CHALONG: In the second crime of its type reported in less than a month, police arrested a Thai man for impersonating a police officer in a bid to extort money from a construction project employing unregistered Burmese workers.
Capt Arthid Sue-sattabongkot of Phuket Provincial Special Branch (Santiban) Police told the Gazette that construction foreman Santi Nasang, who is overseeing a project off Soi Palai in Chalong, on April 23 informed the Phuket Special Branch that a man identifying himself only as “Chai” had earlier that day appeared at the construction site.
Chai told K. Santi that he had been sent there by Pol Sen Sgt Maj Karoon (no last name provided) of Phuket Special Branch Police to collect 8,000 baht in return for not reporting the illegal workers, Capt Arthid said.
After K. Santi reported the incident, a team of Phuket Special Branch Police, led by Capt Arthid, gave K. Santi 5,000 baht to set up a sting operation to nab the extortionist.
On April 24, Chai drove his car to K. Santi’s house, where police recorded the exchange of money as evidence in the case before placing Chai under arrest. Among the arresting officers was Sen Sgt Maj Tammapong Nuansuwan, who formerly had the first name Karoon.
The subsequent investigation identified the extortionist as 28-year-old Tanakorn Kueakoon, listed as a resident of 17 Pattana Rd, Phuket City. He has been involved in successful extortion attempts at workers’ camps in the past, Capt Arthid said.
Tanakorn, now being held at Phuket Provincial Prison, has been charged with extortion – but not with impersonating a police officer.
As for the illegal workers at the site, Phuket Immigration Police Inspector Maj Neti Khanboon, who is spearheading a crackdown on illegal workers on the island, today told the Gazette he had yet to be informed by Phuket Special Branch Police about any illegal foreign workers there.
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