Thai police officers suspended for extorting from tourists

Thai police officers suspended for extorting from tourists

THAILAND - Four Bangkok-based policemen have been suspended for allegedly extorting 2 million baht (S$79,382) from two Italian tourists after making a false allegation against the victims and holding them captive.

Arrest warrants have been issued for two of the officers, who were on the run at the time of going to press.

An Uzbek national, who allegedly assisted in the crimes, was arrested late evening.

While it may sound like another instance of police misconduct well familiar to Thais and foreigners alike, this case has resulted in immediate action by their superiors and abrupt suspension of the four police suspects, thanks to an Interpol inquiry conducted after the victims' families lodged a complaint.

The case therefore potentially brings shame upon the entire police force, due to its global exposure.

Arrest warrants have been issued for Police Lieutenants Wirat Inyord and Akkhranet Muthawan of Lumpini station, deputy Bangkok police chief Major-General Parinya Jansuriya said Friday.

The fugitive Uzbek suspect, likely acting as the interpreter in the extortion scam, has been identified as Muhiddin Sharipov.

The two other police officers allegedly involved in the extortion - Senior Sergeant-Major Sathit Jansome and Sergeant-Major Phoorithat Cheunjampa, both of Thong Lor station - have been placed in custody after their requests for temporary release on bail were rejected yesterday by Bangkok South Criminal Court.

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