Ex-cop bailed over market extortion, vows to sue accusers
published : 13 May 2018 at 17:22
writer: Online Reporters
The former deputy superintendent of the Special Branch Bureau linked to extortion at a cosmetics market was released on bail on Sunday and immediately threatened to sue all his accusers.
The Criminal Court approved a bail request for Pol Lt Col Santhana Prayoonrat and required a 300,000 baht deposit in cash. The outspoken officer was forbidden to leave the country or tamper with evidence. He was required to report to the court on July 2.
Pol Lt Col Santhana surrendered to police at his house on Saturday to face extortion charges in relation to Don Muang New Market, a marketplace selling cosmetics.
He was detained at Don Muang police station on Saturday night and taken to the court on Sunday, where authorities sought further detention on grounds that his release could obstruct investigations into the case.
The court rejected the police request and freed him on bail.
The former policeman said after emerging from the court that he is preparing to sue all the people accusing him of extortion for damaging his reputation.
Pol Lt Col Santhana is an advisor to Pattana Talat Mai Don Muang Co, the operator of the controversial market that allegedly sold substandard and unlicensed cosmetics and food supplements. He is one of 11 suspects facing arrest warrants after police interviewed more than 100 vendors and witnesses at the market in Don Muang district.
According to police complaints forwarded to the court, he and 10 other suspects were accused of extorting monthly payments of between 1000 and 3000 baht from cosmetic shops at the market from April 2016 to this year.
The gang also allegedly collected a monthly parking fee of 700 baht from each car owner and 300 baht from each motorcyclist.
He has denied all charges.
Pol Gen Weerachai Songmetta, a deputy national police chief in charge of the crackdown operation at the market, on Sunday tried to reassure witnesses after the former policeman warned of legal action.
All witnesses will be protected by police and investigators had solid evidence on which to convict Pol Lt Col Santhana, Pol Gen Weerachai said.