WEDNESDAY, April 17, 2024
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Two suspects arrested, while ‘Jeng Dokjik’ denies involvement in extortion

Two suspects arrested, while ‘Jeng Dokjik’ denies involvement in extortion

Police from the Anti-Corruption Division on Thursday arrested two more suspects related to the alleged attempt to extort 1.5 million baht from the Rice Department chief.

Police arrested Ekkalak Wareechol at his house in Bangkok’s Klong Sam Wa district, while another suspect was arrested in Uttaradit. Police did not release the name of the second suspect but said he was close to Yoswaris Chuklom, alias "Jeng Dokjik".

The latest arrests came after anti-corruption police arrested Yoswaris, his secretary, Pimnattha Jiraputthiphak, and prolific petitioner Srisuwan Janya on January 26 for allegedly extorting money from Rice Department chief Natthakit Khongthip.

They allegedly demanded 3 million baht from Natthakit in exchange for not pursuing action against him over alleged irregularities involving two of the department’s projects.

Two suspects arrested, while ‘Jeng Dokjik’ denies involvement in extortion Natthakit later had his wife negotiate for a reduction to 1.5 million and agreed to pay 140,000 baht up front in a sting operation.

Natthakit and his wife later released audio clips of Srisuwan, Yoswaris and Pimnattha demanding the 140,000 baht before the New Year holidays.

Yoswaris and Pimnattha held a press conference on Thursday to deny they were a part of the extortion ring.

Two suspects arrested, while ‘Jeng Dokjik’ denies involvement in extortion

Yoswaris even resorted to the Thai tradition of a sacred swearing rite to try to prove his innocence.

Both Yoswaris and Pimnattha admitted that the voices heard in the audio clips were their voices but they claimed the clips were played out of context, not in full.

Yoswaris also threatened to file a defamation suit against the media and anyone who named him as an extortion suspect.

Two suspects arrested, while ‘Jeng Dokjik’ denies involvement in extortion

He admitted that he had phoned Natthakit and also went to meet him at the Rice Department because Yoswaris was asked by a junior red-shirt friend to help Natthakit.

Yoswaris claimed his red-shirt friend asked him to help Natthakit because the Ride Department chief was also a staunch red-shirt supporter and had helped the movement a lot.

Yoswaris claimed he had offered to help negotiate and prevent a complaint being filed against Natthakit without seeking money from him.

He later assigned his secretary to talk to Natthakit, Yoswaris added.

Two suspects arrested, while ‘Jeng Dokjik’ denies involvement in extortion

Pimnattha said she had called Natthakit to ask for the money because she feared that the person for whom she had acted as a conduit, would suspect she had embezzled the money. She said she could not disclose the name of the person.

Yoswaris ended his press conference by asking the media to investigate whether Natthakit’s wife was unusually rich because she had started her company with an investment of over 600 million baht.

nationthailand