A New Zealander’s Sweat-Soaked Tale of Being Busted for Drugs in Bangkok


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A New Zealander’s Sweat-Soaked Tale of Being Busted for Drugs in Bangkok

"Obviously I felt invincible, because I’m high on coke, obviously nothing is going to go wrong."

(As told to James Borrowdale. Top image via Flickr.)

It was my last night in Bangkok and I had been there for a couple of weeks. I went out to meet a friend. I turned up to the bar and everybody was pretty smashed. There were some drugs around. About 10 minutes after arriving someone gave me a nosebag and took me to the toilets. The line was huge, with a whole lot of sweaty people outside it.

We were partying for a while and then everybody left and we went to another bar. The order went in for some more bags. It was about 3:30 AM. People were a little bit cautious because the bar was next to a police station. Dealers were a little hesitant to deliver. But they did, and we got a gram. I met some Australian guys there, a guy and his younger brother—we decided at the last minute to jump in a taxi back to my hotel because there was some mini bar action going.


We had to stop and get cigarettes. We were driving along in the taxi at probably 80 km/h and then in the distance we saw a roadblock, police lights flashing. We slowed down. At that point the ideas of how bad it is getting caught with drugs in Asia started to get into the brain. I was sitting in the middle seat. I got the drugs out of my pocket and put them on the ground and kicked them under the driver's seat. They got everybody out of the taxi. They split us all up and they started searching us—they checked my socks, my shoes, my cap. They searched us properly.

I looked over and saw them pull the drugs out with one hand and lifted it up with a torch shining on it. I was then like, ok, cool, we're cooked.

I didn't really know the Australians, either. Obviously, I was inviting them back to my hotel with my drugs, and I didn't know what they were going to say. They could've easily snitched. Obviously I felt invincible, because I'm high on coke, obviously nothing is going to go wrong. Then I looked over and saw them pull the drugs out with one hand and lifted it up with a torch shining on it. I was then like, ok, cool, we're cooked.

They shuffled us under a tree. I was sitting next to the two Australians and you could sort of talk under your breath. I was saying, "Don't worry, everything will be fine." They were a bit younger. I just told them, deny, deny, deny.

Image via Flickr.

The cops were trying to get us to admit the drugs were ours. There was miscommunication everywhere. The point when I started to think about going to prison was when I was getting shuffled into a taxi. I was like, which fucking police station? I didn't know where I was. I didn't even know which way north was.


We got driven to the police station. We got put in a room, about seven metres by three. It had a desk in the middle. The main cop who could speak English sat on one side, we sat on the other. There were 15-20 other cops scattered round the room. It was the police station that was next to the bar we were at earlier.

The younger Australian was fine because he didn't know that we had cocaine. He was quite charming to the cops. Optimistic, because he didn't know the severity of what could happen. The older guy and I knew how this could turn out.

I was demanding a phone call, but I didn't know who the fuck I'd call. I was like, I need to call my lawyer—I don't have a fucking lawyer. It was just one step at a time—I was going to figure it out as I was dialling the number. They weren't that interested in letting me have a call.

I'm sweating from places that I didn't know sweat could come from. My pupils are huge.

They started saying they were going to test us for cocaine. We were like, "Na, we're not going to do that." They pulled us outside. They were definitely aggressive. They'd grab you and put you in place, they pushed us into the police station. Intimidation tactics. It was a shakedown; I get it.
It's now about 6 AM. I'm also visibly high. I'm sweating from places that I didn't know sweat could come from. My pupils are huge. I was ranting about a phone call, so they said I could have it if I did the piss test. To the other guys, I was like, "We've got to bribe them now, before it goes into the system—do you know how to bribe?" The older Australian was like, "We'll pay the fine." They just looked at us and laughed and said, "There's no fine. You guys are going to jail for a long time."


I thought a piss test had to go away to be analysed, that there was some distance between the piss and the result. Nope, it's pretty much instant. I pissed like four millilitres into the jar—in some part of my brain I thought that maybe the first bit of piss hadn't been touched by the cocaine yet. Surely the cocaine can't have gone from my nose to the tip of my dick. Two out of three of us tested positive. I can vouch for the accuracy of the test. The cops were full of so much joy when they saw the positive result.

I could feel sweat dripping from the back of my ear onto my neck. My collar was sodden. They sat us down. I was worried that the two brothers would say they were my drugs. I could make my phone call now, so I got my phone out of my pocket and was like, my dad, my company? None made any sense. I called a Thai friend I had been partying with earlier. She told me that I needed to bribe them. I was like, "We don't really know how—we've never had to before." I asked her to speak to them. The phone went over to them.

They passed the phone back over and my friend told me we had to make an offer. I was like, should I start with $10,000? She was like, "Na dude, like 10,000 baht [approximately $NZ400]." Things started feeling pretty good at that moment—I mean, that's just the price of a gram of cocaine in New Zealand. The phone went back to the police officer. At that point it felt like they weren't going to put us in jail. It went up double, and he wanted it per person. I said ok, and we had to go to an ATM.

The police car was really well air-conditioned. It was the first time I had felt cool. Everything was so hot and awful, but the car was so nice. I got the money out. We drove back. I went in and gave a nod to the English speaker. He gave me a little telling off. I pulled the money out of my pocket and he pointed to the police chief's table, and I put it down. I saw the chief nod.

Then they told me to call my friend back. She told me, "You've gotta say sorry. Just apologise." I looked up from the phone, looked him in the eyes, and said, "I'm sorry." He spoke to my friend again, then he handed the phone to me and she told me everything was fine, I could leave now. I walked out.

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