished, assured no doubt of their cut. Thinking this might be a small price to pay to get out of this situation, I figured that was it.

Wrong! Perhaps due to my strong verbal protests we were then made to drive to the main police station. Where my wife was forced to sign a false account of the evenings proceedings. But again no police in sight.

“Take it on the chin”, “Suck it up” was the advice from the long term ex pats. But how can this be right? Surely someone can do something? The British Embassy listened to the whole saga and then said “Have you reported this to the police?”

After approaching the top army guy he listened patiently to the story, called the police to come and see him. They said “No!” so that was that.

We managed to get hold of the hard-to-get-hold-of  TV broadcaster, or so we thought. They agreed it was an outrage and would send a delegation down to us. In fact they had already decided to give me my 60,000 baht back and could I give them my bank details. Err, No! Never  heard from them again.

Yes I know now it was a scam but at the time they were very convincing. The CCTV and photos we took inside my restaurant didn`t put them off.  But when you have the police in cahoots and the tacit agreement of the mafia families why would it.

Anytime I hear the Army or politicians say they are going to stamp out corruption, you can imagine how much that makes me smile.