Eight high-level police officers in Chon Buri province, Thailand, have been transferred to inactive posts, pending an investigation into allegations of extortion. Among them is Pol Maj Gen Kamphon Leelaprapaporn, the chief of Chon Buri police. National police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas ordered the transfer, accusing the officers of colluding with civilians to extort 140 million baht from online gambling suspects.
Pol Lt Gen Archayon Kraithong, the Royal Thai Police (RTP) spokesman, identified the affected officers, including Pol Lt Col Narongrit Wasuphan, deputy Chon Buri chief; Pol Lt Col Sathian Ratchapongthai, deputy superintendent at Nong Kham station in Chon Buri; Pol Maj Pornthep Phetnuan, investigation chief at Wang Chan station in Rayong; Pol Col Damrong Onta, superintendent at the Cyber Investigation Bureau (CCIB); Pol Maj Nakhonrat Nonseelad, Pol Lt Col Pathomphong Meeyu, and Pol Capt Somboon Butdalert.
Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, deputy national chief, will lead a special investigative panel to examine the case thoroughly. The panel will include investigators from Provincial Police Regions 1 and 2, responsible for gathering evidence. Any officers found guilty will face severe disciplinary action because the case has significantly tainted the image of the police force, according to Pol Lt Gen Archayon.
Investigations are also ongoing into two civilians, Phisit “Ton” Nakhisornpanee and Veera “Boy” Nasap, who are believed to have links with the eight officers. They are suspected of having dealt with gambling suspects on the officers’ behalf. Pol Gen Surachate stated on Saturday that he would seek court approval to arrest the eight officers and two civilians on Sunday. If the court grants permission, the accused will need to report to the Royal Thai Police Sports Club on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road.
Initially, investigators intend to file charges against those involved for violating Section 157 of the Criminal Code for malfeasance by public officials and Section 149 for demanding or receiving bribes. Pol Maj Gen Kamphon confirmed that online gambling operators had filed a complaint against him, and he would present the case’s facts in a report to the national police chief.
The investigation is progressing, with officers and six people suspected of involvement in online gambling operations having their financial records examined for possible links. The transfers occurred after six individuals filed a complaint on Thursday with the Khu Khot police station in Pathum Thani. They accused Pol Maj Gen Kamphon and his team of attempting to extort 140 million baht from them.
As the story unfolds, accounts have circulated widely on social media. Following the arrest of some complainants by Chon Buri police officers, one suspect was taken to Chon Buri to meet Pol Maj Gen Kamphon at his office. According to Thai media reports, negotiations began when Mr. Phisit entered, and a sum of 65 million baht was eventually settled. Mr. Veera then joined the room and instructed the suspect to pay Mr. Phisit to clear up the case. The arresting team then took the suspect to the Bang Lamung police station, where he was detained overnight. The following day, after borrowing money from friends and relatives, the suspect reportedly handed it over to Mr. Veera and Mr. Phisit at two different locations in Pathum Thani and Chiang Rai. The suspect was then released.
Afterward, Mr. Phisit and Mr. Veera allegedly demanded 30 million baht from another suspect who had fled abroad. They also asked to be partners in his online gambling websites, continuing to demand more money from him and his other partners. Eventually, the suspects decided to file their complaint against the police officers and the two civilians.
A police source revealed that Pol Gen Surachate would review security camera recordings from the office of the Chon Buri chief, as well as the raided premises and the alleged extortion sites. The source added that one of the eight transferred officers had already reported to his immediate commander, Pol Lt Gen Worawat Watnakhonbancha, the CCIB commissioner, while the remaining seven planned to report to the RTP on Saturday.
It is worth noting that not long ago, the Chon Buri police chief received an award from the national police chief. However, Pol Gen Archayont clarified that the award was given to recognize outstanding police units across the country, not to individual officers. In Chon Buri, the award was granted on February 18 to all police for their efforts in traffic management and road accident reduction during the New Year holiday.