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An investigation is underway in Bang Bua Thong, Nonthaburi after a Japanese second hand goods trader went to police to claim he was extorted by men in uniform.
The Region 1 police chief has admitted that those involved are state officials. Suwat Jaengyortsuk has ordered that those involved – both men and women – be suspended from duty immediately pending an investigation.
The officials are from the Consumer Protection Police Division (CCPD) and the Economic Crime suppression Division (ECD) of the Royal Thai Police. These officials usually conduct raids concerning pirated goods.
The Japanese businessman and his Thai staff said that the shop was visited several times from August to November.
In August 15,000 baht was handed over to a group of officials. This was repeated in October.
On Monday around half a dozen officials arrived without a warrant and started helping themselves to goods on the shelves such as robotics, bowls, bags and clothes. They claimed they had no labels and must be taken into evidence.
Thai staff were threatened with arrest.
When the Thai staff asked what they could do to avoid trouble they were taken into a vehicle and after 30,000 baht was handed over they were released. But the officials kept some of the merchandise.
Within hours another group of 6 men and women arrived and the process was repeated with a further 30,000 paid – this time they said they would be back every month for a 2,000 baht fee.
This was more than enough for “Yochi” to report the matter to the local police. He said that his operation was all legal and he didn’t understand why officials of the state were acting in this way.
Chief Suwat seems to have understood exactly what was going on – and has ordered an immediate investigation.