Crazy cop back in circulation

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The Independent Online
THAILAND'S most famous traffic cop, who last year caused havoc when he switched all the traffic lights to green at a busy crossroads and danced in the road, is back - and denying that he ever had any problems, writes Terry McCarthy.

Corporal Suradej Chumnet, who was sent to a psychiatric hospital to be treated for stress and given a long holiday, is again directing traffic and enjoying it. He achieved international fame when he danced in Bangkok's Rama IX Road, one of the busiest intersections in one of the world's most congested cities.

To the millions of Thais who spend hours every day on their capital's clogged roads - some even keep bedpans in their cars to answer nature's call - Corporal Suradej had simply snapped under unreasonable pressure. His dance expressed perfectly the frustration of drivers who have to pay a toll to drive on an 'expressway' at an average speed of less than 2mph.

Corporal Suradej has been put to work on a less busy intersection to ease him back into his routine. But Bangkok's traffic continues to worsen: two weeks ago, after some flooding, commuters who left their offices at 5pm were still stuck on the road at 2am.

Veterans of the mega-jams question Corporal Suradej's sanity - because he insists on returning to his old job. But the corporal denies that he had a breakdown when he did his dance: apparently this was all made up by the media. 'Through my sixth sense, I saw a procession of the late King Chulalongkorn . . . so I pressed all the traffic lights to give the procession free passage . . . I danced to greet the procession,' he told the Bangkok Post. King Chulalongkorn died in 1910.