Sunday, July 14, 2013

How to pay fine in Bangkok

The Post Offcie
One of the fun things living here is that, any roads can be made into your personal autobahn. Not our fault really because, come one, have you really seen any speed limit signs when travelling in the countryside? So driving is like as long as you don't kill anyone, you are not doing anything wrong here. Just beware of the herds crossing the roads. By herds, I refer to cows, buffalos and frequently the hordes of motorcycles scrambling across traffic light junctions when its green in your direction.

Eventually, however, one does get to learn speed limits on certain roads when a mail arrives at your office with a picture of you in your car. It will be printed on some flimsy paper, off colored with a greenish tint because the police had ran out of budget and decided not to refill certain cartridges in their inkjet. They send you a speeding ticket so that they could fund the refill of their inkjet. Now, why do they send the ticket to your office? Well that's because when purchasing a car, you will have to register your residential address with proof. Proof is a mysterious residential booklet that we expats can never get our names into. Thus the address in your work permit becomes your residential address. Strange thing this Kingdom of Thailand expects foreigner workers to work, eat sleep, shit and breed in our offices.

The letter that came, it's all in Thai even though they know your name is in no way vaguely showing any relation to Thais. Get your friends to read it. Exceeding a supposed 120 km speed limit by 7 km on Rama II road cost THB 400. Where to pay for it, my friend said post office. Can you not pay for it? Well, let me tell you that, for letters like these you need to. If not, the next time you are trying to renew your road tax, you will be unable to because the system had flagged you for the unpaid fine (yes, they do have a computerized system). What about for legally looking tickets received on some flimsy paper stuck to your wipers with some scribbling of a number for you to call and probably some neighborhood police station to go to? No need, tried and tested. I got one for parking up front a restaurant on a road side for dinner.

Off to the neighborhood post office I went. A small challenge faced trying to figure out how the queue system work. I saw a stack of laminated cards placed below some Thai writings. Does not take much for me to figure out I should be choosing the smallest number available and not the biggest one. Next listen to the Thai broadcast and await your turn (if you can understand Thai). I was truly impressed at the speed of things, 20 numbers processed in 20 minutes. When it was my turn, handed over the entire letter and the staff handed some Thai forms back for me to fill. And when she realized I was an "alien", some frowning but all goes well after. She did the fillings for me and told me where to sign what. I get the basic idea that I will need to purchase 2 envelops. One they send to the police with a cashier's order which I paid for the fine. The other is a return envelop which I wrote my address on, that's where the receipt is to be sent to (yes, they will politely send you a receipt for funding the refill of their inkjet). Cost a mere THB 80 for the deliveries. And then I was done.

So in summary, post office = place to pay for speeding tickets.