(29 January) Police officers at the Police Club have been alarmed by discovery of small CCTVs on mobile toilets provided by Bangkok authority.
The cameras were reportedly attached to toilet paper cartridges next to the sinks on both male and female mobile toilet cars stationed at the Police Club, which serves as headquarters of the Center for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO).
The mobile toilets are operated by the Bangkok Metropolitan Authority (BMA).
Officers who used the toilet during daytime were the first to notice the camera, which surprised and shocked many police officers who fear their privacy might have been infringed.
The discovery also came at a time when relationship between the Pheu Thai government and the Democrat-led Bangkok authority is said to be immensely strained.
Mr. Sanya Mingma, the BMA official in charge of operating the mobile toilet buses, stated that the authority has dispatched 6 such buses to the Police Club as requested by CMPO.
The cameras were installed on the mobile toilets for security reasons after the Redshirts protests in 2010, in which some BMA properties had been looted and torched, Mr. Sanya claimed.
He asserted that only 4 out of new-generation mobile toilets have been equipped with such cameras so far.
Mr. Sanya also explained that the cameras are only aimed to capture images of potential wrongdoers, as they point to a stairways leading into and out of the bus. He denied the possibility that the camera was zooming into the toilets or the urinals section.
Meanwhile, Mr. Banjong Sookdee, Deputy Permanent Secretary of BMA, refused to comment about the news, citing the need for further investigation.
However, he explained that the cameras were attached to prevent crimes involving the mobile toilets, such as the torching of one mobile toilet "in July 2013", the assault of a child near Tiger God Shrine in Bangkok′s old quarters, and the use of illegal substances in male toilet.
The Deputy Permanent Secretary stressed that installment of the cameras was only an experiment to prevent the crimes, and to protect the safety of the public.
Mr. Banjong also insisted that BMA did not harbour any ill intention behind the dispatch of two mobile toilets equipped with such cameras to the Police Club.
The Bangkok Governor, Mr. Sukhumbhand Paribatra, likewise declared that he had no insincere motive against the CMPO in any way, and he did not intend to send the buses with CCTVs to CMPO in particular, as the buses were randomly shuffled in different locations every now and then due to flood of requests for the mobile toilets.
Each bus is not meant to go to any specific place, said Mr. Sukhumbhand, who also offered that the BMA is ready to remove the cameras if any parties are made uncomfortable by the devices.
"If the CMPO would like to question us, the BMA is willing to answer any question," Mr. Sukhumbhand told reporters, "But if CMPO has nothing to hide, then there is nothing CMPO should worry about"
He added, "I don′t want to spy on anyone".
For comments, or corrections to this article please contact: [email protected]