BANGKOK – A traffic policeman in Bangkok’s Lumphini precinct, who allegedly forced a bogus drug charge against a Canadian national in attempt to extort money from the victim, has been dismissed from the civil service and faces a serious disciplinary probe in addition to a criminal investigation.
The constable-ranked officer – 46-year-old Pol Senior Sergeant Major Cherdchai Phuchuaythuam – was arrested on Monday, and 0.5 grams of crystal meth or “ice” and a pistol plus seven bullet were seized at an apartment in Sathorn district. Police also nabbed his alleged accomplice in the extortion, Chakrit Theeluay, 37 at the apartment.
An urine test on both men found both were positive for substance abuse, said Tourist Police Bureau deputy chief Maj-General Surachet Hakpan, who led the operation.
They both were initially charged with conspiracy to illegally detain another person, having drugs in their possession and using drugs, while Cherdchai faced additional charges of illegal possession of a gun and carrying a weapon in public places.
Maj-General Surachet said the arrest stemmed from a police complaint filed by a 25-year-old Canadian teacher, who worked as a foreign language school instructor. The complainant claimed to have been lured by a good-looking man from Facebook, with whom he was supposed to meet at his apartment on Sunday.
But instead Cherdchai showed up at his door. When the Canadian resisted the stranger’s entry, the policeman forced his way in, detained him and tried to lay a charge of “ice” possession against the foreigner.
The Canadian managed to flee from the building and went on to file the complaint with the Thung Mahamek precinct.
Meanwhile, another Canadian 25 year-old Shawn Johnson has claimed that men dressed as Police had demanded US$3,000 (THB95,820) to release him or else he’d have to go to trial in 48 hours. Later, when Johnson spoke to his twin sister, he said the men had raised the cost to US$5,000 (THB159,700), Canadian news site Global News reported on Jan 12th, 2018.
Supposedly, whe.n his sister mentioned calling the Canadian Embassy, the men took their offer off the table and said that Johnson must stand trial.
The Canadian news site wrote that at least one Canadian government agency is aware of the situation. “Global Affairs Canada is aware of the arrest of a Canadian citizen in Thailand and consular officials are in contact with local authorities, the individual and the family,” they reported.