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The chief of police in Rayong has been ordered transferred to clerical duties for 30 days pending an investigation into how a tattoo contest was allowed at a downtown shopping center.
The contest featured many young men and women baring all but their essentials to show off their tattoos as children and young shoppers mingled in the crowd.
Though many netizens deemed the tattoo contest a bit of fun many people thought it was highly inappropriate in a public area in conservative Thailand.
The owners of the shopping center – Laemthong, now renamed as Passion Shopping Destination according to Thai Rath – said they were awfully sorry about it all. There was no one there to stop it after the contest started, they said.
It was held at the weekend.
The police have fined four organizers 5,000 baht each – the top whack for offending Article 388 that relates to lewd and obscene public displays.
But the police themselves are also under scrutiny.
Provincial chief Traisoon Niamsap ordered on Monday that the Rayong police chief should be transferred for 30 days pending an investigation.
A committee of inquiry has been set up to investigate the matter while Damrong Uansoongnern is shuffling paper at HQ.
The suggestion is that the cops allowed lewd behavior in public in their jurisdiction.
But in a further twist Thai Rath added an intriguing layer of “Thai-ness” to the drama.
They said that the kerfuffle and the transfer of the chief could all be related to the trimming of a couple of intertwined trees out front of the Rayong police station.
The last time – 20 years ago – that the “wandering Jew” and Bo trees were pruned – the chief ended up being transferred. Only after he performed a “graap” (prostration) in a well publicized apology was he able to return to his duties where he remained until retirement.
The Thai media called the trees “magical” in their report.