Taiwanese actress alleges Thai police extorted cash from her and friends
Thai police are facing more allegations of misconduct after a Taiwanese actress alleged she and her friends were victims of extortion by Thai police early this month while vacationing in Bangkok.
She said police detained them for two hours and forced them to pay 27,000 baht to be released after stopping their taxi at a checkpoint on the night of January 4.
An Yu-Qing alleged that besides being shaken down for 27,000 baht she had to apologise repeatedly in Thai and “almost bow to the feet of the police” before she and her friends were released.
The actress, also known as Charlene An, warned Taiwanese visitors to Thailand to avoid carrying large amounts of cash in their wallets for an unusual reason.
"I would like to ask Taiwanese people who plan to go to Thailand to avoid carrying too much cash as the police will check their wallets first before charging them," she was quoted as saying on the Thai-language Facebook page “Taiwan Topic” on Wednesday.
The Facebook page said it was quoting An’s Instagram account as well as Taiwanese media.
It said police asked to search her and her friends’ belongings at the checkpoint.
Police told her that her visa was not valid even though she had received one on arrival, she said. Police told her and her friends to delete a video clip they took of the incident, she said.
"It was like being searched for drugs by police in a Mexican film," the post quoted her as saying.
She said police escorted her and her friends away from the checkpoint to a spot where there was no CCTV camera and told them they had to pay a total of 27,000 baht.
"The police called a taxi for them and let them go after they handed over the cash," the Thai-language Facebook post read. It added that An also saw a group of five Korean women in the same CCTV-free spot.
The actress will never visit Thailand again, she said.
An told Taiwanese media that the alleged extortion occurred because Thailand suffered from a shortage of tourism revenue during the prolonged Covid-19 crisis.
The allegations were made after an investigation was ordered by the national police chief into claims by a Chinese tourist that she received “special services” from Thai police, including a motorbike escort to her hotel – for a price – during a visit to Pattaya with her mother.
Those allegations were made in a video clip that went viral on TikTok.