Thai court officer fined 500 baht and sentenced for charging journalist for parking

Picture courtesy of สื่อศาล Facebook.

A security officer previously stationed at a civil court building in Bangkok has been sentenced to one month in prison and fined 500 baht (US$15) for abusing his position by coercing money from a female journalist for parking. It’s the first time he’s been convicted, with the sentence suspended for a year.

The report comes following an incident on July 11, when an overzealous security officer demanded payment from a female journalist for parking her vehicle within the premises of the court. The executive board of the court acknowledged the issue and immediately order the relevant departments to conduct an investigation on the matter of the violation of the court’s power on July 12.

The accused officer denied the accusation, claiming he did receive a money transfer, but rather a gift out of gratitude. The court conducted an investigation involving the police, the court security chief, the accused himself, and the female journalist who was coerced to pay for parking whilst covering a criminal court story.

The court hearing held today unveiled the sequence of events. The reporter confirmed that the accused asked for money as a parking fee, and a price was negotiated beforehand. After transferring the money to the accused, the journalist relayed the incident to a third person, known as Yoong, and later discussed it with her colleagues. They took a picture of the money transfer slip, and after completing her reporting duties, she immediately posted her experience online, reported KhaoSod.

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These detailed events, backed by the transfer receipt, along with the corroborative testimony from the police officer, led the court to dismiss the accused’s defence of receiving it as an ‘appreciative gift’ as implausible. The court opined that a gift in the form of a bank transfer is not a norm. Under normal circumstances, if someone doesn’t have cash, they wouldn’t give anything at all. Thus the court inferred that the accused indeed unscrupulously demanded money, as he had no right to do so, and found him guilty of violating court jurisdiction.

In view of no previous convictions, the court sentenced him to one month in prison and imposed a 500 baht fine. The jail term was suspended for 1 year under section 56 of the Penal Code. If the fine remains unpaid, proceedings will be taken in line with sections 29 and 30 of the Penal Code.

The concerned security officer no longer serves at the court. Following the incident, he was returned to his original association, the War Veterans Organization of Thailand, for breaching the security service contract for 2023.

Bangkok NewsCrime News

Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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