The announcement also came after it emerged a police senior sergeant major has been transferred to an inactive post pending investigation after he was alleged to have demanded B60,000 from a foreign tourist for possession of an e-cigarette in Pattaya.
Pol Maj Gen Atthaporn Wongsiripreeda, commander of Metropolitan Police Division 1, said interrogators would question witnesses in the case involving Ms An in Singapore and Taiwan to ensure their safety, reports the Bangkok Post.
The tourists involved in the case would not be prosecuted for bribing police, and would be treated as witnesses because they were seen as the damaged party and were coerced by policemen, he said.
Pol Maj Gen Atthaporn said 14 policemen set up vehicle checkpoints on Ratchadaphisek Road in front of the Chinese embassy in the early morning of Jan 4, and the group including Taiwanese actress Charlene An was stopped for a search.
She later alleged she was forced to pay a bribe of B27,000 before they let her go.
Pol Maj Gen Attaporn said seven policemen were at the checkpoint where Ms An’s taxi was stopped. These officers had initially been charged with dereliction of duty for failing to prosecute the actress, who allegedly had a vapouriser in her bag.
If the questioning of the witnesses provides substantial evidence, police could additionally press extortion charges against the officers.
“Camera footage showed 6 or 7 officers approaching the damaged people and staying a long while,” Pol Maj Gen Atthaporn said.
Interrogators had pictures of the 14 police officers for the witnesse to identify, he said.
Meanwhile, national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas has transferred the Huai Khwang station chief, Pol Col Yingyos Suwanno, to the post of chief of Nong Chok station.
Pattaya cop allegedly extorted foreign tourist over e-cigarette
A police senior sergeant major has been transferred to an inactive post pending investigation after he was alleged to have demanded 60,000 baht from a foreign tourist for possession of an e-cigarette.
Elsewhere the police senior sergeant accused of demanding B60,000 from a foreign tourist for possession of an e-cigarette in Pattaya has been transferred, it has been confirmed.
His transfer came after a news report and pictures on the “Hone Krasae” television programme aired on Channel 3 on Tuesday.
A Chinese tour guide was said to have sent a message to other guides in his group saying that a tourist under his care was detained for having an e-cigarette by a policeman who demanded a fine of B60,000. After some bargaining, the sum was reduced to B30,000. Vaping devices are prohibited goods.
This allegedly happened in Pattaya on Jan 28 or 29 this year.
After hearing about the report, Pol Maj Gen Kampol Leelaprapakorn, the Chon Buri police superintendent, sent an urgent letter telling the chief of Pattaya police to investigate the matter.
The investigation found that the policeman referred to in the report was Pol Sen Sgt Maj Noppakrit Pornwatanathanakij, a traffic officer at Pattaya police station.
Pol Maj Gen Kampol on Tuesday transferred the officer away from Pattaya, to assist at the operations centre at Chon Buri police headquarters.
A fact-finding committee has been set up to look into the alleged soliciting of a bribe. The committee was tasked with compiling all evidence, including examining recordings from surveillance cameras in the area where the alleged extortion occurred.
Its report will be used for legal proceedings if there are grounds against the policeman.
Pol Sen Sgt Maj Noppakrit reported to the Chon Buri police chief yesterday, as ordered. In a phone interview, he denied extorting money from ta Chinese tourist. He said he was ready to be investigated.
Kurt | 03 February 2023 - 05:31:51