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Senior official arrested in north-east Thailand on 2 million baht bribery charges

Maya Taylor

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Senior official arrested in north-east Thailand on 2 million baht bribery charges | Thaiger
PHOTO: Wikimedia

A senior Thai official in the north-eastern province of Mukdahan has been arrested, along with his assistant, on bribery charges. The provincial chief of the natural resources and environment office, Suradet Akkarach, and Ms Pan Saengviroon, are accused of receiving 2 million baht for facilitating the return of confiscated Siamese Rosewood timber to a merchant from Laos.

The timber, housed in 11 containers and valued at around 600 million baht, was impounded by the authorities in Mukdahan in 2006, on suspicion it had been illegally obtained. The case was heard in the provincial court, then the Appeals court, and then the Supreme court, which acquitted the defendants and ruled that the timber should be returned to its owner, EL Enterprise.

The arrests of 58 year old Suradet and Pan came about after a Laotian timber merchant filed a police report on February 24, accusing Suradet of offering to return the timber for a payment of 2 million baht.

The police subsequently set up a sting operation for when the merchant, named as Kamsavai Pommachan, arranged to meet Suradet and Pan to hand over the money. As soon as Pan took delivery of the cash, both suspects were arrested. According to a Thai PBS World report, Suradet insists he was not involved in the bribery, but Pan has confessed to the charges.

Panya Pinsuk from the Central Investigation Bureau, and Chivaparb Chivatham from the Royal Forestry Department, gave a press conference yesterday, in which they confirmed the arrests of both suspects and the seizure of 2 million baht in 1,000 baht notes, as well as 4 smartphones.

According to Chatupat Burupat from the Natural Resources and Environment Ministry, Suradet is an ex-employee of the Royal Forestry Department and would have known how to go about returning the confiscated timber.

Following the arrests, the Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, Varavut Silpa-archa, says he has ordered Suradet to be transferred to an inactive post while a committee investigates the case against him. The minister acknowledges that there is proof of bribery, but says an investigation is still required to ensure fairness. He says he expects the committee to report back within 15 days.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Friday, March 26, 2021 at 11:33 am

    They catch him red handed with his greedy hands on a bribe, and they let him out!
    Throw him in the slammer with the rest of the liars and cheats.
    He will be able to practice the three card trick for when he is released.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Friday, March 26, 2021 at 7:33 pm

    That’s not “bribery”, as the courts had already ordered the wood be returned.

    It’s extortion, FFS. 😡

  3. Avatar

    toby andrews

    Saturday, March 27, 2021 at 9:45 am

    This merchant has learned an expensive lesson, which is do not do business in Thailand.
    They seize his goods in 2006.
    He spends years in courts proving the goods are his and is successful, yet he still cannot have his goods returned.
    He is supposed to pay a bribe to have his own property returned.
    The persons taking the bribe are caught, but one is released!
    It is impossible to deal with these people. They are so corrupt, and dedicated to scam that they are poison to deal with.
    They cannot see the repercussions coming, which will be that they will be shunned by the world.
    Recently the Burmese abandoned some building project in Burma that the Thais were supposed to take on. The Burmese stated the Thais were impossible to deal with.
    If a dog continues to bite every time anyone goes near the dog, the dog will be ignored and avoided. This is the way Thailand is headed.

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Crime

Immigration police arrest Frenchman on drug charges, 3 other foreigners for overstay

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Immigration police arrest Frenchman on drug charges, 3 other foreigners for overstay | Thaiger

Immigration police arrested a French man who was allegedly involved in a crime network who allegedly smuggled cannabis, and arrested 3 other foreigners on overstay charges. Police say the crime network sold cannabis to foreigners living in tourist cities in Thailand.

Officers say they suspect there are more people involved in the alleged smuggling operation on the Eastern seaboard, which includes Chon Buri and Rayong. Police are now launching an investigation.

Police were tipped off earlier this year about an alleged French gang selling cannabis to tourists. Apparently, the drug suspects would rent rooms to store the cannabis and frequently change locations. Foreigners had rented a room off a soi in Bangkok, but the manager noticed they were acting suspicious. No one appeared to actually be living in the room and people would stop by the room for less than an hour, the manager told police.

Police arrested a man who was stopping by the room. Officers say the 28 year old, identified as Samy, had a suitcase filled with dried cannabis and scales. He faces charges for possession and distribution of a Category 5 narcotic.

The police went to the man’s apartment in the Charoen Nakhon area and arrested 2 French nationals, ages 27 and 28, and a 29 year old woman from the UK for overstaying their visas. Police say they had thrown cannabis and smoking equipment out the window before officers entered the room.

SOURCE: Thai Visa

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Thailand hoping to be upgraded to a Tier 1 nation in anti-human trafficking efforts

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Thailand hoping to be upgraded to a Tier 1 nation in anti-human trafficking efforts | Thaiger
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Thailand is hoping its newest anti-human trafficking report will earn an upgrade from the US from Tier 2 to Tier 1. The report was submitted to the Washington’s Trafficking in Persons Report. Deputy government spokeswoman, Rachada Dhnadirek, said the government is ready to be upgraded after remaining on Tier 2 for 3 years in a row. Those nations who fall on the Tier 2, are deemed to not be fully complying with the minimum standards set out in the US’ Trafficking Victims Protection Act. Those on the Tier 2, however, are supposed to be making efforts to comply with the minimum standards.

Before 2018, Thailand was placed in Tier 3, which is for nations who don’t fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making efforts to do so. Then, Thailand was upgraded to Tier 2 after making progress compared to the previous year.

Rachada says Thailand submitted the 2020 TIP Report on February 2 and a report on progress in its anti-human trafficking operations from January to March of this year to the US embassy on April 3. The data includes the number of arrests and punishments for human-trafficking offences. Thailand also has created a new plan, making it the first in Asia to introduce such a plan. That plan is called the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights.

Rachada says now Thailand is processing human trafficking cases more quickly by shortening the investigation time to 70 days as of last year. In 2015, the investigation time was 118 days. She says the country has also set up centres to help LGBT human-trafficking victims as well as helping migrant workers with work-related issues.

Thailand has also introduced the PROTECT-U app for smartphones in which human-trafficking victims can access protection and launch complaints in 7 different languages. The app was developed by the Social Development and Human Security Ministry.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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Phuket man shot by off-duty police officer now paralysed

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Phuket man shot by off-duty police officer now paralysed | Thaiger
Phuket Police Station / Google Maps

A 25 year old Phuket man who was allegedly beaten and shot by an off-duty, drunken police officer, will never walk again as he remains paralysed in the hospital. The news, according to doctors at Vachira Phuket Hospital, comes after Aroon Thongplab, was shot from a close range, with the bullet hitting his spine.

The man was a noodle vendor and was collecting a bowl from a customer on Bangla Road when he was allegedly shot by Pornthep Channarong of the Phuket Provincial Police at around 6am. Doctors told his wife about his prognosis after he woke up from a coma and underwent surgery to increase his prospects of being able to sit up. His wife, who is only known by her surname as Kulthida, told The Phuket News that she received news that he would never walk again.

“He cannot feel or move the lower part from his waist. Doctors just gave him spine surgery last week, so that he can sit. However, the doctors cannot assure that the surgery will work. We have to wait to see if his recovery goes well along with physiotherapy.”

Pornthep was discharged from the Royal Thai Police less than a day after he allegedly shot the noodle vendor. Now, he is facing charges of attempted murder, firing a weapon in a public area, and carrying a firearm in a public area without a necessary reason. But those charges have come slowly, according to Kulthida.

“I have already asked Patong Police, and they told me that at this stage the report to file (with the public prosecutor) is about 90% complete. I am also waiting for a notice from the court. Today, officers from Region 8 Police came to the hospital to question Aroon, but he has not been able to speak… I asked them about the bail conditions, and they told me that the suspect is still in jail.”

The Phuket Provincial Court is allowing Pornthep to go out on bail, despite the Royal Thai Police asking the court to keep in locked up.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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