Thailand’s Excise Department probes official’s involvement in oil smuggling case

Photo Courtesy of Bangkok Post

An investigation is underway by Thailand’s Excise Department into allegations that a high-level official attempted to persuade police to release a truck carrying 15,000 litres of smuggled oil. The department’s Deputy Director-General Kriangkrai Pattanaporn revealed that a probe committee was formed to look into the arrest of the 47 year old driver, identified only as Sombat, in Prachuap Khiri Khan province.

Initial findings showed that the truck was indeed transporting smuggled oil. Reports indicate that anti-corruption police and excise officials intercepted the vehicle on Phetkasem Highway in Tambon Koh Lak in Prachuap Khiri Khan province, while it was heading towards the Central Plains. Following the arrest, a high-level official from the Excise Department allegedly contacted the police at the scene, attempting to secure the release of the truck and its driver. However, the police refused the request.

Kriangkrai stated that the Excise Department and Anti-Corruption Division police are jointly conducting the investigation. “If evidence implicates a high-level executive, the department will verify it and take disciplinary action without any leniency,” he said.

Today, crime activist Atchariya Ruangratanapong arrived at the Anti-Corruption Division, urging the agency to expand the investigation into the case. Atchariya alleged that a deputy director-general was involved in an oil-smuggling network and that the seized truck was transporting smuggled diesel from the southern border province of Songkhla to Pathum Thani province in the Central Plains.

According to Atchariya, excise officials in Prachuap Khiri Khan were instructed to release the truck and the driver, but they were unable to do so because the highway police had already taken custody of the vehicle. After the arrest, highway police requested that local excise officials only inspect the oil on the truck, said the activist.

Atchariya added that oil smuggling from the South occurs almost every night and raised questions regarding the whereabouts of the impounded truck, reported Bangkok Post.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.