Maj Gen Apichart Boonsriroj, Chief of Surat Thani police, said yesterday (Mar 2) that he had ordered a police team to hunt down Snr Sgt Maj Suriyan Ranjuan, 50, of Koh Pha Ngan Police Station.
The team has received information as to the officer’s whereabouts and are trying to arrest him.
Snr Sgt Maj Suriyan and four accomplices are accused of the assault and extortion of Ekaterina Lobanova, 35, and her husband Anthon Lobanov, 36, while the Russian couple were holidaying on Koh Pha Ngan.
The incident occurred on Rin beach of this popular island on Tuesday night (Feb 28) when two of the accomplices had offered to sell illicit drugs to the Russian couple. They refused to buy the drugs.
The men then offered to give them a taxi ride to their room and they accepted the offer. But on the way to the taxi, three more men showed up and claimed to be police officers.
They demanded money from the tourists in exchange for dropping charges of illegal possession of drugs. When Ms Lobanova told the gang she had no money, one of them punched her in the face, took her iPhone 6 and other valuable items.
The gang abandoned the Russian couple on Ban Thong Nang Rd in tambon Ban Tai, where they sought help from local people, who took them to police.
On Wednesday (Mar 1), three of the five men surrendered to police, followed later by a fourth suspect.
Maj Gen Apichart said Snr Sgt Maj Saiyan, who is in hiding, had earlier faced a similar complaint. This prompted him to be transferred to Don Sak Police Station in the same province. The accused officer had sought annual leave for 10 days before reporting to work at Don Sak Police Station.
During the annual leave, he committed the offences again.
The police chief said the accused officer would be dismissed from the police force and face drastic action.
Police yesterday took three suspects – Apidet Khongman, 31, Thaweesin Khongnak, 34, and Suriya Ruangthong, 47 – to re-enact the crime.
Another suspect, Thani Srikaew, 46, who has denied the charges, was not taken to the re-enactment.
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