BANGKOK – A police investigator for the Crime Suppression Division of the Royal Thai Police who was handling the Magic Skin case, has been dismissed from the force to facilitate an inquiry into his alleged demand for a 15,000 baht bribe from a victim in the substandard weight loss product scandal.
Crime Suppression Division commander Maitree Chimcherd said on Tuesday a disciplinary panel had been set up to investigate an alleged payment to one of the CSD investigators.
A victim in the case had contacted the officer via the Line chat mobile phone app and asked him to help speed up the investigation into a weight loss product sold by Magic Skin Co.
The accused officer had allegedly told her she would have to pay 15,000 baht in fees if she wanted the case accelerated. The woman later transferred an advance payment of 5,000 baht to the investigator, who has not been identified.
Pol Maj Gen Maitree insisted that he would not protect the officer in question. If the allegation was correct, the officer had tarnished the reputation of the CSD. It was considered to be a serious matter.
Even though the amount of money involved was not very large, drastic action would be taken against him, the CSD chief said.
The officer was facing a serious disciplinary inquiry for alleged malfeasance in violation of Section 157 of the Criminal Code. Pending the outcome, he had been dismissed from the police force, Pol Maj Gen Maitree said.
Criminal action would also be taken against the officer, who was engaged in another case at the moment.
He had not yet talked with the officer about the allegation. However, there was evidence, including audio clips from a mobile phone and LINE chat messages, the CSD chief said.
The accused officer would be interrogated. Police would examine the LINE chat messages, and find out if he sent them.
“I want to apologize to everybody. In my capacity as the CSD commander I cannot deny responsibility. I want to apologise that I could not take care of all 1,200 subordinates. My apology also goes to the damaged party in this matter. I assure you that I will take action against the investigator in question in a transparent manner.
“I want to tell all victims that if there is any investigator claiming that he will speed up the case if paid money, please do not believe it. Cases are handled by investigation teams, and an individual investigator could not do that,’’ the CSD chief said.
The accused officer allegedly demanded a bribe in the Apple Slim weight loss product case, in which there are seven suspects, five people and two juristic companies, and 111 victims, who are mostly sales agents who invested in the products. Apple Slim was one of the trademark products sold by Magic Skin Co.
The suspects have been accused of public fraud, computer crime for putting false information into a computer system, and producing unapproved food supplements.
Police investigators submitted their case report to public prosecutors on July 4. On July 12, the prosecutors asked them to question additional people, Pol Maj Gen Maitree said.
By Wassayos Ngamkham