3 Thai police suspended for soliciting bribes in e-cigarettes case

Three police officers in the Hat Yai district of Songkla, a southern province of Thailand, are under investigation for soliciting bribes from three men caught crossing into Thailand with e-cigarettes. The three victims revealed that the police asked for 10,000 baht from each of them to waive penalties.

Pachara Sirithorn revealed on Facebook that he and two of his friends were arrested by police officers for having three e-cigarettes and two bottles of e-vaping liquid at 10.40pm on September 3 at a police checkpoint in front of a petrol station in the Klong Hae sub-district, Hat Yai district, Songkla province.

They were charged with using and possessing e-cigarettes. The officers seized their e-cigarettes, vape juice, and ID cards and made them take a urine drug test, which turned out to be negative.

The officers informed Pachara and his friends that they faced a fine of 50,000 baht for possessing the e-cigarettes. The three men admitted wrongdoing and agreed to go through the court and prosecution processes.

Pachara revealed one of the officers said it did not need to go to court if they agreed to pay 10,000 baht each. After they refused, the officers reduced the charge to 5,000 baht each to waive the penalty. Once again, the three men said no.

After an hour of discussion, the police said they would forget about everything if they paid a total of 10,000 baht in cash between them.

Pachara agreed and asked for a receipt but the police refused to provide it and threatened to jail them if they continued playing games.

The men paid and were released without a receipt.

Pachara decided to spread the story on social media to highlight police corruption and warn others.

In the comments under the post, many netizens made known that they faced similar situations. One man said he was arrested three times and paid nearly 20,000 baht to the officers.

The Superintendent of Hat Yai Police Station, Akkarawut Thaneerat, reported to Thai media today that the police officers mentioned in the post at Hat Yai Police Station had been temporarily suspended until the investigation is completed.

E-cigarettes, e-baraku and juice refills have been banned in Thailand since 2014. There are various penalties if you’re caught vaping or in possession of an e-cigarette. Some fines of 30,000 baht have been handed out and threats of ten years in prison.

People can be also prosecuted under Section 246 of the Customs Act: anyone who conceals, sells, takes away, buys, or receives goods which have not been passed through customs shall be punished with imprisonment of up to five years, or fined four times the price of the goods, or both.

SOURCE: Channel 3 | Thairath

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at petch@thethaiger.com.

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