PHUKET – Deputy Police Commissioner General Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul told a press conference that an investigation has been launched against 15 police officers on the Island of Phuket accused of taking bribes from illegal immigrants.
General Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said he had been assigned by the national police chief to head the probe into allegations that local police, tourist police and immigration police in Phuket had received bribes in exchange for “turning a blind eye” to undocumented migrant workers and illegal immigrants.
Srivara said he had instructed the Immigration Bureau and Provincial Police Bureau 8, which covers Phuket, to form a joint investigative panel into the 15 officers.
Srivara took the action after a Facebook user, who called himself “Spotlight Phuket”, made a recent allegation on his Facebook page.
Initial checks found that police stations in Phuket arrested 142 illegal immigrants from October 1 2016 to October 31 2017 – but there were no records of the immigrants being handed over to the Immigration Bureau in accordance with the law, Srivara said.
Pol Gen Srivara said he had been made aware of complaints that as much as 100 million baht changed hands each month on the tourist island in return for leniency on visa overstay.
As a result, he issued an order on Wednesday to have police on the island set up a committee to probe the 15 officers.
The investigative committee is being headed by Pol Maj Gen Thirapol Kuptanon, the deputy commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau 9.
Police are now tracking down 142 foreigners said to be paying up to 100 million baht a month in bribes to local police for overstaying their visas in Phuket.
Immigration police in Phuket reported that from Tuesday to Thursday they rounded up 95 foreigners staying illegally in the province. They included 62 Indians, 11 Pakistanis and six Egyptians. Seventy had overstayed their visas and the others were illegal immigrants.