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Thai Officials Accused After 2 Chinese Suspects Walk Free

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Thai Officials Accused After 2 Chinese Suspects Walk Free

(CTN NEWS) – BANGKOK – After two Chinese suspects fled a raid on a passport-forging business, Thailand has accused 15 officials of corruption, police said on Monday (Jan 16).

Concerns about so-called “grey businesses,” which are unlawful enterprises managed by Chinese nationals, are growing in Thailand at the same time as the case.

Late last month, police searched the former Nauru consulate in Bangkok after hearing rumors that Chinese nationals were squatting there.

Officers discovered two Chinese males inside who were both sought by Beijing and faking passports for other countrymen, according to Deputy National Police Chief Surachet Hakpal.

Thai police officers found the Chinese men forging passports for fellow nationals during a raid at the former consulate of the Pacific island Nauru in Bangkok. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

He revealed to reporters that the two were assisted in their escape by five Department of Special Investigation members, nine police officers, and a military sergeant.

According to Surachet, the officials demanded a bribe of 10 million baht (US$245,000) from the suspects in exchange for their assistance.

The translator confessed after being apprehended while attempting to flee to Malaysia, according to Surachet, and the original evidence was later found on a lost hard drive.

Official reports said that approximately 2.5 million baht were taken during the raid, but film obtained from the hard drive and verified by the translator indicated that approximately 8 million baht had been found.

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At a press conference, Surachet stated, “They told the Chinese it was not enough and begged for four million additional baht.”

The 15 officials, except the translator, were accused of abusing their positions of authority, and all 16 persons were charged with corruption or soliciting a bribe.

The hard disc with pictures from the raid was found in the military sergeant’s house, leading to charges of trying to obliterate evidence. The administrators and officers have refuted all allegations.

The maximum sentence for soliciting a bribe is death, according to Surachet. He continued, “We’ll look into whether or not their higher authorized the raid.”

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