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Deputy commissioner to lead new probe in ‘zero-dollar tour operators’ case

Sep 18. 2017
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File photo
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By Suriya Patathayo
The Nation

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A deputy national police commissioner will head an investigation into alleged violations by the so-called zero-dollar tour operators to back an appeal against the Criminal Court’s acquittal of all 13 suspects in the case.

While the case made headlines last year over allegations that the suspects caused massive financial damages to the country, the Criminal Court acquitted all defendants, including individuals and firms, due to insufficient evidence on August 25.

Public prosecutors have 30 days to appeal the case since the acquittal verdict. 

“We have raised the issue with the Central Investigation Bureau and the National Police Office,” Pol Maj-General Piyaphan Pingmuang, who heads the police’s Economic Crime Division, “So even if this case has already moved from investigators to public prosecutors, we can help support the public prosecutors to improve the investigation report”.

Now, National Police Commissioner Pol General Chaktip Chaijinda has assigned deputy national police commissioner Pol General Rungroj Saengkram to lead the well-rounded and comprehensive investigation into the alleged wrongdoings. 

“The government has accorded much importance to this case as the damaged party is a state agency. We will take action fast,” Piyaphan said, “We believe there will be solid evidence”. 

The 13 defendants included several members of the Rojrungrangsee family and various firms such as OA Transport, Royal Paradise, Bangkok Handicrafts, Royal Gems and Thai Herb. Public prosecutors had charged them with racketeering, money laundering and violating tourism and tour guide laws.

 “We believe we will have more evidence so that the Revenue Department can fight this case in court,” Piyaphan said. “This case is about under-reporting revenue from business operations, evading taxes and causing damages to the country.” 

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