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Crime & Legal

Six Bangkok Policeman Transferred to Inactive Posts for Alleged Extortion




BANGKOK – Six policemen in Bangkok were transferred yesterday to inactive posts and are the subjects of a fact-finding probe over allegations that they raided the home of a 49-year-old food vendor and allegedly imposed a bogus Bt50,000 charge in exchange for his freedom on the night of August 10.

Somtam spicy salad vendor Sakchai Naen-udon had on August 13 initially filed a report, but not an official complaint, about the incident with the police. On September 10, he filed a complaint, along with additional information, at the Phayathai precinct.

Sakchai said that while he was selling somtam at his stall on the night of August 10, his 30-year-old daughter came crying to tell him that some 10 plain-clothes policemen had raided their house.

He rushed to his rented home and asked to see a search warrant, but the officers refused to show it to him, he said. Instead, they claimed to have found an unspecified amount of crystal methamphetamine or “ice” – which they also did not show him – and escorted his daughter away.

Sakchai said he followed the police to their office and found his daughter sitting in a dark corner of the building’s ground floor without handcuffs, with one plain-clothes officer standing guard over her, and so he took her home.

The police who later came to his house accused him of helping a fugitive flee and escorted him back to their office, where they told him that he was wanted in an extortion case and must pay a Bt50,000 bail – which he at the time did for fear of jail and out of ignorance about the law, he said.

Feeling he had been subjected to injustice, Sakchai filed a report at the Phayathai precinct about this incident, which he claimed involved a police Sergeant-Major who had a dispute with his son years ago. The arresting team’s Inspector showed up to return the Bt50,000 and asked him to let this be a bygone, he said.

Sakchai said he initially wanted to let the incident go quietly, but changed his mind after a later getting a phone call from a policeman asking him if he wasn’t afraid to die. He said he was now determined to press charges.

Metropolitan Police Division 1 chief Pol Maj-General Zenith Samransamruadkit initially signed a September 10 order for the immediate transfer of seven accused officers to inactive positions at the Metropolitan Police Division 1 operations centre pending the results of a 15-day probe. Initially accused were three commissioned officers (one police Major and two police Captains) and four constable officers (three police Sergeant-Majors and one police Corporal).

However Zenith on Wednesday cancelled the transfer of the accused police Corporal on grounds of mis-identification after determining he had not been involved despite the food vendor identifying him.

By Jessada Chantharak
The Nation

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