Airport VVIP row prompts uniform rule

Airport VVIP row prompts uniform rule

Suvarnabhumi chief responds to outrage over police pampering tourist in exchange for cash

An official checks documents of a traveler at Suvarnabhumi airport. (File photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
An official checks documents of a traveler at Suvarnabhumi airport. (File photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Suvarnabhumi Airport now requires all government officials working there to wear their uniforms, to make it easier to identify who they are and which orgnisation they work for.

The requirement follows an incident in which two traffic policemen and one tourist police officer were caught on video at the airport providing a Chinese tourist with an immigration clearance shortcut and then a traffic-dodging police escort to her hotel in Pattaya, said Kittipong Kittikachorn, the airport general manager.

Another tourist policeman was also believed involved in the illegal provision of VVIP services to the tourist in exchange for money, according to the Royal Thai Police.

The airport has terminated airport passes granted to the four officers, meaning they can no longer gain access to the airport’s restricted areas, said Mr Kittipong.

“I’m glad to see this [morally wrong] incident made public. And if those police organisations take this problem seriously, I strongly believe the problem will be solved and over,” he said.

Pol Maj Gen Apichat Suriboonya, spokesman for the Tourist Police Bureau (TPB), said the fourth officer was a police senior sergeant major who asked the other tourist police officer to do the VVIP job for him.

As for the Chinese tourist who posted the video online, the TPB will have to decide whether she should be questioned as that might affect Thai-Chinese relations and Thai tourism, he said.

Metropolitan Police Bureau commissioner, Pol Lt Gen Thiti Saengsawang, said the three officers seen in the video using police sirens on their personal vehicles would surely face both disciplinary and criminal charges.

Their superiors are also being investigated and will possibly be held accountable for what these officers have done, said Pol Lt Gen Thiti.

If similar misconduct occurs, the superiors of any police officer found involved will have to take responsibility and be punished as well, he said.

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