Thai cops punished by Hello Kitty
The Hello Kitty cartoon character is known across Asia
Police chiefs in the Thai capital, Bangkok, have come up with a new way of punishing officers who break the rules - an eye-catching Hello Kitty armband.
The armband is large, bright pink and has a Hello Kitty motif with two hearts embroidered on it.
From today, officers who are late, park in the wrong place or commit other minor transgressions will have to wear it for several days.
The armband is designed to shame the wearer, police officials said.
"This is to help build discipline. We should not let small offences go unnoticed," Police Colonel Pongpat Chayapan told ******* news agency.
"Guilty officers will be made to wear the armbands in the office for a few days, with instructions not to disclose their offences. Let people guess what they have done," he said.
Further offences would be dealt with using a more traditional disciplinary panel, he said.
The cartoon character Hello Kitty was first introduced by Japanese company Sanrio in 1974.
The cute round-faced cat has become an Asia-wide marketing phenomenon, with Hello Kitty products such as stationery, hair accessories and kitchen appliances available across the region.
POLICE / DISCIPLINARY MEASURES
Turning pink with shame
A pink ''Hello Kitty'' armband wrapped around a khaki-clad arm is shouting for attention at the police Crime Suppression Division.
It is a new disciplinary measure introduced especially for police investigators who refuse to play by the rules.
Starting this week, the warning will come in the form of the popular Japanese cat cartoon sitting on a heart on a pink background.
''The same old warnings no longer work for some officers,'' CSD acting chief Pongpat Chayaphan said.
''This new approach is intended to engender a feeling of guilt and discourage them from repeating the offence.''
Pol Gen Pongpat said 10 armbands were available. In addition to wearing it, a first-time offender must accompany the officer rostered as deputy chief of the day. That means walking to all parts of the CSD office, and being seen wearing the armband.
The wearers are prohibited from disclosing their offence with other officers or discussing the armband.
In the case of a second offence, a panel comprising 18 warrant officers will decide on an appropriate punishment, which could be standing guard, or detention, or even a harsher penalty. This would have to be approved by the CSD chief.
Pol Gen Pongpat said police must practise self discipline. Otherwise, their behaviour could get out of hand to the point of abusing the law or mistreating the public.
''Like a thief, once the first crime is committed the next one is always a worse offence,'' he said.
Offences liable to earn an officer the pink Kitty include failing to report for duty, parking in a prohibited area, fighting, or being the subject of a complaint about poor service.
Policemen see it as a bitter pill to swallow. Most agree it would be quite embarrassing to have to wear the pink armband, which stands out in vivid contrast against their uniform.
When a verbal warning is not taken seriously, the Crime Suppression Division will get tough _ by handing out pink "Hello Kitty" armbands to undisciplined police investigators.