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The rogue cop being hunted for abducting and robbing two Russian tourists had been removed from duty on the island and sent to the mainland, it has been revealed.
But when he asked for ten days holiday from his new desk job he simply went back and resumed his criminal ways with drug dealing criminals and would be murderers Thairath reported.
Now the head of Surat Thani police is fronting the investigation as they attempt to limit the damage done to tourism on the holiday island. Operators earlier in the week said that the island had a “wild west” image.
The case has forced the chief to admit there are some bad apples in his barrel but he claimed that “almost 100% of his force were upstanding honest cops”.
Chief of Surat police Apichart Bunsrirot went to Koh Pangan yesterday to see the progress of the case for himself. He attended the reenactment of three of four suspects who have admitted their role in the abduction and robbery of the tourists. One other denies it.
The chief was presented with a floral bouquet by hoteliers and tourist operators on the island in conjunction with the two victims – husband and wife Anton,36, and Ekaterina Lobanov, 35, who thanked the chief for his swift and decisive action so far.
The Russians had bravely gone to cops after they were picked up off Hat Rin beach and bundled into a Chevrolet pick-up after they were approached over a fake drugs deal. They were then driven away and robbed by the gang.
The reenactment took place at three locations including where the tourists were abducted, dumped on the Nai Han Road and where their stolen bag was tossed out by a bridge.
Tourism operators on the island said that the gang were well known and several of them had been let out of jail after serving time for drugs offences and attempted murder. They were in league with the rogue cop – named as Suriyan Ranjuan or “Jiap” in extorting tourists in drugs deals.
The tourism operators told the media that more police were involved on the island. They said that there had been many cases but the tourists were reluctant to report the matter and had left Thailand without making reports.
The gangs ringleader “Jiap” was relieved of his job and sent to an inactive post in Don Sak, it has now been revealed. But last week he asked for ten days holiday and promptly return to his old stamping ground and resumed his criminal activities.
Chief Apichart said all resources were being employed to hunt him down. “There are some rogue policemen in the Surat force,” he admitted, “But almost 100% of my men are upstanding honest cops doing a good job”.
He said anyone found guilty of misdeeds would be prosecuted with the full force of the law without fear or favor.
However, this appeared to have not happened in the case of Jiap who was merely transferred to an inactive post. The locals on Phangan said he was well known for being involved in many cases there.
The chief said that most problems on the island stemmed from the drugs trade. Criminals were selling or offering drugs to tourists then robbing or extorting them, he said.