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Phuket dive extortion cases 'close to going to court'


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Phuket dive extortion cases ‘close to going to court’
Anthika Muangrod

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Col Wannop: 'They have the right to put their version of the story to the judge.'

PHUKET: -- The Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) is close to finalising its case against three police officers from Chalong on corruption charges.

The cases against the three officers, accused of running an extortion racket against foreign dive instructors and other foreign employees of dive companies at Chalong Pier face one more procedure before being handed over to the public prosecutor.

Pol Lt Col Wannop Somchintanakul, Head of the Section 4 of the PACC, told The Phuket News today (July 25) that the cases will be passed to the PACC Committee, which will review them, and if it feels they will stand up in court, will hand them to the prosecutor, most likely by next month.

“If the committee, after it reviews the cases, concludes that there is solid evidence of wrongdoing, it will pass the cases to the prosecutor.

“We expect them to be charged with corruption. They have the right to put their version of the story to the judge,” Col Wannop added.

Pol Col Krittapas Dechintharasorn, the Superintendent of Chalong Police Station said that he did not yet have a policy to prevent such a problem between his officers and the dive companies in the future.

But he told The Phuket News that government officials, including police, “know well how to behave”.

“The PACC hasn’t informed me yet about the case, but I think [the investigation] is nothing unusual; if something goes wrong, someone will check up on it.

“I don’t have a specific policy to deal with the problem [of corrupt officers extorting money from the dive industry] because all police officers know The National Police Service Act well and [know the consequences of contravening it].”

He added that the cases did not indicate anything was wrong with the police system as a whole. “This involved individuals. It can happen in any organisation. It doesn’t mean that the whole organisations is wrong. The individual who does the wrong thing is the one who has to take responsibility.

“Especially now that the [National Council for Peace and Order] is governing the country, everyone has to behave well,” he added.

Pol Lt Col Wannop added that the PACC is also working hard on cases connected to the Sirinat Marine National Park.

“Eleven cases are now being checked by PACC. We have set up an investigating team already for three of the cases and the other eight cases are being checked for basic information and facts.”

Source: http://www.thephuketnews.com/phuket-dive-extortion-cases-%E2%80%98close-to-going-to-court%E2%80%99-47531.php

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-- Phuket News 2014-07-25

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Why don't the PACC set up a couple of hidden CCTV along Chalong pier road. They can then check to see if any of the local police pop in to each of the beer bars and massage parlours along that strip to collect tea money.

Because no-one in power (police/PACC/local gov) want any video evidence to surface. All just continue to say nothing to see here, move along.

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Why don't the PACC set up a couple of hidden CCTV along Chalong pier road. They can then check to see if any of the local police pop in to each of the beer bars and massage parlours along that strip to collect tea money.

The question is,why do people pay tea money if they have a legal set up ? or am i being naive ?

You're being naive. They will always something whether legal or not.

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Why don't the PACC set up a couple of hidden CCTV along Chalong pier road. They can then check to see if any of the local police pop in to each of the beer bars and massage parlours along that strip to collect tea money.

The question is,why do people pay tea money if they have a legal set up ? or am i being naive ?

You're being naive. They will always something whether legal or not.

No, they don't, soalbundy is absolutely right.

I have had them many times in my shop, and never have had a problem.

You know as well as I do that the main problem here is that these people were working illegally. And I'm not talking about location or bags, those were just side issues.

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Why don't the PACC set up a couple of hidden CCTV along Chalong pier road. They can then check to see if any of the local police pop in to each of the beer bars and massage parlours along that strip to collect tea money.

The question is,why do people pay tea money if they have a legal set up ? or am i being naive ?

There are always small things wrong in every single operation even with the best of wills...say lack of a fire extinguisher, or a customer smoking in the bar, a broken tile etc.. that can lead to a fine. The tea money avoids some of this stupidity in the application of the rules. Most people try to have a legal setup, I'm sure.

Not the case in this 'extortion'. They are flaunting the law on a continuous basis, which is still (or again) happening at the moment. They know they're acting illegally, and keep doing it.

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Re. “Especially now that the [National Council for Peace and Order] is governing the country, everyone has to behave well,” he added.

Long may they continue to do so! Sadly I fear that when elections eventually happen things will just return to as they were before.

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Why don't the PACC set up a couple of hidden CCTV along Chalong pier road. They can then check to see if any of the local police pop in to each of the beer bars and massage parlours along that strip to collect tea money.

The question is,why do people pay tea money if they have a legal set up ? or am i being naive ?
Even if your bar, shop, company is 100% legal, many laws can be interpreted differently and the threat of hassle by way of constant checks to ensure you remain 100% legal is always there.

Ever been stopped on the highway for " not keeping left"? Or stopped for speeding even if not speeding? It's pay up or spend the time to go down to the police station to state your case.

In the case of motoring fines and tea money, the small amount of money involved makes it practical to pay up. The mistake made by these Chalong officers was to make the payment so large as to be worth arguing about and bringing profile to their "operation" by making wholesale arrests.

Arrogance and greed were their downfall.......assuming they do indeed fall down rather than walking free.

Edited by Carrerakiss
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