Thailand vowed Monday to crack down on illegal casinos, after a maverick politician accused senior police officers of owning gambling dens in central Bangkok.
Six high-ranking police officers have been transferred to inactive posts pending investigation of Rak Thailand party-list MP Chuvit Kamolvisit’s claim in parliament that police operate a major casino in the heart of Bangkok.
Pol Maj-Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapat, Metropolitan Police Division 2 commander, Pol Col Paisal Wongwacharamongkol, chief of Suthisarn police, were transferred, along with four other senior officers at Suthisarn police station, police spokesman Prawut Thawornsiri said on Thursday afternoon.
The other officers are two deputy Suthisarn police chiefs, the chief suppression officer and chief investigation officer.
Pol Lt-Gen Chakthip Chaichinda, the Metropolitan Police chief, had ordered their immediate transfer to Metropolitan Police headquarters for 30 days pending investigation of the allegations
Chuvit Kamolvisit, a lawmaker who made his fortune with a string of massage parlours and hotels, last week showed a video clip in parliament purportedly recorded at a casino on Rama IX road in the heart of the capital.
The outspoken lawmaker, who has admitted to bribing authorities in the past, criticised the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra for failing to tackle the problem.
Announcing the clampdown, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubumrung said Monday that he had spent more than a year gathering information on casinos while his party was in opposition until its election win last month.
“Not only the casino on Rama IX road, but also other casinos in other areas will no longer exist,” he told reporters.
He said two senior officers had been assigned to oversee the crackdown but if the metropolitan police would not close the casinos then he would ask other agencies, such as the border patrol police, to do the job.
Chuvit’s party won four seats in parliament last month with a pledge to fight corruption.
“I am the insider, I know how to pay. I know how to bribe,” he told AFP in an interview in June. “You see bribery in Thailand is a deeper issue, problem than anyone can think…. but no one wants to say the truth.”
Most forms of gambling are outlawed in the kingdom but it remains popular in a country where corruption is rife.
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