By Phuket Gazette
The arrests were made by a joint task force of Region 8 and Cherng Talay Police officers at a PTT gas station in Cherng Talay.
The suspects, Thongchai Katthong, 30; Ittipol Kranara, 32; and Pathompong Rattanasuvan, 51; had Civil Defense and veteran ID cards in their possession.
“The three men presented themselves as Region 8 Police officers and arrested two underage teens for drinking krathom (an illicit drug) in Soi Palai, Chalong,” said Lt Col Kraisorn Chumchuen of Region 8.
“They handcuffed the two and took them to a room in Wichit, which they claimed was a safe house, for questioning,” he added.
They then called their relatives and friends, asking for 30,000 baht each in exchange for their freedom. After negotiations, the families agreed to pay 10,000 baht each. The men arranged to meet them at the gas station at 4pm.
During the negotiations, the families and friends of the two teens became suspicious about the entire transaction, so they called up Region 8 police headquarters to ask if the three 'officers' actually worked there.
When the families learned the officers were fake, they informed Region 8 Police of the whole incident.
“We followed the families to the gas station and arrested the suspects. Each was charged with extortion and impersonating a police officer,” said Col Kraisorn.
The three then led police to a room in Chalong where they had detained the two teens, who were then charged with possession of a category 5 drug.
“We will question the three men further to broaden the case and crack the network,”Col Kraisorn added.