BANGKOK – Major-General Jenronnarong Detwan has been arrested on suspicion of extortion in a notorious Bangkok red light district, officials said Thursday, in a rare case of authorities prosecuting a member of the military.
Major-General Jenronnarong, 56, was arrested by the military early Wednesday at a hotel near the seedy Patpong area charged with extorting money from street vendors, the Defence Ministry told reported to the press.
“He is the most senior member of the military ever arrested for extortion,” said the ministry’s Lieutenant Colonel Burin Tongprapai, who led the arrest.
Patpong is a strip of go-go bars catering mainly to foreigners in a district of Bangkok.
The military, who took power in a May 22 coup, began investigating the general after complaints from street vendors who hawk everything from cut-price DVDs to counterfeit handbags and watches.
General Jenronnarong of course has denied the charge, saying he took money from traders to pay the owners of the copyrighted goods,” according to Burin, who added the general is now under both criminal and military investigation.
Junta spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvaree confirmed the arrest.
The military also arrested four civilians accused of working with General Jenronnarong.