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6 Police Officers Criminally Charged for Extorting Money From Tourists, Bail Denied

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6 Police Officers Criminally Charged Extorting Money

Six police officers accused of extorting a group of tourists caught with vaping devices have been denied bail, and Bangkok’s police chief has ordered a crackdown on illegal vaping devices, which are widely available in the city.

According to Pol Maj Gen Atthaporn Wongsiripreeda, commander of Metropolitan Police Division One, the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases refused bail on Thursday because extortion by officials carries harsh penalties and the court wanted to prevent the accused from interfering with evidence and witnesses.

The six officers from the Huai Khwang station in Bangkok face life imprisonment, a fine of up to 400,000 baht, or even the death penalty under Section 149 of the Criminal Code.

police vape

Police officers Deny Guilt

On Thursday, investigators sought court approval for the six officers’ initial 12-day detention as they gathered more evidence in the case, which began with a damning Instagram post by a Taiwanese actress.

Pol Maj Gen Atthaporn stated that there was sufficient evidence for the extortion charges, despite the fact that the six officers deny any guilt.

Suspects can be held for up to seven 12-day periods, or 84 days, under the law before charges are formally filed.

The 6 police officers accused were manning a checkpoint in front of the Chinese embassy on Ratchadaphisek Road early on January 4 when they stopped a taxi carrying Taiwanese actress Charlene An and her friends.

Three illegal vaping devices were discovered during the search, but the officers let the group go after receiving 27,000 baht, according to Ms An.

At a press conference on Wednesday, one of the group’s members, a Singaporean man, confirmed Ms Charlene An’s story. He admitted to having three vape devices and claimed they were not illegal in Thailand because they were widely available in local markets.

police vape devicesPolice Crackdown on Vape Devices

Police have since ordered that all vape devices be removed from all locations in the capital. The Metropolitan Police Bureau’s investigative chief, Pol Maj Gen Theeradet Thammasuthee, said that anyone involved in the illegal business of selling the banned devices will face severe legal consequences.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, has stated that any police officers involved in extortion must face legal consequences.

Concerning the impact on the tourism industry, Prayut stated that any issue involving police extorting money from tourists must be resolved and rogue officers punished.

“If there is clear evidence that they committed offences, they must face both disciplinary and legal consequences. Don’t let this incident tarnish the reputation of the entire police force.

“There are still many good police officers, but we need to get rid of the bad ones,” said the prime minister.

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