According to a police source, Thailand’s National Anti-Corruption Commission intends to formally charge former national police chief Pol Gen Chakthip Chaijinda and three other high-level officers in connection with the 2.1 billion baht purchase of biometrics equipment for the Immigration Police Bureau (IPB) in 2019.
According to the Bangkok Post, the NACC would notify Pol Gen Chakthip and the other officials of the charges and summon them to testify in their defence before concluding its investigative report.
The case arose after Sittra Biabungkerd, secretary-general of the People’s Lawyers Foundation, petitioned the NACC to investigate the biometrics procurement project after discovering that the equipment did not fulfill the criteria in the terms of reference.
The contracting company was also unable to deliver the equipment to the Royal Thai Police Office (RTPO) in six consignments by May 2, 2019, as indicated in the contract.
Despite these flaws, the RTPO agreed to accept the equipment and delayed the handover deadline to June 30, 2019, saving the provider a 5 million baht charge each day.
Other police officers involved in the case include Pol Lt Gen Tinapat Phumarin, the then-commissioner of the Office of Logistics who approved the purchase, Pol Lt Gen Sompong Chingduang, the then-commissioner of the IPB, and Pol Maj Gen Surapong Chaichan, the then-deputy commissioner of Provincial Police Region 7 who extended the deadline in favour of the supplier.
The NACC summoned Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, a former IPB commissioner who was then an RTPO adviser, to testify as a witness in 2020.
Pol Lt Gen Surachate stated at the time that approximately 40 other people had been summoned to testify.
The measuring and statistical analysis of people’s unique physical and behavioural features is known as biometrics. The technology is primarily used for identification and access control, as well as to identify people under observation.
Thailand’s biometrics systems
Thailand had been implementing a biometrics system for various purposes, including border control, immigration, and identity verification. The specific details of the system, its scope, and the technologies involved might have evolved since then, so it’s essential to consult up-to-date sources for the most current information.
At that time, Thailand had been gradually expanding the use of biometrics for immigration processes at international airports and land border checkpoints. The biometric system was used to capture and store unique physical characteristics of individuals, such as fingerprints, facial features, and iris patterns. This data was then linked to an individual’s identity, allowing for more efficient and accurate verification during border crossings and immigration processes.
Biometric systems offer several benefits, including enhanced security, reduced identity fraud, and improved processing times at immigration checkpoints. However, they also raise privacy and data protection concerns, as the sensitive biometric information needs to be securely stored and handled to prevent misuse or unauthorized access.
Thailand, like many other countries, struggled with corruption. Politics, government, law enforcement, and business are all areas where corruption can occur.
Bribery, embezzlement, nepotism, and power abuse are all prominent kinds of corruption in Thailand. High-profile instances involving politicians, government officials, and significant corporate people have raised worries about the prevalence and impact of corruption on the country’s development and governance.
Thailand has made efforts to prevent corruption by establishing numerous anti-corruption bodies and regulations. One such institution is the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), which is in charge of investigating and prosecuting corruption charges involving public officials. The success of these initiatives, however, is debatable, as corruption remains a complicated and pervasive issue in many nations around the world.