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Phuket Police to probe claims of migrant worker shakedown by corrupt officials

PHUKET: Police will investigate a list circulating on social media naming 20 government agencies accused of regularly collecting cash payments from employers of migrant workers so their labourers can continue working.

corruption, immigration, police, crime, economics,

Darawan Naknakhon

Thursday 4 August 2016, 02:29PM

Phuket Police Chief Maj Gen Teeraphol Thipjaroen said his officers will investigate the origin of the list, which has gone vial on Thai social media.

“I was told that officers from Provincial Police are also on the list,” he said. “For our part, 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 Theerapol 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.

The list features a list of “names” that resemble nicknames, such as “Region 8 Narin”, “Wichai” and “Pi Moo” (“Elder Pig”).

Also on the list are the corresponding government offices where the “nicknamed” people work, including 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 includes mobile phone numbers and the payments collected on the 10th of each month.

In response to the wide publicity the list was gaining, Phuket Governor Chamroen Tipayapongtada said corrupt officials in Phuket was not new, but joined Gen Teerphol in his call for victims to come forward with evidence and file complaints.

United Services Phuket

“Previously, many times I have sent letters to all business operators and contractors to remind them that they need to file a complaint and bring all evidence supporting their claims to police. If you have proof that government officials are involved in this, please report it to the police so police can arrest them.” he said.

“I do not support businesses paying officials in order to keep working. Everyone should follow the law. If you do the right thing, you will not have to pay any ‘extra’ fees or fines.

“So if you feel that you have been a victim of corrupt officials, please file a complaint so (honest) officials can investigate,” he said.

“So far, all we have heard is rumours of corrupt officials collecting money, but no victims ever come forward to police. I am willing to investigate this case if you bring evidence supporting your claim and if you think you are being harassed, come see me,” he said.

The posting of the list on the Internet follows more than 150 contractors and business operators filing a complaint at Provincial Hall yesterday (Aug 3) to urge officials to stop arresting migrant workers while they were waiting for their work permits to be issued.

The group said that right now most workers were waiting for their documents to be processed, and at the same time officials were out in the area arresting migrant workers who have yet to be issued their work permits.

The employers also wanted officials to expand the areas listed in worker permits where their labourers may work, allowing them to work elsewhere within the same district or province of their main placre of work, rather than within a “Moo Baan” (village).



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Joe12 | 06 August 2016 - 19:19:04

Christy...the headline/article states no such thing but states... "said his officers will investigate the origin of the list...will investigate to find out where this list came from and who posted this list online." It's pretty obvious really (well, to most anyway) that you need to establish the credibility of the allegations and for those affected by any alleged payments to come forward. But as usual, all we hear is loose talk about corruption and no-one doing anything about it. So, if anyone isn't going to do anything, stop the dam whinging.  

As usual I don't know how you arrive at your assumption of the reasons for commenting, but basically I comment because you are just plain wrong.

You state that Police, as in the FB posting, will be investigating crackpot notions of the conspiracy theorists allegedly as before, so your theory is that nothing will be done. What a load of rubbish. And you want me to take notice of your incorrect postings? When you begin to write something factual without any innuendo and reasoned well, I will certainly take notice.     

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Hinder | 06 August 2016 - 13:17:07

All corrupt useless Thai police praying on weak bystanders. No This you baboons I not give you 1 baht

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Hinder | 06 August 2016 - 13:14:55

This story is part of Thailands ongoing high rank officials playing cat and mouse games. Earning off the less fortunate. The regimes big words of reform never happened and the police are a huge part of the problem along side magistrates and weak laws used in racist ways. Strong nations are united by example and this government has set very little. Phuket please a short ride on tuk tuk 100 baht us robbery and no I will not be apologize to anyone.  Why I call it democracy. 

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Christy Sweet | 06 August 2016 - 11:00:09

Joe 12, the headline leads the reader to believe the allegations will be investigated. The article then quoted the police officer stating his office will not be investigating the allegations.

 Why must you persist in the hostile insinuations based on your perceived personality analysis of other commentators? It does nothing to convince a reader of your viewpoint. 
 If you would  read my last posting, (or try comprehending it) you would see I find FB to be a haven of rumour-mongers and an excellent conveyor of falsehoods. 

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Joe12 | 05 August 2016 - 16:46:16

Christy.... "that any investigation will focus on the source of this list, not its contents." It's like the clowns saying there is corruption everywhere yet no-one is bothered to do anything about it. If you have the evidence do something.

A headline's purpose is to quickly and briefly draw attention to the story, so how you work out that it's misleading is beyond me. Maybe you get sucked in with the crackpot conspiracy theorists on Facebook who seem to think Police and every other sane person hangs onto every word they say.

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Kurt | 05 August 2016 - 09:37:43

Great that the Phuket Governor said: Corrupt officials on Phuket was not new.
Hahaha, a bit of a understatement, but very true.

And yes, what is the progress with investigating that published Phuket list of all the payments from bars, street and beach vendors, worth billions of thb?

Why asking the public to report such 'normal' thai corruption to authorities who here and there are corrupt themselves, if authorities do nothing with such report?

Looks useless, as thai authorities, after reporting thai officials corruption to them, start to work hard to keep it under the cap.

In a way quite logic, as corruption happens from 'high to low'.
Only outsiders ( not from Phuket) can tackle this. 
It is not for nothing that sometimes crime squads from BKK come 3 days to Phuket and handle/tackle more crime than the whole Phuket police force in just 3 months.

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Christy Sweet | 05 August 2016 - 07:42:33

Sorry TPN, your headline writer obviously did not read the article or the editorial team is deliberating presenting a false sense of police action on the matter of (alleged) bribery. It is clear from these statements by Chief Maj Gen Teerapol Thipjaroen; "Officers will investigate the origin of the list,.." and  “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...,” that any investigation will focus on the source of this list, not its contents, which is completely understandable. Investigation of social media rumours has been a complete waste of time in the past as police learned in the Koh Tao murders when a wanna be sleuth on Facebook " CSI La" sent them on a wild goose chase.

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simon01 | 04 August 2016 - 22:37:34

How can they fail to find officials taking money off bars, restuarants, cafes, massage shops and every time a visa run crosses the boarder. The only way not to know is to close your ears and eyes and never go out of the office. Never read a paper or social media.

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Timothy | 04 August 2016 - 15:51:17

This has been going on for many years. I'm sure the Police will do a very thorough investigation into its wrongdoings (ha ha). The only person who is likely to be charged with something is the guy who dared post this list online. Remember the lists showing all the payments from street and beach vendors worth billions of baht? Nothing happened. That story just disappeared like the missing billions from the Phi Phi island park fees scandal. Everyone in Phuket knows that each and every bar owner and street vendor pays a monthly fee. The Governor, who is supposed to be a Phuket native hasn't heard of this? He's the only one who hasn't.    

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kataglenn | 04 August 2016 - 15:38:21

corrupt Police investigate corrupt Police I'm sure that will work well and they will catch corrupt Police ?? Seriously 

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