Man Dives into Khlong Saen Saep to Escape Police Checkpoint

Police and rescue officials wheel away Chatchawal Sapsin, 31, who jumped into Khlong Saen Saep on Wednesday morning to escape a police checkpoint.

BANGKOK — Rather than face the music at a late-night police checkpoint, one intrepid soul opted to hurl himself into one of the capital’s foulest and perilous canals early Wednesday morning.

Upon seeing a police checkpoint on Rama IX Road at about 3am, Chatchawal Sapsin, 31, turned his motorbike around, sped to a U-turn bridge under the Khlong Saen Saep, and leaped into its black, fetid waters.

“We didn’t even get to check him or charge him with anything yet. He wasn’t even a suspect in any case. But he dove into the khlong when he saw us,” Capt. Yotsawat Ariyanawasrikul of Hua Mark police said in a phone interview, unable to contain his laughter.

Yotsawat said he threw a plastic tank for Chatchawal to hold on. Chatchawal looked visibly tired as he tried to swim away for roughly half an hour, before rescue workers succeeded in pulling him up.

“I was afraid he would drown, because 90 percent of people who fall in die. We keep finding washed-up corpses,” he said.

Police then rushed Chatchawal on a stretcher to a nearby hospital, where the man escaped again.

“I think he was faking a serious reaction, so we would take him to the hospital rather than the police station.” the captain said. “At the hospital, he ran away again before doctors could check him out.”

Chatchawal remains at large. A man riding on the back of his motorcycle also fled the scene. Police found no drugs in Chatchawal’s bag. Still, the man forgot one important possession.

“His motorcycle is still with us at the police station. We’re waiting for him to come pick it up,” Yotsawat said, still laughing. “Still, I’m glad he’s okay.”

Khlong Saen Saep. Photo: Twentyfour Students / Flickr