Graft advertised online

your say April 12, 2012 00:00

We all know that corruption, graft and bribery are ingrained in the Thai bureaucracy and business dealings. But I was a little taken aback when I found a website that actually advertises that if you are willing to pay "tea money" it can assist you with yo

I was surfing the Internet looking for a customs’ clearance agent to assist an Australian friend who is shipping personal affects to Thailand prior to moving here for his retirement.

There in the body copy of the website for a Thai customs broker was the following:

“Thailand customs brokers undertake the normal services of ensuring that all the import/export paperwork is processed and the goods enter or leave the ports as scheduled. They also serve a very important function as well. They make sure that the ‘Tea Money’ is correctly and evenly distributed. A young lady in a shipping office commented one day that a customer just called, a farang ... he was very irate and refused to pay his bill, saying that he had been scammed and would not pay any bribes. Ah well, she said, ‘Mai pen rai’, maybe he pay (sic) next Christmas because his goods will still be there.”

The website concluded with this: “Looking for a good Thai Customs Broker and don’t mind the ‘tea money’ then please email … with your request.”

To paraphrase the above: If you want to illegally bribe the Thai government and business officials to do the job for which they are already paid, please contact us and we will do it for you.

So much for the highest-level talk about cleaning up corruption in this country. That is all it is: talk!

David Brown