Investigators have been told to speed up their investigation into allegations that 3 policemen tried to extort Bt 5 Million from a cockle trader. The 3 policemen allegedly demanded payment to drop trumped-up charges.
According to the Bangkok Post the trader in was detained by the policemen after purchasing of baby cockles from local fishermen.
Even more the case is now being submitted to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), over the accused policemen are attached to Provincial Police Region 8.
Pol Maj Gen Thakoon Natepukkana, chief of Surat Thani police, said on Friday the investigation was being headed by Pol Col Wirun Suwannawong, deputy provincial police commander .
“The panel has been instructed to be thorough and without compromise. Their report will be submitted to the NACC as soon as possible. The probe will be sped up. It will take 3-4 days to complete,’’ the provincial police chief said.
Provincial Police Region 8 had also set up a separate disciplinary panel to investigate the 3 policemen. They are being transferred to the police regional office in Phuket, Pol Maj Gen Thakoon said.
Policemen tried to extort money from cockle trader
On Wednesday, about 200 angry fishermen surrounded the vehicle of the policemen after they heard that the three officers had tried to extort money from cockle trader Anucha Binmusa.
Police reinforcements were sent to the scene to negotiate with the locals, the policemen and the cockle trader.
Mr Anucha, 46, the cockle trader, later filed a complaint with local police against the three policemen. He accused them of trying to extort money in exchange for dropping charges. The charges were over the purchase of baby cockles they claimed had been harvested illegally.
The three officers had seized 23 sacks containing 700kg of baby cockles worth about 500,000 baht, from the cockle trader. Mr Anucha said the cockles were harvested by local fishermen from the Tapi River.
Furthermore the policemen claimed the cockle trader obtained illegally caught shellfish and tried to extort 5 million baht to drop the charges.
Corruption and policemen
Corruption is pervasive in Thailand’s police force and presents businesses with high risks. Almost four out of five Thai believe most or all of the police to be corrupt..The security apparatus has a reputation of being the most corrupt institution in the country. Partly due to its entanglement in politics .