A senior policeman’s Chinese New Year gifts to fellow policemen did not constitute a crime, but might have been a breach of discipline, a Metropolitan Police Bureau commissioner said on Monday.
Lt-General Charnthep Sesawet said Pol Sub Lieutenant Manas Termthanasak gave about 60 fellow policemen traditional red ang pao envelopes, each containing Bt500 in cash and a talisman, describing the gifts as being “from an elder brother to juniors”.
Charnthep said Metropolitan Police Area 7 had launched a fact-finding probe into the gesture and has asked anyone involved to submit to questioning within seven days.
He cited a National Anti-Corruption Commission rule allowing civil servants to accept cash or items worth up to Bt3,000.
There is also a Royal Thai Police regulation against officers visiting business establishments during annual festivals, especially Lunar New Year, and collecting money, gifts or other benefits, an activity deemed “inappropriate”.
“This case seems to not be a crime, but it might be a disciplinary breach,” Charnthep said.
A Royal Thai Police source said Manas, who distributed the ang pao to fellow Metropolitan Police Area 7 officers at his Thonburi home, was being investigated for having skipped work to travel abroad 96 times between February 2017 and this month.
National police deputy chief Pol General Srivara Ransibrahmanakul issued an urgent order on Sunday for the Special Branch Division to investigate Manas.
The source said Srivara wanted Manas removed from duty as a member of Pol General Paisal Cheuarod’s security detail while his allegedly inappropriate actions were scrutinised.
Paisal is a former senior adviser to the Royal Thai Police.
The division ordered Manas to report for duty at his original Area 7 office on Monday and set up a fact-finding committee led by deputy superintendent Pol Lt Colonel Eknirut Wansiripak.