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SUNDAY, December 10, 2023

Top cop says probe of officers accused of taking bribes will be fair

Top cop says probe of officers accused of taking bribes will be fair
THURSDAY, February 23, 2023

National police chief General Damrongsak Kittiprapas on Thursday vowed to be fair to 116 immigration police and over 100 other police officers accused of receiving bribes from Chinese triads and online gambling operators, respectively.

Investigations of the officers will be based on evidence, Damrongsak said after reporters asked him to comment on allegations that immigration police took bribes from Chinese triads and police from other agencies were linked to illegal online gambling operators.

Investigators have filed complaints against 116 immigration police in Khon Kaen province, Deputy National Police Chief General Surachate Hakpal said.

Damrongsak said he had not reviewed the details of the case and was not sure the number of suspects was as high as 116.

Surachate alleged that immigration police took bribes to allow members of Chinese triads to obtain long-stay visas in Thailand.

Damrongsak said he could not comment on an ongoing investigation but its outcome would depend on evidence.

The case dated back to 2020, so the current commander of the Khon Kaen immigration office will not be held responsible, he added.

Regarding allegations that more than 100 police officers took bribes from online gambling operators, Damrongsak insisted that he was cleaning up the police force.

Top cop says probe of officers accused of taking bribes will be fair The recent arrest of an alleged online gambling operator led to possible complicity of a police station chief in the area covered by Provincial Police Bureau 2, Damrongsak said, declining to provide more details.

Suspects allege that the illegal online gambling website is owned by a police station chief, but investigators are still gathering evidence, the police chief said.

Activist Atchariya Ruangrattanapong recently alleged that about 100 police officers, including 10 police generals, are involved in illegal online gambling websites.

Damrongsak said he needed to see evidence before he could comment on Atchariya’s allegations.

Atchariya alleged that the corrupt police officers included an aide of the national police chief, who is a deputy commander. But Damrongsak said he has no aide that holds such a post.

Damrongsak said he would definitely scrutinise police officers close to him, but this would have to be done based on evidence.

He called on Atchariya to submit evidence to him so that he could take action.

“If we find any officer committing wrongdoing, we’ll take action. It will be better to give evidence to us. We act based on information provided,” Damrongsak said.

“If the number is as high as 100, we must take action,” he added.

Damrongsak said he personally did not believe the number of officers involved in online gambling was as high as 100.