11 immigration police, officials arrested on bribery charges

11 immigration police, officials arrested on bribery charges

Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, assistant national police chief, third from left, inspects fishing vessels in the southern border province of Songkhla before attending a media conference to announce the arrest of 11 officials involved in graft and malfeasance. (Photo: Assawin Pakkawan)
Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, assistant national police chief, third from left, inspects fishing vessels in the southern border province of Songkhla before attending a media conference to announce the arrest of 11 officials involved in graft and malfeasance. (Photo: Assawin Pakkawan)

Eleven government officials, including six immigration police, have been arrested and charged for allegedly taking bribes to facilitate the release of five foreign fishing trawlers earlier confiscated for illegally fishing in Thai waters.

Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, assistant national police chief, on Friday evening announced the arrests of the 11 officials for alleged graft and malfeasance.

In December last year, police and fisheries officials had seized the five trawlers and arrested 22 crew members for fishing in Thai waters without permission.  After court proceedings, the trawlers were kept at the Songkhla customs office and were later put up for auction.  

The fishing boats had been barred from leaving Thailand following the auction. However, the vessels were soon spotted entering Malaysian waters, and Thai police had coordinated with Malaysian police to intercept them.

Police began the investigation that led to the arrest of 13 people involved in bringing the vessels out of the country. One of them was Prasert, a representative of a shipping firm, said Pol Lt Gen Surachate. The surname of the man was not disclosed.

The officers extended the investigation that shed light to more officials involved. Arrest warrants had been issued for 11 government officials – six immigration police and five officials working at marine border and disease control checkpoints – for taking bribes, malfeasance and dereliction of their duty. All surrendered.

The six immigration police were Pol Sub Lt Chanida Khaiyasena, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Reowadee Suphong, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Khunnaphat Chanowan, Pol Sgt Rada Nookhong, acting Pol Lt Chatree Onthon, and acting Pol Lt Chindanai Kawsriwarawong. 

The other five were two marine officials - Niti Uthumporn and Chatuporn Khetdam - and three senior disease control checkpoints - Anuphat Korwanit, Jettawat Khomkhao and Nonthaphat Ampornphan. 

All 11 officials were held in custody at Singha Nakhon police station in Songkhla pending legal action, said Pol Lt Gen Surachate. Drastic action would be taken against those officials, he added.

Pol Lt Gen Surachate Hakparn, assistant national police chief, announces the arrests of 11 officials for alleged graft and malfeasance in connection with the release of the five fishing trawlers. (Photo: Assawin Pakkawan)

A police chart displays immigration police and officials involved in bribe-taking. (Photo: Assawin Pakkawan)


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