Successful Farang Police

On Per Butler’s uniform, it reads ‘Tourist Police Volunteer Phuket’. As a voluntary member of the tourist police force he patrols the streets of Patong Beach a couple of nights a month.              
 “Tourists are glad we are on the streets, as it makes it easier for them to come in contact with the police, but they usually look at us twice, when we walk down the street in our uniforms. The first time they just look briefly at us, but then they have to take another look to believe that their eyes did not deceive them. They just do not expect to see Farangs wearing uniforms in Thailand,” he laughs. Per Butler said that the main purpose of the volunteer tourist police is to help tourists get a nice and safe holiday in Thailand and to assist the Thai Police with translation if tourists get into trouble.                     
The volunteers usually assist tourists with minor things. If the tourists have lost the keys or had a few drinks too many to remember which hotel they stay at, the volunteer police is there to help. But tourists can get them self into major trouble in no time and need assistance from the volunteer police. Thanks to some of Per Butler’s colleagues an Austrian tourist got out of a potentially very serious situation. 
According to Per Butler the Austrian man went jet skiing on the last day of his Phuket holiday. When he got back to the beach, he realized he was in serious trouble. Apparently he had hit a Thai diver on the head with the jet skis. The diver was knocked unconscious and drowned and the Austrian guy did not even know that he had hit him.
“He could be facing charges of involuntary manslaughter, but my colleagues helped him talking to the Thai Police. In the end the Thai Police realized that the diver had been diving illegally and without any marking, so instead of going to jail, the Austrian tourist was released and made his scheduled flight home that night,” Per Butler explains.
“Every time a VIP from Bangkok arrives at Phuket, we are asked to show up, so the VIP can have their picture taken with us and quite often we have dinner with the VIP afterwards, so that really shows the people in charge are in favour of the volunteer tourist police.”
 However, Per Butler has one wish for the future of the volunteer tourist police.
“More and more tourists come to Phuket and they are pleased that we can assist them. But it would be nice if more people would volunteer. We are 35 now, but we hope to be 60 tourist police volunteer officers, so please sign up,” Per Butler requests.        
“The Thais are very good at accepting farangs living in Thailand, but you get even more accepted, when you do something active to make things even better. Quite often when the Thais see us walking down the street wearing the uniform, they give us thumbs up. That is a nice feeling,” the 54 year old Dane tells.
The 54 year old Dane ran his travel agency in 2000 in Patong Beach, where he is welcome to join the volunteer tourist in giving something back to the community. Outside the building waves a flag from the Danish football club F.C. København representing Rungsted where he is raised up. After a divorce in the mid 80´s Per Butler was not exactly having the time of his life. To cheer Per Butler up a friend suggested that they did a seven months tour leader course. “That was a good idea. I have always been interested in traveling and after my divorce, I certainly did not mind that 14 girls and only three guys attended class,” he laughs.      
“Being a tour leader is so different to being a carrier in many ways. Most important is that when you are working as tour leader you are evaluated all the time by the guests who follow your every move. When I did my carrier route I never got any response what so ever, so being a tour leader was much more rewarding to me,” he explains, while a song by Danish rock star Tim Christensen is playing in the background. The initial idea of Wild Kingdom Tours was to arrange jungle tours, but the market proved too small to focus only on that.
Quickly guests suggested that Per Butler arranged other kinds of tours as well, so today he arrange all kinds of tours all over Thailand. The catalogue offers diving, trekking, golfing, river rafting or even a one day trip to Myanmar should you need to renew your visa.  
“It is just like in a good bar. You need to have all the different type of alcohol. Even the rather odd ones, only few people choose, but the wide selection has to be there to keep all customers happy,” he says from his seat on a bench next to the window in his office.                                      
To meet the wishes of more customers Per Butler is planning to arrange tours to orchid farms and to agricultural projects in northern Thailand, where farmers have given up growing poppies for making opium. In stead they are growing fruits and vegetables not that common to Thailand like peaches, kiwis, apples and strawberries.
Per Butler is hoping for even more business – to a certain extent.
“We are five people in the company and I really do not want it to grow much bigger. I think I will have a better life as long as I know everything that is going on in the company,” he smiles before going back to his desk. There is work to be done to fulfil the dreams of future Phuket visitors.

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