Officer under investigation for extortion charged over drugs in police raid

Breaking News January 29, 2018 19:33

By Kittipong Maneerit
The Nation

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A traffic policeman in Bangkok’s Lumphini precinct, who allegedly forced a bogus drug charge against a Canadian national in attempt to extort money from the victim, has been dismissed from the civil service and faces a serious disciplinary probe in addition to a criminal investigation.



The constable-ranked officer – 46-year-old Pol Senior Sergeant Major Cherdchai Phuchuaythuam – was arrested on Monday, and 0.5 grams of crystal meth or “ice” and a pistol plus seven bullet were seized at an apartment in Sathorn district. Police also nabbed his alleged accomplice in the extortion, Chakrit Theeluay, 37 at the apartment. 

An urine test on both men found both were positive for substance abuse, said Tourist Police Bureau deputy chief Maj-General Surachet Hakpan, who led the operation.

They both were initially charged with conspiracy to illegally detain another person, having drugs in their possession and using drugs, while Cherdchai faced additional charges of illegal possession of a gun and carrying a weapon in public places.

Surachet said the arrest stemmed from a police complaint filed by a 25-year-old Canadian man, who worked as a foreign language school instructor. The complainant claimed to have been lured by a good-looking man from Facebook, with whom he was supposed to meet at his apartment on Sunday. But instead Cherdchai showed up at his door. When the Canadian resisted the stranger’s entry, the policeman forced his way in, detained him and tried to lay a charge of “ice” possession against the foreigner. 

The Canadian managed to flee from the building and went on to file the complaint with the Thung Mahamek precinct. 

Surachet said that an initial probe found that Cherdchai had been placed on probation several times over allegedly filing bogus drug charge against others.

This time, Cherdchai was dismissed from the civil service. City police chief Pol Lt-General Chanthep Sesawet also set up a fact-finding committee to probe whether Cherdchai's supervisors at the Lumphini precinct should also be punished for negligence in allowing the subordinate to commit a wrongdoing.

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