Border Patrol Police

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Border Patrol Police
Border Patrol Police
Active 1951–present
Country  Thailand
Branch Royal Thai Police
Type Paramilitary force
Role Border Security

Border Patrol Police (Thai: ตำรวจตระเวนชายแดน) is a Thai paramilitary force responsible for border security and Counter-insurgency.


The Thai Border Patrol Police was organized in the 1951 with assistance from the United States Central Intelligence Agency. Although technically part of the Royal Thai Police, the BPP has always enjoyed a great deal of autonomy within the national headquarters as well as in its multifaceted field operations. The royal family was a principal patron of the organization. This traditional relationship benefited both the palace and its paramilitary protectors. Many BPP commanders were former army officers.[1]


Presenting Border Patrol Police Colours
File:PoliceColours (6).jpg
Border Patrol Police Colours

National Organization

  • Headquarters Border Patrol Police Bureau
    • General Staff Division
  • Tactical Training Division
  • Support Division
  • Nawut Sometya Hospital
  • Aerial Reinforcement Unit (PARU)
  • Village Scout Center
  • BPP Regional Divisions 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Field organization

Hundreds of Thirty-two-man platoons form the basic operating units of the BPP, each platoon was supported by one or more heavy weapons platoons stationed at the regional and area RTP headquarters. PARU can airlift BPP platoons to troubled areas when an emergency arises. Armed with modern light infantry equipment, the BPP also benefited from training by United States Army Special Forces advisers who helped establish an instruction program during the 1960s.

The BPP served as an important adjunct to the Thai military and often operated under army (and sometimes the Royal Thai Marine Corps) control during counterinsurgency operations.

BPP units stationed along the Cambodian and Laotian borders following the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in 1979 often served as the first line of defense and bore the brunt of Vietnamese attacks.

In order to carry out its primary intelligence mission, the BPP operates numerous civic action programs to cultivate and maintain rapport with remote area villagers and hill tribes. They have built and operate numerous schools in remote areas and helping the army to construct offices for civilian administration, they also operate rural medical aid stations, gave farmers agricultural assistance, and built small airstrips for communication and transportation purposes.

Border Patrol Police Aerial Resupply Unit

The Border Patrol Police Aerial Resupply Unit (BPP PARU or just PARU) is the BPP's special forces unit responsible for training and supporting airborne operations, airborne reinforcement, disaster and accident rescue, and supporting special missions under the command of the Border Patrol Police. All members of PARU are trained for airborne operations including free-fall jumps. PARU provides support to the BPP headquarters within two hours.

PARU also conducts training for the following:

  • unconventional warfare, international counter-terrorism prevention, and parachute training of the Royal Thai Police.
  • disaster and accident rescue on land and water including air-sea rescue.

Subordinate paramilitary forces

Volunteer Defense Corps

The BPP organized the paramilitary Volunteer Defense Corps or VDC (the Or Sor) in 1954 to provide law and order and emergency or natural disaster response. This was done in response to complaints of banditry and harassment by subversive organizations. The VDC had the main responsibility for protecting local inhabitants from threats and intimidation by guerrillas who had infiltrated the border provinces from neighboring Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia. Its mission is to deny the insurgents access to the food and other supplies that made villages and farms favorite targets. VDC members were trained by the BPP. In 1974 it was expanded by the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) to urban areas to fight left-wing political activism. In the late 1980s, VDC strength was estimated at roughly 33,000, down from a peak of about 52,000 in 1980. Part of the reduction was absorbed by the formation of the Thahan Phran, a paramilitary unit formed to counter communist insurgents. They were reinvigorated and have played a role in the fighting the South Thailand insurgency since 2004.[2]

Village Scouts

Main article: Village Scouts

The BPP, together with the Ministry of Interior, backed and sponsored the 1971 establishment of the "Village Scouts", a right-wing rural vigilante group and paramilitary militia.[3] The village scouts were to counter the communist insurgency and the pro-democracy movement of the 1970s. Soon after the establishment, five million Thais (10% of the population) went through the organisation's initiation rite and took its five-day training course. The Village Scouts conducted the anti-leftist rally that led to the Thammasat University massacre and bloody coup d'état on 6 October 1976.[4] The Village Scouts disappeared around 1981, but were revived around 2004 against the backdrop of the Muslim separatist conflict in South Thailand.[5] In the 21st century Internet censorship, the village-scout concept was extended to ลูกเสือบนเครือข่ายอินเทอร์เน็ต or cyber scouts.[6]

Thahan Phran

Main article: Thahan Phran

The 10,600 member Thahan Phran ("Rangers") was formed as a volunteer militia force deployed in active trouble spots along the Cambodian and Burmese borders. The organization followed a military structure and had 32 regiments and 196 companies. The Thahan Phran gained considerable publicity and incurred significant casualties during Vietnamese bombardments and local assaults along the Cambodian border.[7] Since 2004, they have deployed to counter the South Thailand insurgency.[8]

See also


  2. "Southern Thailand: The Problem with Paramilitaries", Asia Report, International Crisis Group (140): 14–15, 23 October 2007 
  3. Anderson, Benedict (1998), The Spectre of Comparisons: Nationalism, Southeast Asia, and the World, Verso, p. 159 
  4. Suksamran, Somboon (1982), Buddhism and politics in Thailand, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, pp. 79–80 
  5. Horstmann, Alexander (2007), "Violence, Subversion and Creativity in the Thai-Malaysian Borderland", Borderscapes: Hidden Geographies and Politics at Territory's Edge, University of Minnesota Press, p. 149 
  6. Nicholas Farrelly (2 July 2010). "From Village Scouts to Cyber Scouts". New Mandala. Retrieved 10 February 2011. 
  7. Ball D. The Boys in Black: The Thahan Phran (Rangers), Thailand's Para-Military Border Guards. Bangkok, Thailand: White Lotus Press, 2004.
  8. "Southern Thailand: The Problem with Paramilitaries", Asia Report, International Crisis Group (140): 4–13, 23 October 2007 

 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document "2004 edition".

External links