Deputy district chief, drug enforcement volunteers surrender over bribe

Deputy district chief, drug enforcement volunteers surrender over bribe

Deputy national police chief Pol Lt Gen Surachet Hakparn speaks to reporters about the investigation into a bribe from a drug suspect by a drug enforcement team in Ratthaphum district, Songkhla. (Photo: Assawin Pakkawan)
Deputy national police chief Pol Lt Gen Surachet Hakparn speaks to reporters about the investigation into a bribe from a drug suspect by a drug enforcement team in Ratthaphum district, Songkhla. (Photo: Assawin Pakkawan)

SONGKHLA: The deputy district chief of Rattaphum and five drug enforcement volunteers turned themselves in to police on Tuesday, after the Songkhla Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant against them for asking for a bribe and dereliction of duty.

National police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas said the team leader, SM1 Phairat Kaewmanee, who is the deputy district chief, and his five volunteers of Phikhat Phairi squad - Chalermsak Thongjaeng, Phitsanu Rattanaurai, Sutthipong Suwannachatri, Lertrit Chaiphruekkul and Adisak Wangni - were questioned by Songkhla police.

The Phikhat Phairi team on Monday night arrested Thanakorn Suwanchana, who sold 20,000 methamphetamine pills to the official team in Rattaphum district. The team then instructed Thanakorn, 35, to order 8 kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine, or “ice”, from another man. They planned to receive the "ice" at the Sala Khiao intersection in Rattaphum on Tuesday night.

However, the operation ended after nine gang members from Thanakorn’s side hijacked two official cars and fled the scene. One of the vehicles carried seized drugs and another had five guns of the volunteers.

Pol Gen Damrongsak said six of the nine gang members were arrested following the incident, while three others are still on the run.

Based on the interrogation of the six suspects, police found that the gang had a conversation with SM1 Phairat via Line app. The officer also called Thanakorn’s relatives asking for 1 million baht or 200,000 meth pills or 10kg of crystal meth to release him. The negotiation was conducted before the drug dealers met the team.

Deputy national police chief Pol Lt Gen Surachet Hakparn told media on Tuesday that the drug enforcement team admitted to the wrongdoing and said they had done it for the first time. 

However, police investigators were not convinced by their statements and asked if anyone was threatened by the squad to file complaints with police.

Further investigation was underway.


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