Councilors arrested for corruption

PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN: Thirty heavily armed officers from the Bangkok-based Crime Suppression Division (CSD) yesterday swooped on the Prachuap Khiri Khan Provincial Administration Organization (OrBorJor) and arrested the president and 15 other members. Those arrested were charged with soliciting bribes in return for approving an 18-million-baht road construction project. Some were also charged with illegal possession of weapons. Pol Maj Gen Asawin Khawnmuang, the Commander of the CSD, told the Gazette that on Thursday he received a complaint about the OrBorJor from Benjamas Poonampao, the managing director of a local contractor, Sap Sam Phi Nong Co Ltd. K. Benjamas reported that the president of the local OrborJor, Pramual Pongthawaradech, had demanded a commission of 40% of the 18-million-baht price tag on the project in return for assurances that her firm would get the contract. Pramual arranged to meet K. Benjamas yesterday to receive the money. She then alerted the CSD, who supplied her with 500,000 baht in marked bills. The thirty heavily-armed CSD officers staked out the office where the money was to be handed over. After K. Benjamas emerged from the meeting, police stormed the office and arrested Pramual and the other 15, who were seated around a conference table with the marked cash in the middle. Also on the table was a cash check for 2,420,000 baht, signed by K. Benjamas. Investigators then searched the premises, the suspects and their cars and found a homemade .38 pistol, two 11 mm handguns, a shotgun with 23 cartridges, and a .40-caliber handgun. The 16 councilors were taken to Bangkok for questioning. All denied the charges and were freed on bail of 200,000 baht each.

Phuket News
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