Acquitted tour operator strikes back, sues police
published : 28 Sep 2017 at 16:05
writer: Wassayos Ngamkham
The managing director of bus operator OA Transport, recently acquitted in a zero-dollar tours case, filed a malfeasance complaint against tourist and Bangkok police officers at the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) on Thursday.
Wasurat Rojrungrangsi arrived at the CSD headquarters in Bangkok to file his complaint against Pol Col Surasak Surinkaew, a superintendent of Tourist Police, and Pol Lt Col Thammarak Ruangkit, of the Phaya Thai police station.
Mr Wasurat, 27, said Pol Col Surasak had accused him, his family and their companies of operating an illegal business, and the complaint that was filed with Pol Lt Col Thammarak led to charges against them and their five months in detention pending court trial.
He and his family had suffered through detention as their bail request had been rejected. Their reputations were tarnished, their 30-year-old business had collapsed, they were in debt for billions of baht and their 1,000 employees had been laid off, Mr Wasurat said.
On Aug 25, the Criminal Court dropped charges against Mr Wasurat and 12 other parties, ruling there was insufficient evidence against them.
Prosecutors brought the case to court in October of last year following raids on companies believed to be involved in the country's biggest zero-dollar tour network, a coordinated scam to sell unusually cheap tour packages to tourists.
The tourists were allegedly led into buying overpriced products and services from shops aligned with the tour operator.
OA Transport was raided and more than 2,000 of its buses were impounded.
The 13 defendants, including the six firms, faced charges that included collusion to unfairly reap benefits from tourists, illegally running tour services, laundering money and causing damage to the Thai economy and tourism.
Those accused were Somkiat Khongcharoen, 58, managing director of Fuan Travel Co; Thawal Jaemchokechai, 60, an executive of Fuan Travel; and Winit Chantharamanee, 70, a manager of the same firm.
The others were from the same family. They were: Nisa Rojrungrangsi, 62, managing director of Royal Gems International Co, Thai Herb Co, Bangkok Handicraft Centre Co and Royal Paradise Co; her husband Thongchai, 61; their son Wasurat, 27, managing director of OA Transport; and their daughter Saithip, 36, director of Baan Kanom Thongthip. Their six companies run transport and retail businesses.