A group of dancing policemen has become the latest pop sensation in Thailand with a YouTube video that shows them shimmying and swinging their hips as they impersonate a popular South Korean boy band.
The video was posted Aug. 5 and had more than 380,000 views Tuesday when major newspaper front pages declared it “a major hit” and one tabloid exclaimed: “Police set the dance floor on fire.”
“We never thought it would become this big,” said Lt. Col. Tanakorn Doltanakan, one of nine officers in the five-minute video spoof of “Sorry Sorry,” a considerably bigger hit by Korean boy band Super Junior. “It’s something we did just for fun.”
The policemen are part of the 4th Subdivision of Thailand’s Tourist Police, set up for non-Thai speaking tourists who need police help, in the northern city of Chiang Mai. Ahead of a tourism-related police seminar earlier this month, attendees were asked to prepare for a police talent show.
The 4th Subdivision, which went on to win the competition, sought inspiration from one of its more memorable assignments.
“We took care of Super Junior when they toured in Chiang Mai and saw how popular the group is,” Tanakorn said.
Super Junior is one of South Korea’s most famous boy bands, known for their boyishly polished looks and synchronized dance routines that have earned them heartthrob status across Asia. Their version of the video has been viewed more than 6.5 million times on YouTube.
After a short clip introducing the officers, the police switch their standard-issue brown uniforms for Miami Vice-style black suits, open-neck white shirts and dark sunglasses.
Slightly clumsy, not terribly fit but trying their determined best, the officers strut in hip-hop poses as they clap and gyrate and attempt to dance in synch to the song’s electronic beat.
The number was choreographed by the 14-year-old daughter of a sergeant in the unit and filmed by another officer’s nephew. They rehearsed for two to three hours before going in front of the camera.
Tourism Police dance in Sorry Sorry
Spliced into the dancing clips are scenes of the officers sitting at police stations and performing other official duties, doing sit-ups and practicing the dance number in jeans and T-shirts in front of a parked patrol car.
“We wouldn’t say we were particularly good, but everyone was really into it,” Tanakorn said.
More than 1,000 viewers have posted comments after the YouTube video, including “You’re so hot!” and encouraging the group to take their act on the road. Others questioned whether the police had nothing better to do: “You should use your time to catch the bad guys.”
Some admirers have dialed the Tourist Police hot line to compliment the dancing officers.
“Public reception has been great,” Tanakorn said. “People have told us they didn’t think the Tourist Police were this cute.”