PM urges punishment for VVIP police
published : 26 Jan 2023 at 05:42
newspaper section: News
writer: Mongkol Bangprapa
Any police officer hired to offer "VVIP" services to the Chinese tourist whose clip went viral will have to be punished according to the law, said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Wednesday.
The premier made his comments after a popular Facebook page exposed the VVIP service, with immigration officers fast-tracking a Chinese tourist's entry into the country and escorting her to her hotel destination with a police motorcade. The service she bought reportedly has been on offer for 10 years.
This illegal service has become the talk of the town, and the public urged the Royal Thai Police (RTP) to investigate the matter because it has tarnished the country and the police force's reputation.
Public criticism became even more intense after a Facebook page, "Lui Chine" or "shoot2china'', which has 1.4 million followers, posted reviews about "VVIP entry services" that were on sale via the e-commerce platform, shortly after the Tourism Authority of Thailand said its offices in China could not find the advertisement offering such services.
Meanwhile, Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas, the national police chief, on Wednesday said he has ordered an accelerated investigation into the unapproved police VVIP escort and immigration service sold online.
He promised criminal and disciplinary action against any officers found responsible.
"I have ordered an accelerated investigation into this alleged sideline business run by police officers," Pol Gen Damrongsak said.
The national police chief said the investigation panel, headed by a police inspector-general, was investigating the Chinese woman's claim that she paid Thai police for the VVIP treatment at Suvarnabhumi airport.
She posted a video showing a tourist police officer and uniformed traffic police providing the service.
The video was posted on a Chinese social media platform and formed part of the review of her trip to Thailand. The clip went viral and drew a torrent of criticism from Thai viewers.
Pol Gen Damrongsak said there may be other people colluding with the accused officers, and the panel would look into all issues involved.
The RTP has clear guidelines and criteria for police motorcades, Pol Gen Damrongsak said. The police motorcade seen in the video did not match any of the criteria, and those involved acted of their own volition.
Police need time to investigate and find out if any others had been involved in the scheme and for how many years, he said.