Rank corruption tarnishes force
The latest scandal to rock the police force has come, like so many before it, from within. It was as baffling as it was humiliating for the force when a police officer came forward and accused another of failing to help him buy a higher rank, even though he had paid the bribe in full at the going rate.
It shows either the police officer who claimed to be the victim in the case did not realise buying a position was a crime, or that such corruption was so rampant in the police department that he thought it was normal, or both. The police officer in question did not feel any shame in revealing that he had been cheated out of a job, even though he handed over a substantial amount of cash at a petrol station in order to win the promotion.
On July 5, Pol Capt Chanchai Yensuk, 39, accused Pol Capt Chanintuch Ratchinotrai, 38, of making false claims about his ability to get him promoted and deceiving him out of a large sum of money.
In the complaint made at Bang Sue Police Station, Pol Capt Chanintuch, an inspector in charge of crime suppression at Bang Rak station, allegedly asked Pol Capt Chanchai, a traffic deputy inspector at Nimit Mai station, to pay him 700,000 baht to buy some "souvenirs" for a high-ranking police officer who could help him become an inspector.
However, Pol Capt Chanchai was not promoted, even though he already paid the money. In response to the complaint, Pol Capt Chanintuch reportedly admitted lying to Pol Capt Chanchai about being able to get him promoted.
He denied knowing any high-ranking police officer who could help Pol Capt Chanchai receive a promotion. Pol Capt Chanintuch said he intended to spend the money he received from Pol Capt Chanchai on himself.
Regardless of what the two police officers said, what they did was wrong and the incident must be investigated.
Every police reshuffle season, there are allegations of position buying. Despite the repeated denials from the top brass, the allegations have tarnished the public's trust in the police force as they make people question the merit and motive of police officers. Why do some law enforcers agree to pay huge sums of money for low-paid civil servant jobs?
A serious investigation would show the public that the police will not tolerate such malpractice.
However, the police have not responded to the allegation forcefully. The two officers were simply transferred to another position for one month, pending the outcome of the investigation. The probe is confined to Pol Capt Chanintuch, who asked for the money, even though the bribe was mutually upon at both ends.
Senior officers have so far dismissed the incident as an isolated case, even though promotion buying, if it happens, requires other accomplices, especially senior officers, who can use their power to make it happen.
Besides, the police should also look into precedence. Why was Pol Capt Chanchai so easily convinced that he would be able to buy his way up the ranks? There are questions to be asked about whether he has seen this done successfully before. Also, were there other senior police officers involved in the position buying?
The police are supposed to ensure justice by adhering to law and order. The officers should be promoted according to their performance and merit, not the amount of money given to people in charge of who works where.
The timing of the scandal was also humiliating as it came shortly after the police bluntly denied allegations of position buying in the force.
Earlier, Adm Phajun Tamprateep, a former close aide to Privy Council president Gen Prem Tinsulanonda, blew the whistle on alleged position buying in the police force. Former House speaker Arthit Ourairat, who is now rector of Rangsit University, also posted a comment on his Facebook about alleged jockeying for positions.
But high-ranking police officers did not take any action to find out the truth of such claims or take preventative actions against position buying.
The failure to suppress the alleged internal fraud and bribery led to the latest shameful incident.
The case has tainted law enforcement officers, especially after the police force has recently faced a series of scandals. The only way for the police to regain the public trust is to provide closure with thorough investigations to clearly separate the bad cops from the good ones. Otherwise, the public may question how many of the rest have also bought their way up the ranks.
Bangkok Post editorial column
These editorials represent Bangkok Post thoughts about current issues and situations.
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