(CTN News) – In a recent turn of events in Uthai Thani province, Thailand, Weerachart Rasamee, the son-in-law of Deputy Interior Minister Chada Thaised, found himself at the center of a scandal.
Weerachart, serving as the mayor of Talukdoo municipality, was arrested on extortion charges, accused of demanding 600,000 baht (approximately US$16,521) from a water contractor.
This incident has garnered significant media attention, especially because Chada Thaised had been tasked with leading an anti-corruption initiative by the Interior Ministry.
Weerachart and four others, including municipal officials, were apprehended in connection with the alleged extortion scheme. They have all denied the charges.
The Arrest and Resignation
The arrest of Weerachart Rasamee and his associates occurred on Tuesday morning, sending shockwaves through the local community.
Weerachart, along with two others, was detained at the municipal office, while two additional suspects were found at a bank branch with the extortion money in their possession. The contractor had reportedly agreed to pay 600,000 baht as part of the alleged extortion plot.
Weerachart Rasamee’s arrest marked a significant blow to his reputation, not only as the mayor of Talukdoo municipality but also as the son-in-law of Deputy Interior Minister Chada Thaised.
Following his release on bail, Weerachart offered his apologies for the incident. In response, Chada advised his son-in-law to step down from his mayoral role, allowing for a new mayor to be elected. Consequently, Weerachart resigned from his position as mayor at 11 pm on the same day.
Allegations and Roles
The Deputy Commander of the Anti-Corruption Division, Prasong Chaloempan, has alleged that Weerachart was the mastermind behind the extortion scheme.
He claimed that two of Weerachart’s associates, Thanapat Dulyathikan (assistant mayor) and Kulathat Samakkhee (assistant civil works chief of the municipal office), were responsible for negotiating with the victim, while Manop Tittimanop and Yingyong Khachachan were tasked with collecting the extorted money.
The victim, a water contractor, had secured a contract to construct two tap water systems for Talukdoo municipality. He was initially demanded to pay 1 million baht but managed to bargain the sum down to 600,000 baht. The payment was scheduled for Tuesday morning, leading to a sting operation and the arrests.
Solid Evidence and Public Reaction
Anti-Corruption Division (ACD) commander, Jaroonkiat Pankaew, has stated that the police have gathered substantial evidence in the case. This includes video clips, audio recordings, and phone records from the victim, which could potentially strengthen the prosecution’s case.
The case has stirred public interest and raised concerns about corruption within the Thai political system, particularly given Chada Thaised’s role in leading the crackdown on influential figures across the nation.
The scandal surrounding Weerachart Rasamee serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing efforts to combat corruption and uphold transparency within the government.
The arrest and subsequent resignation of Weerachart Rasamee, the son-in-law of Deputy Interior Minister Chada Thaised, on extortion charges has captured the public’s and the media’s attention. The case underscores the government’s commitment to combat corruption and maintain transparency within its ranks. As the legal proceedings unfold, the nation will be closely watching the outcome of this high-profile scandal.