Car Chase in Chiang Mai
I had just arrived in Chiang Mai for a week long visit. I checked into a hotel and rented a nice new car which was parked in the car park opposite the hotel. After a nap I went out into the balmy night to see the sights. I tooled the car down through the market area with a cassette of Simply Irresistible (Robert Palmer) playing loudly on the stereo. I felt good!
I drove around for a while and noticed the same car seemed to be always nearby. I sped up and did a few turns but the car always showed up. Was it following me? Nah! I was being paranoid. A while later the car was still there. I took the road which runs along the river and put my foot down. I really swung the car around those curves. But the car still followed me. Was I about to be mugged? Car jacked?
I remembered that at the end of the road the tarmac petered out and there was dirt turning circle. I did a handbrake turn at speed and raced back the way I had come – passing the car coming the other way. I saw three Thai men with surprise on their faces. It only took them a short time to catch up and I resolved to confront them. I found my way to the market area and when I found a spot where there were the most people I slammed on my brakes and leapt out. They stopped short only feet away and I stormed up shouting, “What do you want? Why are you following me?”
The driver just smiled at me…and showed me his ID. They were cops! It turned out that the car had been stolen in Bangkok a couple of weeks before by a ring of car thieves. Imagine their surprise when it showed up being driven by a “farang”. Could I be part of an international ring of car thieves? The answer was not so dramatic. The guy who rented me the car had only recently bought the franchise (for a very well known international car hire company) and had bought some cars from Bangkok. As Chiang Mai is a fair way from Bangkok it would seem that the car thieves thought it would not be noticed. Unluckily for them a “farang” was driving it and playing rock music which is what caught the attention of the police.
Everyone had a good laugh about it but I didn’t get to drive that particular car again.