Senior tourist police and fake cop nabbed for graft
A police senior sergeant major faces the sack and criminal charges after being suspended for allegedly demanding bribes from entertainment venues in Nonthaburi.
The officer was named as Pol Sen Sgt Maj Phuwamet Hirunwongwaradol, 38, who is a squad leader at Subdivision 1 of Tourist Police Division 1.
Pol Maj Gen Apichart Suriboonya, the tourist police deputy chief and spokesman, said the officer was assigned on Thursday to patrol the Prawet, Bang Rak and Thong Lor areas of Bangkok but reportedly drove a police car to Bang Yai district in Nonthaburi.
He was allegedly accompanied by Manus Suksom, 46, who drove another car and posed as a tourist police officer. The two then collected bribery payments from entertainment venues in the area on Thursday night.
Police followed the two suspects and arrested them in the car park of Central Plaza West Gate shopping mall. The arresting officers also seized 100,000 baht in cash which included marked banknotes given to some entertainment venues by police after they received a tip-off about police taking bribes.
After the arrest, the Tourist Police Bureau issued a statement apologising for the officer's conduct.
Pol Lt Gen Sukhun Prommayon, chief of the Tourism Police Bureau, has ordered Pol Sen Sgt Maj Phuwamet's suspension. The suspect will face criminal charges and a disciplinary probe.
Mr Manus will be charged with impersonating a police officer and extortion. Pol Sen Sgt Maj Phuwamet has served as a tourist police officer since 2010.