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Phuket policeman spared Senate corruption probe – for now

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Phuket policeman spared Senate corruption probe – for now | Thaiger

PHUKET: Cleared of allegations of corruption by an internal police investigation just last week, Chalong Police Duty Officer Boonlert Onklang today received another reprieve – the inquiry he also faces by the Senate Standing Committee on Tourism has been postponed until next month.

The internal investigation, conducted by the Royal Thai Police Committee on Justice and Police Affairs, ruled that Lt Col Boonlert was not guilty of allegations that he contrived to extort money from South African tourist Gabriel Sequeira.

The investigation was launched after South African media reported Mr Sequeira saying that he paid almost half-a-million baht “to police and lawyers” to secure his release after he was charged for allegedly passing bogus US banknotes.

Lt Col Boonlert happily reported to the Gazette on Monday that the police internal affairs investigators had cleared him of any alleged misconduct in that case.

However, Lt Col Boonlert now also faces a Senate inquiry, during which his superior officers and himself will be called to answer questions from senators.

Lt Col Boonlert told the Gazette that he will call to his defense superior officers Phuket Provincial Police Superintendent Maj Gen Pekad Tantipong and Chalong Police Superintendent Col Krittapad Dej-intorrasorn.

Also to testify to the senators will be Weerachai Prani, who was the lawyer who handled Mr Sequeira’s defense while he was facing charges in Phuket.

Central to the allegations were that the lawyer’s fees, which Mr Sequeira claimed were more than 900,000 baht for less than one month’s work.

Lt Col Boonlert said he had already clarified to the internal police investigation that 300,000 baht of that money was police bail, which was returned to Mr Sequeira through lawyer Weerachai.

“The Senate inquiry will take three days. Right now it is most likely to be held on November 11-13,” Lt Col Boonlert told the Gazette.

The findings of the Senate probe will be publicly announced immediately after the investigators have drawn their conclusions, he added.

“I’m not completely clear of the allegations yet as the case is not fully closed. However I can explain my actions,” said Lt Col Boonlert.

“My relatives are quite worried about me,” he added.

— Atchaa Khamlo

 

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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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