Video shows Thai police did extort Taiwanese actress: Chuwit
Thai police did indeed extort money from a Taiwanese actress and her group, as she claims, whistleblowing former politician and massage parlour tycoon Chuwit Kamolvisit said on Monday.
Chuwit also alleged that police had deleted CCTV footage of the incident in their attempt to cover up the scandal.
Taiwanese actress Charlene An (An Yu-qing) alleges she and her friends were victims of a police shakedown while visiting Bangkok early this month. Her allegation made national headlines in Taiwan, to the dismay of Thai tourism operators.
The 33-year-old actress said police stopped their Grab taxi at a checkpoint close to the Chinese Embassy on Ratchadaphisek Road at about 1am on January 5 and detained the group for two hours. She said police eventually released the group in return for a payment of 27,000 baht.
The Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) has denied the claims of extortion, saying that CCTV footage of the incident does not back up the actress’s story. Police have contacted Taiwanese authorities in a bid to question An, who has since returned to Taiwan.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Chuwit said a Thai friend who was part of An’s group had paid the 27,000-baht bribe to police.
"The Thai friend had joined a drinking party with Taiwanese actress," he said, adding that she also had a video clip as evidence.
Chuwit also claimed that MPB chief Thiti Saengsawang had ordered Metropolitan Police Division 1 commander Pol Maj-General Attaporn Wongsiripreeda and Huai Khwang police station chief Yingyos Suwanno to take four steps to cover up the incident.
Chuwit alleges they were ordered to:
- Delete footage from the Chinese Embassy's CCTV cameras and police body cameras.
- Persuade the Grab taxi driver to say that he stayed at the checkpoint for 40 minutes, had no video of the incident, and that the Taiwanese actress was drunk.
- Release video clips to discredit An.
- Counter the extortion claim by declaring that she had made up the story.
Chuwit said police scandals over collusion with Chinese triads and extortion of the Taiwanese actress had damaged Thailand's reputation.
"Most importantly, the police made up a story, destroyed evidence and retaliated against Taiwanese actress.”
He added that he expects the police to confess to extortion of the actress soon.