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Survey reveals most Thais believe in widespread protection of ‘influential figures’

Police corruption in Thailand
PHOTO: Police corruption in Thailand

In a recent opinion poll conducted by the National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA Poll), a significant number of respondents voiced their belief that select Thai police and politicians “discreetly shield and support” individuals wielding mafia-like influence in Thailand.

The survey, initiated in the aftermath of a police officer’s murder allegedly linked to a prominent political figure in Nakhon Pathom province, engaged 1,310 individuals from diverse backgrounds across Thailand to gauge their perceptions regarding potential ties between influential figures and state officials.

From September 12 – 14, participants aged 18 and above represented a broad spectrum of educational backgrounds, occupations and income levels.

When questioned about the presence of influential or mafia-like individuals in their respective provinces…

  • 49.54% believed there were no such figures in their locality.
  • 26.34% identified local politicians.
  • 15.95% mentioned village chiefs, sub-district heads, and assistant village chiefs.
  • 15.80% pointed to the police.
  • 13.21% cited government officials at central, regional, and local levels.
  • 12.14% referenced gray-area businessmen, entrepreneurs, and investors.
  • 5.04% referred to national-level politicians.
  • 4.81% acknowledged the presence of local gang members and thugs.
  • 2.44% specifically mentioned military personnel.
  • 0.76% included community leaders and committee members.
  • 0.38% implicated figures from the mass media and entertainment industry.
  • 5.95% either did not know, did not respond, or were not interested.

When asked whether they had the courage to voice concerns against influential figures…

  • 60.30% unequivocally stated they would not.
  • 16.34% indicated a preference not to do so.
  • 12.75% claimed they possessed some degree of courage.
  • 9.08% expressed a possibility of doing so.
  • 1.53% either did not know, did not respond, or were not interested.

When queried about their confidence in the protection and fairness offered by police officers and state officials when confronted by influential figures…

  • 38.93% had no confidence whatsoever.
  • 37.10% lacked significant confidence.
  • 13.51% had a moderate level of confidence.
  • 9.92% expressed considerable confidence.
  • 0.54% either did not know, did not respond, or were not interested.

When asked if they believed some state officials and police officers secretly shield influential figures…

  • 59.77% strongly believed it.
  • 26.49% somewhat believed it.
  • 8.32% believed it to some extent.
  • 4.35% did not believe it significantly.
  • 1.07% either did not know, did not respond, or were not interested.

The survey results shed light on the prevailing perceptions among the Thai populace regarding covert relationships between state officials and powerful figures, highlighting a widespread belief in such connections.

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