The allegations were propagated by a list of 20 “names” of corrupt officials – including police – and the government agencies they supposedly worked for going viral on social media earlier this month.
The names listed resembled nicknames, such as “Region 8 Narin”, “Wichai” and “Pi Moo” (“Elder Pig”), and the agencies named included the Patong Police, Phuket City Police, Kathu Police, Wichit Police, Tourist Police, Region 8 Police, as well as the Kathu Civil Defense Office and even the local anti-human trafficking centre, among others.
The list gave specific mobile phone numbers for each person and noted the cash payments collected on the 10th of each month. (See story here.)
Phuket Provincial Police Chief Maj Gen Teeraphol Thipjaroen vowed to investigate when confronted with allegations that his own officers were involved in the systemic extortion.
“We have to investigate whether this list was fabricated. Do the officers on the list exist, are they just made-up names? We also will investigate to find out where this list came from and who posted this list online,” Gen Teeraphol said.
“I have no involvement in this type of operation and I encourage the victims to come forward and file a complaint so we can bring those corrupt officials in to face the law,” he added.
However, asked by The Phuket News, Gen Teeraphol on Wednesday (Aug 24) revealed, “Region 8 Police have taken over this case. This case has been transferred to them. For details or updates, please ask Region 8 Police. I have no idea who is taking of this case now.”
Gen Teeraphol declined to reveal when Region 8 Police took over the case.
Meanwhile, Phuket Provincial Chief Administration Officer (Palad) Pakpoom Intarasuwan has declined to reveal any progress by the “special investigative committee” set up to investigate the alleged extortion racket by police and offiials.
The committee was given 15 days to present its findings, with a deadline for handing over its findings by Thursday last week (Aug 18). (See story here.)
“The investigation is still collecting information,” Mr Pakpoom told The Phuket News this week.
“Other complaints can filed at police stations.” he said.
However, he noted, “Some cases have appeared in the media without evidence, that is not fair to the accused. Please, follow the law.”