CHIANG RAI – Police General Somyos Phumphanmuang, the commissioner of the Royal Thai Police, reported to a press conference that border patrol police sergeant and eight other civilians were arrested separately in several places after they were responsible for trafficking in 1.2 million methamphetamine pills from across the border to Thailand.
The police officer admitted that he had been involved in narcotics on 3 previous occasions all in order to clear gambling debts that he had incurred.
Police General Somyos Phumphanmuang, said Pol Sgt Major Jirawat Maklai, the head of the 32nd Border Patrol Squad of the Phaya Mengrai Camp in Chiang Rai province, along with eight associates had been arrested on charges of narcotics trafficking after more than 1,200,000 Yaba pills or methamphetamine were seized.
He said the arrest was the result of a tip-off that a van was making a trip to transport drugs from Chiang Rai and was heading to Klong Luang district in Pathumthani province to deliver them.
The police narcotics unit was alerted and the vehicle in question was discovered while in the process of offloading the drugs and was duly arrested.
Seven individuals were arrested and following information given by the suspects police were able to raid a home of another suspect and a further 2 individuals were arrested.
Related investigation made a connection which led to a raid on yet another drug syndicate based in Rayong province. One suspect was arrested.
After being questioned, Jirawat admitted that this was the third time that he had carried out the narcotics operation and the proceeds were to pay off gambling debts that he had accumulated.
Pol. Gen. Somyos stated that the officer will face charges while his superiors are also liable to face disciplinary action for not taking care of his subordinate who managed to engage in drug trafficking for three separate occasions.
Meanwhile, Nanchanok Wongsamuth of the Bangkok Post reported that Chiang Rai Police’s actions have also been called into question when more than a dozen business owners in Chiang Rai say they were forced by police to pay fines of up to 75,000 baht earlier this month for bogus copyright infringement complaints.
According to business owners on Jet Yod road in Muang district of Chiang Rai a group of men claiming to represent the “Big Music Copyright Company”, accompanied by a police officer, entered more than a dozen venues along Jed Yod Road.
The group of men claimed Inter Music Copyright Co (IMC), which they said has the authority to issue licenses for venues to play Copyrighted music from YouTube, the business owners and staff were forced to the Muang district Police Station and ordered to pay fines up to 100,000 Baht or face Jail.
According to Ewen Gracie a local Expat who’s wife owns a local Pub, some owners paid 25,000 baht to get their employee released, others 35,000, and one bar paid 75,000 baht.
“The police initially asked for 50,000 baht, but eventually settled for 35,000 and told [my wife] not to tell anyone,” he said.
Pol Col Pumpanya Nawatrakulpisuth, a superintendent at Muang district police station, said his officers have a policy of non-cooperation with fake copyright companies.
After searching the list of sanctioned companies, IMC does not appear on the list of the Department of Intellectual Property to handle copy-right complaints.
He acknowledged that reports of similar scams have been common in Chiang Rai, but said he was unaware of the events that occurred three weeks ago.