Tourist Police and Immigration officers made the arrests yesterday (Nov 14) during a raid led by national Immigration Chief Maj Gen Surachate Hakparn
Gen Surachate previously served as the national Deputy Chief of the Tourist Police and remains one of the key figures in ‘Thailand’s Action Taskforce for Information technology Crime Suppression’ (‘Tactics’).
The raid yesterday followed the ‘Tactics’ taskforce and Tourist Police receiving complaints, Gen Surachate explained in a post on the Immigration Bureau Facebook page.
The raid also came while Gen Surachate was in Phuket to join the media event to highlight the new salvage team hired to recover the sunken tour boat Phoenix. (See story here.)
Police reported that they had been charging money for people to access Freedom Beach for more than one year.
They charged B200 per person, police noted.
The area the men were charging access to was protected national forest designated under the responsibility of the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation (DNP), police explained in their report.
Police noted in their report that during questioning, the suspects – who police have not publicly named – said that they started charging the access fees before the land was designated a national protected forest area.