Pressing charges: Fake journalists arrested for extortion

Image courtesy of KhaoSod

Four people posing as journalists were arrested for extorting money from a contractor. The suspects were found with vests from various government agencies, used to intimidate the public.

Police in Udon Thani, led by Deputy Commander of Udon Thani Provincial Police, Chagat Tiamwong, and Superintendent of the Provincial Investigation Division, Panpet Laokernphet, announced the arrest of four suspects claiming to be rogue journalists extorting money from the public.

The suspects include 36 year old Kampanat from Bangkok, who was arrested under a Udon Thani Provincial Court warrant dated June 28 for attempted extortion. Another suspect, 57 year old Suriya from Ban Khao subdistrict, Udon Thani, was also arrested under a court warrant for similar charges.

The other two suspects are 50 year old Saksayam, and 45 year old Sitthichai, both from Roi Et province. The police seized 100,000 baht in cash used during a sting operation and firearms found in their possession.

Chagat revealed that the arrests followed a report from a contractor in Udon Thani who claimed that individuals posing as journalists, under the guise of an anti-corruption network, demanded money in exchange for not filing complaints about their work.

The gang, led by Suriya, initially demanded 300,000 baht but settled for 100,000 baht after negotiations. Following the report, the contractor filed a complaint with the Udon Thani Provincial Police Investigation Division, and a plan was devised to catch the suspects.

Sting operation

Yesterday July 1, the contractor arranged to hand over the money in a parking lot. At 5.20pm, a four-door pickup truck arrived at the scene. One of the suspects stepped out to collect a brown envelope containing 100,000 baht in cash.

As he returned to the vehicle, police officers surrounded the truck. The suspects resisted arrest, threw away the money, and attempted to flee. Eventually, the police managed to subdue and arrest all four suspects. A search of the vehicle revealed multiple firearms which were confiscated as evidence. The suspects were taken to the police station for booking and are currently detained at Udon Thani Police Station, denying any wrongdoing.

These individuals had created fake journalist IDs and formed their own media groups, appointing themselves as president, vice president, and other roles. They wore uniforms resembling those of legitimate media and government officials, leading the public to believe they were genuine.

This deception caused honest citizens to pay up to avoid problems. Such actions damage the reputation of legitimate media and government agencies as the vests worn by the suspects closely resemble those of the Department of Provincial Administration.

Despite their arrest, the suspects denied the extortion charges but admitted to possessing firearms, reported KhaoSod.

Crime NewsThailand News

Ryan Turner

Ryan is a journalism student from Mahidol University with a passion for history, writing and delivering news content with a rich storytelling narrative.

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