Six Thai checkpoint policemen accused of extorting 27,000 baht from a visiting Taiwanese actress, Charlene An, and her friends have been charged with bribery on Thursday, February 2nd.
First our previous story:
Seven Thai policemen who were involved in a controversial extortion claim by a Taiwanese actress have been transferred to inactive posts, pending an ongoing probe.
Now for our update:
The six suspects who have been charged are as follows:
- Pol Capt Yodrit Langdulsen, deputy inspector for crime suppression
- Pol Capt Patiphan Sirichaiwatana, deputy inspector for general administration
- Pol Sen Sgt Maj Krisada Khammana
- Pol Sgt Chalermchai Siriwangso
- Pol Sgt Wacharanont Khaoyong
- Pol Sgt Nanthawat Suwanna
Pol. Maj. Gen. Thiradej Thammasuthee, commander of the Metropolitan Police Bureau’s Investigation Division, told Thai media that one of the seven initial suspects was spared from the charge because he was responding to a noise complaint at another place and was not present at the checkpoint.
Even though the six suspects denied the allegation, Thiradej stated that he was confident the accused would be brought to justice because the police had solid evidence, including a clear CCTV recording of the extortion and a testimony of the actress’s friend who confirmed the extortion did happen.
Thiradej stated that the six officers allegedly demanded 27,000 baht from the victim in exchange for not proceeding with legal action against her for carrying an illegal vaping device.
At first, the accused were charged with dereliction of duty, but now they were also charged with bribery, which carried much harsher penalties of imprisonment of 5 to 20 years or imprisonment for life, a fine of 2,000 to 40,000 baht, or death.
The latter charge came after Charlene An’s friend, “Sky,” accompanied by famous whistleblower Chuwit Kamolvisit told reporters on Wednesday, February 1st, that he paid the checkpoint officers 27,000 baht to be let go after being caught with vape possession.
Thiradej at first affirmed that none of the victims would face charges for bribery as the situation was a case of extortion, but now the tune appeared to have changed.
Thai media reported that the suspects initially confessed to extorting the victim during a fact-finding panel’s probe but later changed their plea to innocent after consulting with their lawyer.
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