Senior district officials surrender to police to fight villa permit extortion charge
published : 7 Nov 2022 at 20:40
writer: Wassayos Ngamkham
A deputy district chief handed himself to his supervisor and police on Monday to fight allegations he demanded money from operators of villas with pools in exchange for permits.
Phatthavaj Daval, the deputy chief of Sattahip district, reported to Chon Buri governor Tawatchai Srithong and the Anti-Corruption Division (ACD) of the Royal Thai Police at the provincial hall after a court warrant was issued for him on Friday.
Mr Phatthavaj is facing multiple charges including corruption and abuse of authority.
The charges were levelled against him after operators of villas with pools in the district complained to the ACD that local officials were asking for money for the issuance of non-hotel permission documents.
They said they had to pay them 15,000 baht for each permit. If they did not pay the money, the officials would defer approval.
The non-hotel licence allows operators to manage accommodation on a much smaller scale than hotels. It is sometimes called a homestay licence.
Registrants can go to the Department of Provincial Administration or the district office where the accommodation is located for the permit, which is issued free of charge.
Mr Phatthavaj is the second senior district official to surrender to authorities. Kanthapong Suwanpathumlert, another deputy chief of Sattahip district, and an unknown number of officials were arrested on the same charges on Oct 28 before being granted bail. A subsequent investigation showed Mr Phatthavaj was also involved.
The provincial governor said the officials asked the villa operators to put the money in envelopes and drop them in a donation box at the Thai Red Cross office in Sattahip.
ACD chief Pol Maj Gen Charoonkiat Pankaew said Mr Phatthavaj denied the allegations, but police had CCTV footage showing him opening the envelopes.
He is being interrogated at Muang police station in Chon Buri while his bail request is considered.