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Crime

6 police officers face charges of extortion, assault

Jack Burton

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6 police officers face charges of extortion, assault | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Chakthip Chaijinda - Khaosod English
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Further to a story reported earlier in The Thaiger, things are heating up in the central province of Samut Prakan, just south of Bangkok. A surprise visit by national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda at the Klong Dan police station last week has exposed alleged acts of assault and extortion by a suspected gang of criminal policemen.

The officers on duty had no idea why their highest supervisor made a personal appearance, but intuition told them it wasn’t a courtesy call. Last Friday, 16 people led by high-profile activist Atchariya Ruengrattanapong, head of the Help Crime Victims Club, also visited the station.

Chakthip was investigating a complaint lodged by the group, who accused six policemen attached to Klong Dan and Bang Phli police stations of assaulting, torturing and extorting money, threatening to file drug charges against them. The victims included a couple whose young children were also allegedly forced to suffer through the ordeal.

On his return to the Royal Thai Police headquarters, Chakthip sent for Chumpol Phumphuang, head of Samut Prakan police.

A police source revealed that they had an urgent meeting, at which Chakthip was formally briefed on the progress of the investigation into the extortion case.

To ensure transparency in the probe and ensure it’s free of meddling, the 3 most senior officers at the station – the superintendent, deputy superintendent and chief inspector – have been transferred to inactive posts at the provincial police headquarters pending the results.

Barely 24 hours after the transfers were ordered, action against 6 officers began. The officers, who worked in the crime suppression unit or as investigators, were suspended from duty pending investigations, and potential criminal and/or disciplinary charges. All but 2, who were with Bang Phli district police, were attached to the Klong Dan station.

Atchariya says 4 civilians may also be complicit in the crimes. He described 3 extortion cases allegedly involving nine of the 16 victims.

In the first case, a man identified only as “Teh” was a police informant who had dealt drugs. With a history of drug abuse, Teh was abducted by the 6 policemen, who assaulted him and forced him to reveal people who could be set up for extortion.

After the assault, which left Teh with permanent damage to his right eye, he was released. Fearing for his life, Mr Teh lured a couple he knew from the Nong Chok area of Bangkok to meet him on April 5.

Teh pretended he was interested in buying drugs. He then took them to a nearby mosque in Klong Dan district to finalise the drug deal. There, 3 of the 6 policemen swooped on and arrested the couple.

The officers later took the couple to Klong Dan police station, where they were allegedly beaten. Atchariya says the couple were then told to pay up to avoid criminal charges.

The next morning the wife handed over 200,000 baht and the policemen let them go.

In the second case, which allegedly occurred last year, another couple with a 3 year old child were reportedly similarly extorted by police.

36 year old Nanthawat Ob-orm says he was driving his family home to Bangkok from Rayong province when he received a call from a friend who asked to meet him at a petrol station in Bang Phli district.

When he arrived at the petrol station, policemen appeared and searched his vehicle for drugs, but found none.

They “escorted” the family to a local football pitch, where they allegedly assaulted them and threatened more physical violence if they did not pay them 100,000 baht. Atchariya says that when Nanthawat told the police he didn’t have the money, they took the family to a bungalow on Sukhumvit Road, where the couple were detained in one room and their child in another.

The family spent two nights there and were allegedly subject to torture.

Nanthawat says he managed to scrape together 52,500 baht and gave it to the policemen, who then released the family.

In the third case, a baby sea bass trader was allegedly arrested in Chachoengsao province in April by the police gang, who accused him of having up to 800 methamphetamine pills in his possession. The man was detained at a private residence having drinks with his friends, who included former police officers. He was taken to the Klong Dan police station for questioning and forced to sign documents admitting to drug charges.

The policemen allegedly told him to bring 200,000 baht in return for his freedom. He paid the money and was freed.

Chumpol says the investigation into the 6 officers is expected to be wrapped up this week after the victims positively identify their assailants.

“There’s reason to believe the policemen have committed these crimes. But at this point, no other police officers have been implicated in the case.”

Chumpol stressed that commanders must monitor their subordinates’ conduct and act swiftly against rogue officers who abuse their status for illegal gain.

Atchariya says the 6 policemen face criminal charges including extortion, forcible detention and assault.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

Crime

Veterinarian arrested for giving beauty treatments

The Thaiger & The Nation

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Veterinarian arrested for giving beauty treatments | The Thaiger

Dogs with breast augmentation? Cats with face lifts?

After customers reported some suspicious behaviour, a veterinarian in Sisaket province, in northeastern Thailand, has been arrested for giving cosmetic beauty treatments at a veterinary clinic in Phitsanulok, Central Thailand. The veterinarian, known as B, was allegedly giving botox and filler injections to customers despite not being licensed to do so. The veterinary clinic where he was allegedly giving treatments was inspected by the Phitsanulok Provincial Public Health Office where officials found many medications without proper serial numbers or sources.

Veterinarian arrested for giving beauty treatments | News by The Thaiger

The clinic’s registered doctor had cancelled the clinic’s medical registration in July 2020, however, officials found the clinic to still be open and operating as normal. Health office officials have requested the clinic to report back on who is actually in charge of the establishment but have not received a response despite the clinic staying open.

SOURCE: Thai Residents

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Weather

‘Noul’ weakens as it pushes through Central Thailand today

The Thaiger

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‘Noul’ weakens as it pushes through Central Thailand today | The Thaiger
PHOTO: tna.mcot.net

The remnants of Tropical Storm Noul are now situated over Central Thailand after passing over Vietnam’s central coast yesterday morning and then into Laos and north eastern Thailand last night with some high winds and rain preceding the eye of the storm.

Provincial officials warned of flash floods and landslides in northern provinces ahead of the storm. The depression, now continuing to weaken, continue to head westwards through Thailand today. The PM this morning asked officials to be “efficient” in attending to any emergency requests.

The Joint Typhoon Warning Centre this morning reported that ‘Noul’ made landfall on the Vietnamese central coast, just north of Hue, in the early hours of September 18 (Friday, Thai time) and begun to track inland as it slowly started to dissipate and lose strength, whilst dropping heavy rain in its path.

'Noul' weakens as it pushes through Central Thailand today | News by The Thaiger

Thailand’s meteorological department is still warning those in its path to stay on “high alert” this weekend.

“People were strongly advised to stay indoors and avoid sheltering under unstable structures due to strong winds.”

Rain has been heavy ahead of the storm, especially in the north east and eastern regions, with rain expected in many part of the country today. The tropical depression is also dragging moist air from the Indian Ocean, intensifying the south west monsoon and increasing rain in Thailand’s south.

Bangkok’s forecast today is for the rain to continue. Heavier rain is expected in central and western Thailand, and parts of the north.

'Noul' weakens as it pushes through Central Thailand today | News by The Thaiger

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Crime

Police crackdown on major drug syndicate, make 3 more arrests

Caitlin Ashworth

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Police crackdown on major drug syndicate, make 3 more arrests | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thairath

“A warrant was issued for his arrest in 2018, but he wasn’t arrested until June of this year.”

Police made 3 arrests in an effort to take down a major drug syndicate, totalling up to 16 arrests related to the gang. The 3 arrests, which included a man in monkhood, are all connected to a major drug dealer named Jittaphan Meemuang, also known as the alias Jun Bordin.

Jitaphan’s network allegedly smuggles illicit drugs from northern border provinces and keeps them at a Sing Buri warehouse. The drug network operates in the Central Plains region and has about 1 billion baht in circulation. Jitaphan has allegedly been in the drug trade for the past 10 years. A warrant was issued for his arrest in 2018, but he wasn’t arrested until June of this year.

Police say his “right hand man” is 21 year old Arnon Kiram. Police recently arrested Arnon in a field about a kilometre away from his home in Lop Buri on a warrant for colluding in illicit drug trade. Police say Arnon runs a soil excavation business and a restaurant as a cover up, possibly to launder money.

Arnon told police he had heard of Jittaphan’s drug, but he’s not involved. He says a member told him to transfer a small amount of money at an ATM, but that’s all.

Commissioner of the Narcotics Suppression Bureau Chinnapat Sarasin says officers first went to Arnon’s house. The fan was still turned on, but Arnon wasn’t inside. Officers then flew a camera drone and saw the man running off into a corn field. Arnon says an employee called and told him the police were looking for him. He ran because he was scared, he says.

Another arrest was made while the suspect was in monkhood in Sing Buri. 30 year old Pornthep Phucharoenwanit was arrested while he was collecting alms. Not only was he charged with colluding in the drug trade, but he was expelled from the temple.

The third arrest was 30 year old Atchariya Chuenchom in Sing Buri. Police say both Pornthep and Atchariya work for the drug network by finding new customers and collecting money.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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