By SURIYA PATATHAYO
NATIONAL police chief Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda said yesterday he would await the results of an internal investigation into cheating before deciding whether to cancel the results of an entrance exam for applicants seeking to be police officers.
Chakthip’s comments were made after Pol Colonel Uthen Nuiphin, chief of the Metropolitan Police Bureau’s Training Centre, filed a complaint with the Paholyothin Police Station on Sunday against 347 applicants who did the exam.
Uthen also filed criminal charges against Jiraphot Plaidoung, an official with the Pathumwan-based Thesakij city regulation enforcement office, for racketeering, |giving false information to police, and violating the Computer Crime Act.
Uthen said another 178 people would also face legal action soon.
The cheating allegedly involved medical college students taking the test and showing applicants the correct answers.
The students were paid up to Bt30,000 per head, while the gang that was believed to have organised the cheating was paid Bt500,000, Uthen said.
“We found the exam cheating and we cannot let it slide,” Chakthip said. “This exam affected many who invested money and time to be recruited as police, so I cannot make a decision hastily. I must consider this carefully and thoroughly with regards to all sides and ensure justice, so I will wait for all units’ probe results first.”
He has ordered investigations at all 12 command centres that hosted exams.
He said he expected the Police Education Bureau and executives at the 12 centres to submit results to him by next week, after which he will decide if the central police committee should investigate further.
Chakthip said the city police department, which had halted its exam process, was investigating the allegations of cheating. He added that the department had asked him whether to consider if it should punish those involved and continue with the exams, or cancel the results.
Earlier yesterday, deputy police spokesman Pol Colonel Kritsana Pattanacharoen said Chakthip had instructed acting deputy Pol General Dechnarong Suticharnbancha, who oversees police recruitment policy, to investigate the Metropolitan Police Bureau, Provincial Police regions 1-9, the Southern Border Provinces Police Bureau and the Border Patrol Police Bureau to determine if there had been further cheating.
Kritsana said that if cheating is confirmed, the offenders would be punished whether they are officials, police or examinees. He said remedial measures would be considered for people who were not involved in the cheating.
The city police exam, held at Ramkhamhaeng University’s Bang Na and Hua Mark campuses, was held to recruit 1,000 officers out of 13,000 applicants.
Officers became suspicious of cheating after completed exam papers were checked, with one applicant scoring the highest 123 points, from a possible total of 150, while other 50 applicants scored 13. Some applicants later reportedly confessed to cheating.
According to deputy city chief Pol Maj-General Adul Narongsak, head of the sub-panel for the written test, the cheating was done in an organised manner, starting with the initial application at the Police Education Bureau in Paholyothin, to plans to cheat made at a Suthisan hotel, and culminating at the exam at the Hua Mark campus.
About 30 medical college students were involved, said Uthen, with some admitting sitting exams for applicants in previous tests.
As exam applications are done online, officers did not become suspicious until results were published, he said.
The medical students and real applicants also allegedly paid their application fees at banks in a sequence on one medical student followed by three real applicants, which ensured their seat placements were advantageous to cheating.