Extortion racket tied to anti-corruption advocate Srisuwan Janya more structured than thought

The extortion racket, previously linked to the anti-corruption advocate Srisuwan Janya, is more extensive and well-structured than initially suspected, according to reports from the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB). The organised group, which is believed to have a mastermind, has targeted numerous individuals.

CIB’s deputy commissioner, Charoonkiat Pankaeo, stated that the police investigation into the alleged 3 million baht extortion from the director-general of the Rice Department by the gang associated with Srisuwan made significant strides. The police have secured witnesses and evidence that reveal a highly organised operation, with specific gang members assigned to choose extortion targets, negotiate, and collect the extorted money, said Charoonkiat.

“There are several other individuals involved. One of them appears to supply the mastermind with information that leads to complaints. He added that the group had allegedly demanded around 100 million baht from another organisation but no payment has been made yet. The organisation in question is currently being contacted for more details.”

The information collected thus far suggests that the director-general of the Department of Royal Rainmaking and Agricultural Aviation could also be a victim of the gang’s activities. Charoonkiat revealed that there are more suspects at a higher level, including the three already arrested, and the police are building a case against them.

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“The gang boasts about its activities and shows no regard for the law. One individual is wealthy, owning 10 houses and 100 rai of farmland. This is being further investigated,” said the CIB deputy commissioner.

Srisuwan is a well-known public figure due to his active involvement in anti-corruption campaigns and frequent court petitions. He and two other suspects were arrested on Friday for allegedly demanding 3 million baht from Natthakit Khongthip, director-general of the Rice Department, to avoid corruption complaints. A sting operation led to their detention when 500,000 baht in cash was delivered to Srisuwan’s residence in Pathum Thani province.

Previously, Srisuwan led the Association to Protect the Thai Constitution, which was dissolved by the Department of Provincial Administration due to a failure to meet membership requirements. Subsequently, he established a new organisation, Rak Chat Rak Phaendin and declared its objective to resist attempts to amend or abolish Section 112 of the Criminal Code, also known as the lese majeste law.

After his arrest, Srisuwan maintained his innocence and alleged that there were efforts to halt his activities.

CIB deputy commissioner Charoonkiat Pankaeo disclosed these details to reporters on Monday, 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.

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