By Kittipong Maneerit,
A BANGKOK Thesakij city regulation enforcement officer surrendered to police yesterday and confessed to arranging cheating during the police entrance exams last month, city police chief Pol Lt-General Sanit Mahathaworn said.
The move followed a complaint by Metropolitan Police Bureau’s Training Centre chief Pol Colonel Uthen Nuiphin on Sunday about Pathumwan-based Thesakij officer Jiraphot Plaidoung and 346 applicants seeking to be police. Another 178 applicants are expected to face a similar complaint soon.
Sanit said that during a one-hour interrogation, Jiraphot admitted he had offered to facilitate cheating on entrance exams to people who were attending tutorial schools in Pathumwan to qualify as police and state officials. He said he had been operating the scheme for about a year, adding that many such cheating groups operate in Thailand, according to police.
Police have charged Jiraphot with racketeering, giving false information to police and violating the Computer Crime Act.
Sanit added that investigators would question Jiraphot further to see if the case extended to other police entrance exams or recruiting exams for other state agencies.
Sanit said Jiraphot would be taken to Ratchadapisek Criminal Court to apply for an initial detention period pending a police probe. He said investigators would object to his release on bail on the grounds that the case had an extensive adverse impact on society. An initial inquiry found that many groups were involved in cheating, Sanit said.
Deputy city chief Pol Maj-General Adul Narongsak, head of the sub-panel supervising the written test, said that police had so far interviewed 12 people of interest. He said that the initial investigation revealed as many as 300 people could be involved.
A source in the investigation team said Jiraphot would engage intelligent students at various tutorial schools to take the police test and show the answers to his customers in exchange for Bt5,000 to Bt20,000 per head.
The initial probe found many of the hired students in the police exam also took part in tests for other state agencies that required a minimum Mathayom 6 education, the source said.
The discovery of cheating prompted national police chief Pol General Chakthip Chaijinda to order acting deputy Pol General Dechnarong Suticharnbancha, who oversees police recruitment policy, to investigate the Metropolitan Police Bureau, Provincial Police regions 1 to 9, the Southern Border Provinces Police Bureau and the Border Patrol Police Bureau to determine if there had been further dishonesty.
Chakthip yesterday said Dechnarong had initially reported that two units, the Metropolitan Police Bureau and the Provincial Police Region 7, had been affected by similar cheating schemes and a further investigation would be carried out to determine if the same group was involved.
Chathip said he would await the report from the two commands before deciding whether to pass the cases on to the Royal Thai Police.
He said any future investigation would be handled by a team led by Dechnarong and would involve the Police Education Bureau and litigation officers.
The city police exam, held at Ramkhamhaeng University’s Bang Na and Hua Mark campuses, was held to recruit 1,800 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 50 applicants scored only 13.
It was initially found that university students, some studying medicine, were hired to take the test and allowed applicants who had paid the fee to see their correct answers.
The university students allegedly sabotaged their own answers and got the lowest scores to avoid being caught but some later admitted they had participated in cheating.