PRETTY much anywhere you go in Bangkok you will see security guards on duty, and there’s a strong possibility they will be wearing the distinctive uniform of Guts Investigation Co, with a large ‘G’ on the outfit and cap.
Formed in 1980 by Dr Vallop Kingchansilp, the current President and CEO, the Guts Group comprises five separate divisions. With some 15,000 security guards and 384 office staff, Guts is unquestionably one of the biggest security companies in Thailand.
Dr Vallop named his company Guts because he wanted to use a word with strong connotations internationally. “At the time we were doing private investigations, so ‘Guts’ which means at the same time internal organs and courage or bravery, represented that we would do our investigations from the inside out and have the courage to do any job.
“Also, when spelled in the Thai language, Guts starts with the first letter of the Thai alphabet (Kor Kai), so it is at the top of the list of security companies in the Yellow Pages. Now, of course, the same logic applies to internet searches.
“For 35 years Guts has been a leader in Thailand’s security service industry.
Our intention is to provide premium protection to our customers, and in order to do that we develop our employees into a skilled labor force with professional standards and pride. We provide a salary above minimum wage because our guards are not simple watchmen.
“The business has expanded rapidly, actually doubling each year in the early days. I started with 50 guards in 1980, and the next year it was about 100, then 200. Now I employ about 15,000 guards. I don’t think any other company can come close to that. I estimate that there are about 400,000 security guards working at 3,000 companies in Thailand, but mine is the biggest.
“Guts provide security for over 2,600 clients, including international organizations, leading private companies, government agencies and state enterprises, as well as industrial compounds like Toyota and Siam Cement, embassies and many car parks. We have administrative centers and branch offices in every region of the country. We are the first security company in Thailand to achieve ISO 9002 certification from the Engineering Institute of Thailand,” said Dr Vallop.
Guts is a member of several international professional and trade organizations, including the American Society of Industrial Security, International Association of Chiefs of Police, International Association of Airport and Seaport Police and Asian Professional Security Association, as well as Employers’ Confederation of Thai Businesses.
“One of our divisions specializes in supplying security for big events” said Dr Vallop. “They include a World Bank conference and Miss Universe beauty pageant in Bangkok, along with major football events like the Arsenal Asian Cup Tournament, Brazil King’s Cup Invitation, Manchester United Thailand Invitation, Thailand ESPN X-Games Bangkok, Liverpool FC in Bangkok, FA Premier League Asia Trophy-Bangkok, and the Real Madrid Tour 2005.
“We also offer special services to clients who need extra personal protection, like top executives or other high-profile people, and we have special teams to guarantee the safety of valuable items on exhibition or in transit,” said Dr Vallop.
Another division of Guts is Electronic Security Systems, which installs and maintains CCTV, intrusion detection and access control systems and also provides equipment such as weapons and metal detectors, under-carriage search mirrors, portable guardhouses and barriers. Clients for this division include the Airports Authority of Thailand, Royal Thai Navy, Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Medical Sciences, Kasetsart University’s Faculty of Agriculture, Rama VIII Bridge Project, and SCG Chemicals Co., Ltd.
Na Vallop Security Training School, offering basic and advanced security training courses, was founded in January 1997 with permission of the Ministry of Education. The school is intended to develop professional security specialists and courses consist of theoretical and physical training.
More than 6,500 students have completed the training syllabus. They receive a certificate granted by the Ministry of Education and are awarded a badge to show that they have successfully passed the training course.
Finally, Guts Super Pols Co was established in March 2013 to “lead the way to the future of innovative security systems.” The firm aims to integrate all aspects of security services with maximum efficiency and the latest in technology.
“Our guards must be native Thais and be able to read and write in Thai. We take fingerprints of applicants and send them to the RTP for a criminal records check and also conduct drug tests. We also do random drug tests on employees, Dr Vallop said.
“We interview applicants to determine if they can communicate and have the right mindset for the job, and we do health and physical fitness checks. We have to wait about 45 days for the results of a police check. If a guard is accepted, we train them for two or three days. There is a basic course for security training which teaches the practical part and we also have classes to teach recruits security theory.
“In selecting a place for the employee to work, we try to take into consideration what is convenient from where they live. We have a two-storey building at our compound and one nearby where some of the guards live as well. This is convenient for them and it also provides us with a ready back-up force,” he said. The company also hires female guards. “We pay them a little more because they are harder to find,” admits Dr Vallop.
“We have a good relationship with the Royal Thai Police throughout the country. I even allow them to use our facilities.” In fact, on the day of our interview about 100 police officers from the local Klongtan police station were gathered for an annual planning meeting at the Guts compound.
“By law only police are allowed to make arrests, so if there’s a problem our guards will call the police. Security guards are not allowed to carry any type of weapon or restraining device like handcuffs. Guards can carry torches and transceivers but the frequency must be approved by the police.
“We are the only company in Thailand that allows our guards to carry Guts batons (see sidebar), but they are purely for self-defense. The batons are of a similar design as those carried by Marines and police in the US. We make them ourselves and have a copyright. They are made from polycarbonate and each has a serial number.”
• Be respectful in manner at all times.
• Follow the client or supervisor’s instructions thoroughly.
• Be constantly vigilant and aware of any risk or danger to the client and the client’s property.
• Never disclose confidential information of the client.
• Never allow unauthorized persons to enter property.
• Sleeping on duty and leaving post unattended are prohibited.
• No alcohol or drugs may be consumed while on duty.
• No gambling or betting is permitted on secured sites.
• Guards must not participate in arguments or any acts to provoke disunity.
• The uniform must be complete with all symbols, badges and signs.
• Any uniform that is not in good condition must be replaced.
• All tools and equipment must be checked for readiness.
• All relevant incidents during working hours must be recorded to allow for follow-up and evaluation.
In the event of an incident, the following instructions must be followed:
• Make a decision to solve the problem immediately. If the situation is beyond control then a supervisor, client or police must be notified, according to the circumstances.
• Restrict access to the incident area and do not allow any unauthorized persons to enter.
• Record the incident in the logbook in detail.
• Report all relevant information to the inspector or supervisor on duty.
• Pass on all information to the next shift.
GUTS Batons are made from polycarbonate, a synthetic material which is much stronger than ordinary wood. The shape of the baton supports its usage in attack and restraint situations.
The concept design behind the Guts Baton was originally developed by ninjas in Japan during a time of civil war. The ninjas used tonfas fashioned from hardened wood to accentuate their fighting prowess. After the Japanese army was defeated in World War II, the weapon was introduced to the US. In 1971 Lon Anderson, developed the PR-24 (P = Protection; R = Restrain; 24 = Length (24 inches) baton along the lines of the Japanese tonfa. At present, the US Marines and some police departments in the US use the PR-24 in active service.
Dr Vallop took note of the advantages of the PR-24 while on a visit to the US to study the security industry there in 1989. He brought back a sample and adapted it to come up with the Guts Baton, and then began to manufacture the batons.
The Guts Baton has been adopted for use by several Thai security organizations, including the 191 police unit, Special Branch Police, the Royal Thai Navy Military Police and the Corrections Department, which has procured the baton as an instrument of self-defense for all guards.
Dr Vallop cautioned that the Guts Baton may cause serious injury or even death if vital points on the human body are hit with sufficient force.