3 police in northeast Thailand arrested for taking bribe to free drug suspect

Kalasin Police Station, photo by ThaiRath.

Three police officers in Thailand‘s northeast Kalasin province were arrested on charges of soliciting a bribe to free a drug suspect. The crooked cops were officers at Mueang Kalasin Police Station.

Police launched a sting operation to bust the crooked cops after ‘A,’ the sister of the drug suspect, reported that the crooked cops had contacted her and demanded 500,000 baht in exchange for her brother’s freedom.

A negotiated the bribe down to 400,000 baht, and the crooked cops told her to meet them at the station on Thursday at 9am. The provincial police’s head of the investigation, Pol. Col. Kasem Mutaphon told A to go ahead and give the crooked cops the money as agreed and said the police would then arrest them.

When A arrived at Mueang Kalasin Police Station with the bribe money, a man took her to an investigation room. Ten minutes later, she came out and called Pol. Col. Kasem, who quickly went in with his team and found three officers in possession of 364,000 baht. The officers claimed that they had already released the drug suspect. The three suspects were a 27 year old Pol. Snr. Sgt. Maj, a 27 year old Pol. Sgt, and a 30 year old Pol. Sgt.

Pol. Col. Kasem asked who else was involved, and the suspects said eight more, including a Pol. Capt., a Pol.Lt., two Pol.Snr. Sgt.Maj., three Pol. Sgt.Maj. and a Pol. Sgt, Naewna reported. An investigation against these eight officers is ongoing.

Provincial Police Commander Pol. Maj. Gen. Suwan Chienawinthawat confirmed that the three officers who met with A had been arrested.

Corruption is a significant problem in Thailand. The country was 101st on the Corruption Perception Index in 2022. The previous year, the kingdom was 110th according to Transparency International (TI), a German-based nonprofit that measures and fights corruption worldwide.

The index works on a scale of 100, with 100 completely free of corruption and zero being the most corrupt possible. Thailand sat at 35 points on that index in 2020 but has now inched up to 36 points. By contrast, out of all 189 countries analysed, Denmark earned the lowest corruption score of 90 points.

Corruption in the police force is often linked to the illicit drug trade, with officers accepting bribes from drug dealers to turn a blind eye to their activities or to release suspects.

The Thai government has implemented various measures to address police corruption, such as establishing anti-corruption units within the police force and introducing anti-corruption laws. However, critics argue that these measures are not enough and that corruption remains a systemic problem within the police force.

Northern Thailand

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.