Connect with us


Burmese labor extortionist busted in Phuket sting

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET TOWN: A man posing as a government official was arrested on Wednesday for extorting money at a Burmese construction workers’ camp.

Leading the arrest was Thammarong Chuy-aksorn, deputy chief administrative officer of Thalang District, who led a team of 14 undercover officers to carry out a sting operation at the camp.

Mr Thammarong said the action followed numerous complaints from construction project supervisors on the island, most in Thalang.

The supervisors said a man calling himself ‘Inspector M’ and claiming to be a government officer was extorting money from the camps by promising not to report the presence of unregistered Burmese workers in exchange for cash payoffs.

The man, who allegedly brandished a .45 handgun to intimidate people, claimed he was under orders to conduct a survey of alien workers for the National Intelligence Agency.

The camp where the man’s extortion campaign ended is on the site of a large residential estate project by a large Bangkok-based development company off Thepkrasattri Road in Thalang.

The project foreman was first approached by the man on February 28.

He reported the extortion attempt to the Phuket Governor’s Damrongtham Complaints Center, which asked the Thalang District Security Division to apprehend the man and bring him in for police questioning.

The foreman arranged to meet the man to pay a bribe of 1,000 baht at the site at 3pm.

When ‘Inspector M’ arrived, Mr Thammarong’s men were in the camp disguised as construction workers.

After the foreman handed over the money, the team moved in and arrested ‘Inspector M’ without a struggle.

Inspector M was later identified as Somrit Patanon, a 47-year-old resident of Cherng Talay.

A search of his person uncovered a picture ID badge with the logo of the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc), a .45-caliber pistol, a sound recording device, a pair of handcuffs, a digital camera, a police radio, a notebook containing lists of construction sites, and many more items.

Mr Somrit confessed to charges of impersonating a government officer, but denied using threatening behavior.

He claimed he was just the bag man for a very high ranking district officer and a village headman who were behind the racket.

Mr Thammarong and his men escorted Mr Somrit to Thalang Police Station for questioning.

The extortion attempt is hardly the first of its kind in Phuket.

There was a spate of extortion attempts at Burmese labor camps in 2008, including one that ended in murder.

For other cases, click here and here.

— Pimwara Choksakulpan


Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forum
🔔 Subscribe to our daily newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand News Today2 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Thailand says no to Sinovac, anutin stands by booster vax, Burmese junta takes a u-turn | Oct. 19

Coronavirus (Covid-19)4 hours ago

Covid-19 Tuesday: 9,122 new cases, 71 deaths, port of entry data

Thailand6 hours ago

Thai culture, tourism, Thailand pass, chit chat | Thaiger Bites | Ep. 41

Sponsored1 day ago

SO Sofitel Hua Hin opens its doors to welcome all visitors!

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Crime6 hours ago

Arrest made for the 14 year old murder of pregnant girl

Crime7 hours ago

Cyber fraud case renews talks over the safety of online banking

Crime8 hours ago

Myanmar’s junta government releases prisoners, cancels arrest warrants

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Politics8 hours ago

North Korea continues testing ballistic missiles

Thailand9 hours ago

No more Sinovac, Thailand pass details, BKK airport expansion | Good Morning Thailand | Ep. 112

Media9 hours ago

Virtual influencers a rising force in Thailand

Thailand9 hours ago

Thailand Top Stories | Police investigate online bank fraud, BKK airport expansion | October 19

Politics9 hours ago

MP queries appointment of army general to oversee Covid-19 in southern Thailand

Politics9 hours ago

Former U.S. president Trump sues House committee over records request

Coronavirus Vaccines10 hours ago

Anutin rejects suggestion booster doses should stop until everyone gets first dose

Coronavirus (Covid-19)11 hours ago

Covid-19 pill treatment highly effective at preventing hospitalisation, death

Coronavirus Vaccines11 hours ago

Thailand to stop using Sinovac vaccine once current supply runs out

Thailand1 month ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism8 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand8 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism8 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand9 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11