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Phuket police hunt ‘fake cops’ after possible extortion attempt

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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PHUKET: Police are hunting three men who are believed to have been impersonating police in an attempt to extort a French manager at a restaurant in Phuket today.

CCTV footage shows the three men, who claimed to be Patong Police officers, entering La Boucherie in Patong at about 12:30am.

“They came in and asked for our manager, who is French, to present her work permit,” said the owner, who declined to be named.

“They walked around the restaurant, which was still hosting customers, asking staff members whether or not we have migrant workers.”

When asked to present their official identification, the three plain clothes men refused, said the owner.

“They didn’t even tell us their names,” she said.

After the manager produced her work permit, the three men left without asking for money and without harming any staff.

“We think they noticed our CCTV cameras… Even though they didn’t ask for payment, it doesn’t downplay their suspicious behavior,” said the owner.

The CCTV footage was taken to Capt Thawatchai Srimai of the Patong Police, who confirmed that none of the men were Patong Police officers.

“I know all the officers at the Patong Police Station. I don’t recognize these men,” Capt Thawatchai said.

However, it has yet to be confirmed whether or not the men are from another station on the island.

The owner of the restaurant has not pressed charges.

“I wanted to share my story and video with the Phuket Gazette so that everyone can know that these things can happen,” she said. “My staffers were shaken and concerned for their safety after those strangers searched our restaurant like that.”

The release of the CCTV footage prompted Phuket Provincial Police Commander Krajang Suwannarat to issue a warning about possible police impersonators on the island.

“I want business operators to make sure officers have a proper search warrant or relevant authorized documents before allowing them to inspect any business or store,” Maj gen Krajang told the Gazette.

“If someone comes in asking to search the store, please ask for an official identification card. If they refuse, call 191.”

— Woranut Pechdee

 

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

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