An investigation has been launched against 15 police officers in Phuket accused of taking bribes from illegal immigrants.
Deputy Police Commissioner General Pol Gen Srivara Ransibrahmanakul said he had been assigned by the national police chief to head the probe into allegations that local police, tourist police and immigration police in Phuket had received bribes in exchange for “turning a blind eye” to undocumented migrant workers and illegal immigrants.
Srivara said he had instructed the Immigration Bureau and Provincial Police Bureau 8, which covers Phuket, to form a joint investigative panel into the 15 officers.
Srivara took the action after a Facebook user, who called himself “Spotlight Phuket”, made a recent allegation on his Facebook page.
Initial checks found that police stations in Phuket arrested 142 illegal immigrants from October 1 2016 to October 31 2017 - but there were no records of the immigrants being handed over to the Immigration Bureau in accordance with the law, Srivara said.
As a result, he issued an order on Wednesday to have police on the island set up a committee to probe the 15 officers.
They have been identified as:
1. Pol Lt Col Somnuek Damkaew, inspector of Kamala police station
2. Pol Lt Col Surachai Channarong, inspector of Karon police station
3. Pol Lt Col Bandasak Srilert, inspector of Sakhu police stations
4. Pol Lt Col Natthaya Suwanpong, inspector of Mueang police station
5. Pol Capt Prasert Thongprom, deputy inspector of Kamala police station
6. Pol Capt Nipon Temsang, deputy inspector of Karon police station
7. Pol Capt Wichote Meepop, acting deputy inspector of Kathu police station
8. Pol Capt Watanathorn Bamrungthin, deputy inspector of Kathu police station
9. Pol Capt Charnnarong Prakongkua, deputy inspector o Karon police station
10. Pol Lt Sawanya Iadtrong, deputy inspector of Kathu police station
11. Pol Lt Thanakhan Utchahyarassamee, deputy inspector of Sakhu police station
12. Pol Lt Sura Lertthaisong, deputy inspector of Sakhu police station
13. Pol Lt Julla-at Kittinonthikorn, acting deputy inspector of Sakhu police station
14. Pol Lt Patcharathorn Chan-iad, deputy inspector of Sakhu police station
15. Pol Lt Suwisit Khirirak, deputy inspector of Karon police station.
The investigative committee is being headed by Pol Maj Gen Thirapol Kuptanon, the deputy commissioner of Provincial Police Bureau 9.
Of the 142 illegal immigrants, 26 had been arrested by Sakhu police, 3 by Karon police, 43 by Kathu police and 70 by Kamala police.