Stealing from the Red Cross – How low can Thailand’s corrupt officials go?

Two local administration officials in Chon Buri’s Sattahip district were arrested on Friday accused of taking bribes.

Barely a day, or perhaps even an hour, goes by in Thailand at this time without accusations of corruption and bribe taking against the police or government officials.

In this case, the two Sattahip officials demanded that a guesthouse operator make a fake donation to the Red Cross before issuing his hotel with a license to operate.

The manager of Pool Villa Guesthouse had previously complained to the local police anti-corruption division. In his deposition, the hotelier claimed that when he applied for a license at the Sattahip district office, he was told that if he wanted his papers processed promptly, he had to make a “donation.”

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The angry guesthouse manager claimed that he had been asked to pay 15,000 baht (US$400) for each room in his guesthouse. That meant stuffing a brown envelope with 1,000-baht bills and dropping it into a Red Cross Society donation box, positioned conveniently nearby.

Worse yet, he insisted, the donation box did not belong to the Red Cross Society but was a mock-up made by the extortion gang to give the impression that the cash was not a bribe but a charitable donation.

Stealing from the Red Cross – How low can Thailand’s corrupt officials go? | News by Thaiger
The donation box did not appear to belong to the Red Cross but was made by the extortion gang.

Based on the man’s complaint, the government-sector anti-corruption squad mounted a sting operation with undercover police and officials sent to the district office to stake it out.

The guesthouse operator showed up at the office and dropped the fat envelope full of cash into the donation box.

The loot was collected by a local administration official who handed it to the assistant chief district officer. Undercover officials swiftly approached the two miscreants and arrested them on charges of malfeasance in office.

Both suspects have, of course, denied any wrongdoing.

Pattaya News

Jon Whitman

Jon Whitman is a seasoned journalist and author who has been living and working in Asia for more than two decades. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scotland, Jon has been at the forefront of some of the most important stories coming out of China in the past decade. After a long and successful career in East sia, Jon is now semi-retired and living in the Outer Hebrides. He continues to write and is an avid traveller and photographer, documenting his experiences across the world.

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