Timeline of the Taiwanese actress ‘extortion’ scandal


The case of a Taiwanese actress who claims she and her friends were extorted by Thai police in early January while on holiday in Bangkok has become a hot issue in Thailand.

Public anger is rising after evidence emerged that police at a Bangkok checkpoint allegedly tried to extort 27,000 baht from the actress after discovering her illegal vaping device. The actress denies the vaper was hers.

Here's a timeline of the scandal so far:

December 29: Taiwanese actress Charlene An (An Yu-qing) enters Thailand and visits several places in Bangkok.

January 5: Huai Khwang police manning a checkpoint close to the Chinese Embassy on Ratchadaphisek Road stop the 33-year-old actress’s Grab taxi at about 1am and allegedly demand 27,000 baht.

January 25: After returning to Taiwan, the actress declares on Instagram that police at the checkpoint examined her belongings and asked for a bribe. She says she will never visit Thailand again.

Timeline of the Taiwanese actress ‘extortion’ scandal

January 26: Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) deputy commissioner Samroeng Suanthong insists the seven policemen at the checkpoint did not demand a bribe from the actress.

He says the actress appeared drunk during the incident, adding that the policemen warned her that possessing a vaping device is illegal in Thailand. Samroeng insists they took no money from the actress’s group.

Meanwhile, Huai Khwang police station chief Yingyos Suwanno reveals police are collecting footage from CCTV cameras to prove they did not ask the actress for cash.

Yingyos declines to reply when asked if police at the checkpoint had ordered the actress's friends to delete their phone video clips of the incident.

Timeline of the Taiwanese actress ‘extortion’ scandal

January 27: The Taiwanese actress posts on Instagram to deny the police claim that she was drunk during the incident.

MPC Division 1 commander Attaporn Wongsiripreeda meets with Huai Khwang police station chief Yingyos for almost two hours of talks.

The Grab taxi driver who picked the Taiwanese tourist group backs police claims that the actress was drunk.

The 40-year-old driver says video taken from his Grab taxi has been deleted, adding that he has handed the memory card to police. He says he did not notice the actress's vaping device.

January 28: Police say footage from a CCTV camera close to the Chinese Embassy shows the actress's group was at the checkpoint for only 47 minutes, not two hours as she claimed.

National police chief Damrongsak Kittiprapas orders investigators to seek clear evidence, adding he will treat all parties fairly.

Timeline of the Taiwanese actress ‘extortion’ scandal

January 29: MPB deputy commissioner Jirasan Kaewsaeng-ek says police have interrogated about a dozen witnesses, including the seven policemen at the checkpoint, the driver of the Grab taxi, the taxi driver who delivered the Taiwanese tourists to a hotel, and witnesses at the entertainment venue they visited before the incident.

He says there is no evidence that the policemen asked the actress for payment but adds they would be punished if found guilty.

January 30: Whistleblowing former politician and massage parlour tycoon Chuwit Kamolvisit says he has evidence that Thai police did indeed extort money from the Taiwanese actress and her group.

He claims that police deleted footage from the Chinese Embassy's CCTV cameras and police body cameras and persuaded the Grab taxi driver to say the actress was drunk.

National police chief Damrongsak transfers Huai Khwang police station chief immediately, after one of the seven policemen reportedly confesses they extorted money from the actress.

Damrongsak apologises to the actress for the incident, while MPB chief Gen Thiti Saengsawang says he will meet with Charlene An to seek the truth.

Chuwit says it was a Singaporean member of the group, not the actress, who paid police at the checkpoint. He says the Singaporean will fly to Thailand to clarify the issue.

January 31: The seven policemen are transferred and charged with dereliction of duty on the orders of MPC Division 1 commander Attaporn.

He says the policemen had found the actress in possession of a vaping device but chose not to confiscate it or arrest her.

Timeline of the Taiwanese actress ‘extortion’ scandal