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Female Bodyguards For Thailand's Next Prime Minister

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SPECIAL REPORT

Female bodyguards for Thailand's next prime minister

By Budsarakham Sinlapalavan

Peeradej Tanruangporn

The Nation

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When Yingluck Shinawatra takes up her post as leader of the new government, Thailand won't just have a female prime minister. Her bodyguards, too, are likely to be drawn from the fairer sex.

"Female bodyguards are able to remain closer to female VIPs," said Pol Lt-Colonel Korakarn Arunplod, who is among the first generation of female bodyguards in Thailand.

Korakarn started her career as a bodyguard in 1995. Among the VIPs she has taken care of are Hillary Rodham Clinton, Empress Michiko of Japan and members of the Thai Royal Family.

She suggested that PM-elect Yingluck should have both male and female bodyguards. Beyond issues of security, having bodyguards of both sexes would create the best image.

And there are more practical concerns: "It is not appropriate for male bodyguards to enter private spaces such as women's bathrooms." She added that women were better at coordinating than men, though men were generally stronger.

The Special Branch Police Division (SBPD), Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) and Armed Forces Security Centre (AFSC) are the three institutions that usually provide bodyguards for Thai prime ministers.

However, the female bodyguards Yingluck used during her election campaign were from the airborne division of the Border Patrol Police Bureau (BPPB).

Pol Lt-General Prayoon Amarit, chief of the BPPB, said the institution assigned four female bodyguards to take care of Yingluck during her campaign as requested. All MP candidates can request officers for protection during election-campaign periods.

The mission is considered complete if the candidate does not get elected; if the candidate is elected, then the bodyguards have to remain with the candidate until he or she officially becomes a member of Parliament. In the July 3 election, more than 400 candidates requested bodyguards and the police assigned more than 900 officers to the task.

"Once Yingluck officially becomes prime minister, if she does not request the same group of bodyguards, then other relevant security forces will assign bodyguards for her," Prayoon said.

To become a bodyguard, the officers of the BPPB must be trained to protect very important persons (VIPs), he said. In addition to the usual police training, which includes guns, driving and parachuting, VIP protection training also teaches crowd-control tactics and techniques for remaining close and attending to the VIP.

Because the task is very physically demanding, requiring the person to be constantly vigilant and sometimes miss sleep, the team consists only of women aged 20 to 35, Prayoon said.

Normally the SBPD is in charge of providing security for VIPs and important events, he said. However, it may request officers from other police forces, including the BPPB. He added that female officers were also used for other security tasks involving women. For instance, they may guard the wives of VIPs or accompany VIPs when they meet female crowds.

Prayoon said bodyguards were also responsible for analysing and assessing situations. They are responsible for requesting more officers as needed to cope with different stress levels.

Bodyguards for Yingluck may also come from other police divisions such as the MPB's recently created all-woman 1st Crowd Control Division, named "Noppamas". The Royal Thai Police created the unit specifically to deal with the surge in protests over the past few years.

The front lines of both red-shirt and yellow-shirt protests are primarily composed of women, children and older people. This requires more tolerance and softer treatment from crowd-control police. The increasing awareness of rights, especially women's rights, also requires police to be more careful and respectful in their handling of others.

An all-woman company was created with the insight that female officers can help reduce tension when interacting with protesters, whether through their demeanour or the image they present. They have been trained rigorously for the task.

Competition to get into Noppamas is tough. Applicants have to be aged 20-25, have a bachelor's degree and be taller than 160 centimetres to apply. "Of more than 10,000 applicants, only 95 were accepted into the unit," said Alisa Plaengwech, a Noppamas bodyguard.

Training is divided into three phases, taking more than six months: physical training, field combat and crowd control.

"During the second training phase, we had to carry a 12-kilogram sandbag, a 4kg rifle and other belongings all day. We lived in the forest and carried out mock battles," said Wijittra Sangsri, another bodyguard. She said female guards could help ease tense situations because women were gentler than men.

Bodyguard Piyachat Kamsampha told The Nation about her VIP protection training. "We were taught how to prioritise the VIP's safety and honour," she said.

The toughest part of the training was being forced to endure tear gas. "We had to sit there and could not make a move. It was pure torture. But we passed the test," she said.

But despite the toughness of the training, Wijittra said she was still concerned about her appearance. She woke up earlier than everyone else - so she had time to put her makeup on.

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-- The Nation 2011-07-16

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I can'twait for the odd comments on this thread. :lol:

At keast they expect Mme. Yingluck to be the PM. This has a James Bond movie plot brewing.

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She said female guards could help ease tense situations because women were gentler than men.

She forgot to add "three weeks a month"

//edit/ that do GK?

Edited by Thaddeus

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A perfect career opportunity for all of the katoeys out there, most are over the required 160cm they can deal with large crowds and have been known to get physical.

The other benefit for those being protected is the distraction factor.Attacking would be assailants stopped in their tracks to answer the age old question "is she or isn't she ".biggrin.gif

Edited by dumpling

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"It is not appropriate for male bodyguards to enter private spaces such as women's bathrooms."

But it's ok for female cleaners to mop around your feet when you're trying to take a leak in the mens room at 'Lotut':wub:

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The other benefit for those being protected is the distraction factor.Attacking would be assailants stopped in their tracks to answer the age old question "is she or isn't she ".biggrin.gif

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"It is not appropriate for male bodyguards to enter private spaces such as women's bathrooms."

But it's ok for female cleaners to mop around your feet when you're trying to take a leak in the mens room at 'Lotut':wub:

:lol:

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"It is not appropriate for male bodyguards to enter private spaces such as women's bathrooms."

But it's ok for female cleaners to mop around your feet when you're trying to take a leak in the mens room at 'Lotut':wub:

Haha...I was gonna post something similar

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Bearing in mind that all political violence and intimidation over the last 5 years or so has been directly or indirectly caused by the good Dr in exile for his own benefit, I would have thought that a spring lamb or small fluffy animal (chinchilla? or hampster even) would be perfectly adequate as Yinglucks bodyguard.

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"She added that women were better at coordinating than men, though men were generally stronger"

Generally?

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Interesting point in this is that her campaign bodyguards were all from Border Patrol.

The border patrol has sided clearly with Team Thaksin and PTP consistently,

and seem to be one of the few police groupings that the Shin clan trust.

Edited by animatic

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History has shown that the so called trusted body guards of several national leaders of the world, can have second thoughts. It must be hell to reach a sought after government position and then realize that you have to depend on others to keep you from harms way. It would seem that even family, cannot be trusted entirely.

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I have had two Thai female body guards. They were very observant. For the same reason females don't make good race car drivers they make great body guards. They observe everything all the time instead on focusing on one small area. My body guards could pick out any threat and steer me clear of the area even in a crowded mall or at a concert. And they never forget a face or a voice. Years later I would be reminded of this or that. I had completely forgotten. Not the ladies, minds of steel never erased. If the ladies run out of bullets they can throw a shoe with deadly accuracy. Since women who work together eventually get on the same monthly cycle (maybe this is an old wives tale) there might be a couple of days a month when it would be advisable to stay away from the PM and her staff at the risk of getting shot.

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A perfect career opportunity for all of the katoeys out there, most are over the required 160cm they can deal with large crowds and have been known to get physical.

The other benefit for those being protected is the distraction factor.Attacking would be assailants stopped in their tracks to answer the age old question "is she or isn't she ".biggrin.gif

"is she or isn't she ".biggrin.gif to be fair I have seen many women that have given me cause to ask the same question.

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If they do have female bodyguards, make sure they switch off their phones while at work.

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