Police officers handing out cash rewards to other police officers is: 1. an act of bribery by Thai law, 2. a conflict of interest, 3. an insult to other hard-working police & 4. a violation of ethical standards.
Pol Gen Somyot Poompunmuang shows off what he claims is three million baht, a "reward" for officers who made the first arrest in the Erawan shrine bombing case. (Post Today photo)
3 million baht police reward to police 'is bribery'
The national police chief took a shocking step on Monday. Pol Gen Somyot Poompunmuang went before the media and on live television to wave around blocks of 1,000-baht bills he said totalled three million baht.
The money was a reward for the policemen responsible for the arrest on Saturday of a foreign suspect in the Erawan shrine bombing. There is so much wrong with this act.
Police are already being paid a salary for their work. So why do they give a reward to themselves? The bombing case hasn't even been solved yet. This is what a lot of people are asking.
Police officers get their salary from taxpayers. So it is their duty to find the culprits when a crime is committed, especially in a case that threatens national security.
DONATIONS TO VICTIMS OF BLAST BETTER
It would be better if these funds were donated to the victims of the blast, say some critics.
Srisuwan Janya, secretary-general of the Association of Organisations Protecting the Thai Constitution, said a state official handing out a cash reward to other state officials -- who are required to do their jobs -- is considered an act of bribery by law.
"This is a form of bribery under the Organic Act on Counter-Corruption of 1999, and this specific policy was strictly revised in 2011," Mr Srisuwan said.
The reward also lacks transparency.
Sources said one million baht is for the Central Investigation Bureau team and one million baht is for the Metropolitan Police Bureau. It is still unknown who will receive the remaining one million.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
Cash incentives derail the morality of law enforcement. It is similar to the police policy of giving part of the money from traffic fines to traffic officers.
Traffic officers standing at a checkpoint pulling vehicles over, at the same time as motorcycles, cars and even buses down the street are running red lights with impunity at an intersection, endangering the lives everyone, is a common sight in Bangkok.
Cash rewards are a conflict of interest since it is the duty of law enforcers to enforce the law, not only to enforce laws for personal gain.
If there is a cash reward, the incentives for enforcing the law change completely. .
If the effort or cost of enforcing a law exceeds the reward or benefit to the law enforcer, then the law will likely not be enforced, even if there is a threat to public safety.
WHAT ABOUT POLICE WORKING ON OTHER CRIMINAL CASES?
Pol Gen Somyot's claim that his force deserves a reward for one minor success in one major case is an insult to all the other police officers working on thousands of other criminal cases.
There is also the manner of Monday's gratuitous action by the police chief. He bragged that of the three million baht he plans to distribute, one million came from his own pocket, and the rest from unnamed "friends".
One is hard put to itemise the ethical standards broken here. They include a distasteful show of wealth, and admitting to having friends with special influence.
SOME POLICE VERY RICH, SOME VERY POOR
While Pol Gen Somyot's personal financial success is well known, the mention of anonymous, rich friends is out of line.
In case the reader has forgotten, the current national police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang has 246.4 million baht in assets and his wife has 128.2 million baht in assets, with a net worth of 355.8 million.
The new national police chief, soon to be, General Chakthip Chaijinda (also spelt Jakthip Chaijinda in the past), is even wealthier with 97.4 million baht in assets and his wife has 870.9 million baht in assets. With 6.3 million baht in liabilities, the couple's net worth is 962 million baht, so he almost ranks as a billionaire police officer. (See here).
That high-ranking police officers are extremely rich while low-ranking police not only have low salaries and even have to buy their own uniforms, but are often heavily indebted, even to the point of bankruptcy has become an issue recently (see here and here).
CASE NOT EVEN CLOSE TO BEING SOLVED
Perhaps most disturbing is to hand out plaudits -- let alone actual rewards -- in a case that is not close to solved. Virtually every question about the atrocity at the Erawan shrine remains open. These include the identity of the bomber, the motives and the methods.The city bombers and those who helped assemble the bombs are still at large.
POLICE CHIEF ATTITUDE TOWARDS MEDIA
At the press conference following the Saturday arrest a reporter, being a good reporter answerable to the public, asked a question that many probably wanted to ask based on previous experience.
"Did you catch a scapegoat ?"
The national police chief blew up at this question: "Just go somewhere else if you want to talk about catching a scapegoat. Which publication are you from? You're not creative at all! Are you Thai?! People are enjoying the good atmosphere here," and he promptly ended the press conference and left:
Learn from listening
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act : an action - การกระทำ
anonymous : not named - ไม่ระบุชื่อ
arrest : (of the police or, in this case, soldiers) to take someone under control because they are believed to have committed a crime - จับกุม
assemble : bring parts together in a single group - ประกอบ
asset : something owned by a person, company etc., particularly money and property - ทรัพย์สิน
association : an official group of people who have joined together for a particular purpose - สมาคม
at large : in general - โดยทั่วไป
atmosphere : the mood or feeling that exists in a place - บรรยากาศ
atrocity : a cruel and violent act - การกระทำที่ชั่วร้าย
attitude : someone’s opinions or feelings about something, especially as shown by their behaviour - ทัศนคติ, ลักษณะท่าทาง
bankruptcy (noun): when a business runs out of money, cannot pay its debts and has to stop doing business; business failure - การล้มละลาย
benefit : an advantage you get from a situation; a helpful or good effect, or something intended to help - ผลประโยชน์, ข้อได้เปรียบ, ผลดี
blast : an explosion - การระเบิด
blew up : got very angry -
block : a solid piece of stone, wood, ice etc with straight sides - ท่อนหิน, ท่อนไม้, ก้อนใหญ่, ชิ้นใหญ่
brag : to talk too proudly about something you own or something you have done - พูดอวดดี, ฝอย
bribery : the crime of giving money or presents to someone so that they will help you by doing something dishonest or illegal - การให้สินบน
case : a matter that is being officially investigated, especially by the police - คดี
cash : money - เงินสด
checkpoint : a place where people are stopped and questioned and vehicles are examined, especially at a border between two countries - ด่านตรวจ
claim (noun): saying that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it - ข้ออ้าง ข้อกล่าวหา
commit : to do something wrong or illegal - ทำความผิด
common : ordinary; not unusual or special - ที่เกิดขึ้นทุกวัน, ธรรมดา
conflict of interest : a situation in which someone cannot make a fair decision because they will be affected by the results - ผลประโยชน์ทับซ้อน
consider : to regard as; to think of as - ถือว่า
constitution : the set of laws and basic principles that a country in governed by - รัฐธรรมนูญ
cost : an amount of money that people need to pay for something - ค่า
criminal : relating to illegal acts - เกี่ยวกับอาชญากรรม
critic : a person who expresses disapproval of somebody/something and talks about their bad qualities, especially publicly - ผู้วิจารณ์, ผู้จับผิด, ผู้วิเคราะห์
culprit : someone who has done something wrong - ผู้กระทำความผิด
current : of the present time - ปัจจุบัน
derail : to prevent something from continuing in the way that it was planned - ทำให้ล้มเหลว
distribute : to give something such as food, clothes or money to a group of people - แจกจ่าย
disturbing : making you feel extremely worried or upset - ที่ขุ่นเคืองใจ
donate : to give something such as money or goods to an organisation, especially to a temple, charity, school, political party, etc. - บริจาค
duty : something that you have to do because it is part of your job, or something that you feel is the right thing to do - หน้าที่, ความรับผิดชอบ
effort : an attempt to do something - ความพยายาม
endanger : to put in danger - ทำให้ตกอยู่ในอันตราย
enforce : to make sure laws are obeyed - บังคับให้ใช้, บังคับให้ทำ, ใช้กำลังบังคับให้ปฏิบัติตาม
especially : more with one person, thing, etc. than with others, or more in particular circumstances than in others - โดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่ง
ethical : involving the principles used for deciding what is right and what is wrong - ตามหลักจรรยา
exceed : to be more than something; to go beyond a limit - เกินกว่าที่กำหนด
experience (verb): to have something happen to you or to live through some event - ประสบ
financial : involving money - เกี่ยวกับเงิน, ทางการเงิน
funds : money needed or available to spend on something - เงินทุน
gain : to obtain or win something, especially something that you need or want - ได้รับ
hand out : give something to many people in a group -
hard put : difficult to do something -
high-ranking : senior; important - ที่มียศสูง, ที่อยู่ชั้นสูง
identity (noun): who someone is; what something is - เอกลักษณ์, ลักษณะพิเศษ, ลักษณะเฉพาะ
impunity : freedom from any risk of being punished for doing something wrong or bad - การได้รับยกเว้นจากการลงโทษ
incentive : something that makes you want to do something or work harder, because you know that you will benefit by doing this - สิ่งกระตุ้น
indebted (adj.): have debt; owing money - ติดหนี้, เป็นหนี้
influence : the power to have an effect on people or things - อิทธิพล
insult (noun): a remark or an action that is said or done in order to offend or upset somebody - การดูถูก, การประชดประชัน, การสบประมาท, การเย้ยหยัน
intersection : a place where roads, lines, etc., join or cross each other - สี่แยก
issue : a problem that needs to be considered - ประเด็น
itemise : to make a list of -
law enforcement : the process of making sure that people obey the law - การบังคับใช้กฎหมาย
law enforcer (noun): police and other officials whose job is to make sure laws are obeyed - ผู้บังคับใช้กฎหมาย
liability (noun): the amount of money that a person or company owes - หนี้สิน
major : very large or important - สำคัญมาก
manner : way - ลักษณะท่าทาง, กิริยาท่าทาง, วิธีการ
media : radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group - สื่อ
mention : the act of referring to someone or something in speech or writing - การกล่าวถึง, การเอ่ยถึง, การพูดถึง
method : a particular way of doing something - วิธีการ,วิธีดำเนินการ
Metropolitan Police Bureau (noun): a city police department, the Bangkok city police department - กองบัญชาการตำรวจนครบาล
minor : not important; small; having little influence or effect - เล็กน้อย
morality : principles of right or wrong behaviour - ความดีงาม, ความมีศีลธรรมจรรยา, ความมีคุณธรรม
motive : a reason for doing something - แรงจูงใจ
national (adjective): for the whole country - แห่งชาติ, ของชาติ
national security : the protection or the safety of a country’s secrets and its citizens - การรักษาความมั่นคงแห่ง่ชาติ
net worth : the value of all your property, possessions, and money after you remove what you owe - มูลค่าของทรัพย์สินทั้งหมดหลังจากลบออกหนี้สิน
official : someone with an important position in an organisation - เจ้าหน้าที่
out of line : not the right thing to do -
personal : your own; not belonging to or connected with anyone else - เป็นส่วนตัว
personally : used for saying that you talking about yourself or are giving your own opinion - โดยส่วนตัว
policy (noun): a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group - นโยบาย
press conference : an official meeting where someone makes a formal statement about a particular issue or event to journalists and answers their questions about it - การแถลงข่าว
promptly : in an immediate or quick way - ทันที
public : the public; all people; the people in general - มหาชน, ประชาชน
publication : the act of printing something in a newspaper, report, etc. so that the public knows about it - การพิมพ์, การแจ้งข่าว, การประกาศ
recently (adverb): not long ago - เมื่อไม่นานมานี้, เมื่อเร็วๆ นี้
red light : when the light at an intersection is red, which means stop -
require : to make somebody do or have something, especially because it is necessary according to a particular law or set of rules - บังคับใช้ (กฎหมาย) กำหนด
responsible : deserving to be blamed for something that has happened - มีความรับผิดชอบ
revise : to change, improve, or make additions to something - แก้ไข
reward : money that someone receives for finding and returning something or for helping the police - รางวัล
running red lights : when a vehicle goes through a red light at traffic lights, when they are supposed to stop -
salary : a fixed amount of money that you earn each month or year from your job - เงินเดือน
scapegoat : someone who is blamed for something that is not their fault, especially because someone else wants to avoid being blamed - ผู้รับเคราะห์แทนคนอื่น, แพะรับบาป
secretary-general (noun): the person who is in charge of the department that deals with the running of a large international or political organisation - เลขาธิการ, เลขาธิการใหญ่
shocking (adj): that offends or upsets people; that is morally wrong - เขย่าขวัญ,ทำให้สะดุ้งตกใจ,เลวมาก
sight (verb): to see something - เห็น, มองเห็น
similar : like somebody/something but not exactly the same - คล้ายกัน
solve (verb): to successfully deal with a problem or difficult situation; to find out who is responsible for a crime - แก้ปัญหา, คลี่คลาย, หาคำตอบ
standards : rules for behaving which should be obeyed - มาตรฐาน, บรรทัดฐาน, กฎเกณฑ์, กรอบ
state : government - รัฐบาล
step : one of a series of actions that you do in order to achieve a particular aim - ขั้นตอน
success (noun): achieving the goals you wanted to achieve or made a lot of money - มีผลสำเร็จ, ประสบผลสำเร็จ, ประสบชัยชนะ
suspect : a person who is thought to have committed a crime - ผู้ต้องสงสัย
taxpayer (noun): ordinary people and businesses who pay money to the government as taxes - ผู้เสียภาษี, ผู้ชำระภาษี
threat : a danger - อันตราย
threaten : to put at risk; to put in danger - ทำให้ตกอยู่ในความเสี่ยง
transparency : an honest way of doing things that allows other people to know exactly what you are doing - ความโปร่งใส
uniform : the special set of clothes worn by all members of an organisation or a group at work, or by children at school - เครื่องแบบ
victims : people who are killed injured or harmed in some way from an accident, natural disaster, crime, etc. - เหยื่อผู้เคราะห์ร้าย
virtually : almost - เกือบจะ
wave : to move your hand or arm from side to side in the air in order to attract attention, say hello, etc - โบกมือ, โบกเพื่อทักทายหรือส่งสัญญาณ
wealth : a large amount of money, property, etc. that a person or country owns - ความมั่งคั่ง