Pol Maj Gen Surachet Hakpan, deputy commissioner of the Tourist Police Bureau, said yesterday (May 11) that Pol Lt Col Santhana Prayoonrat and 11 other people became suspects due to evidence found at the market’s head office and testimonies of more than 200 vendors there.
Col Santhana alone faced nine arrest warrants for various acts of alleged extortion, Gen Surachet said.
The deputy commissioner said he was aware that Col Santhana had said the fees he had collected from the vendors were for the maintenance of the market but Col Santhana would have to explain about this in court.
Col Santhana, a former superintendent at the Special Branch Police, earlier tried to block police searches at the Don Muang New Market near Don Mueang International Airport.
Hundreds of police and food and drug officials raided hundreds of shops at the market in an attempt to tackle substandard and unlicensed cosmetics and food supplements.
The crackdown followed police’s efforts to stop the sale of Magic Skin Co products. Magic Skin Co allegedly produced and marketed substandard cosmetics and food supplement products and hired stars to endorse them.
Col Santhana is an adviser to the market, parts of which were also allegedly built illegally. He claimed to know many important people and accused “a minister with a military rank” of being behind the market raids.
He also claimed to have evidence about alleged corruption involving a Cabinet minister and would hand it over only to the Prime Minister.
Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon recently asked if Col Santhana was referring to him.
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