Taiwanese actress alleges 'police extortion'

Taiwanese actress alleges 'police extortion'

Price of freedom was B27,000 after officers claimed visa on arrival was invalid

Taiwanese actress Charlene An poses for pictures at a shopping centre in Bangkok during her New Year vacation. (Screenshot from charlene_an517 Instagram)
Taiwanese actress Charlene An poses for pictures at a shopping centre in Bangkok during her New Year vacation. (Screenshot from charlene_an517 Instagram)

Police are investigating a Taiwanese actress’s complaint that police shook her down for 27,000 baht at a checkpoint in Huai Khwang district during her New Year holiday.

Pol Col Yingyos Suwanno, chief of the Huai Khwang station, said on Thursday that normally his station did not set up checkpoints in the area mentioned by Charlene An.

Ms An complained via social media that she was stopped at a checkpoint near the Chinese embassy at about 1am on Jan 4 and was kept there for about two hours.

She said the officers told her that her visa on arrival was unacceptable and must be printed in her passport with an official emblem. 

After being searched, and having long conversations with police and asking what she did wrong, the 33-year-old actress finally learned she had to pay for her freedom. She finally paid 27,000 baht and was freed, according to media reports.

Her group recorded a video of the search but the officers told them to delete it, she said.

“I will never go back to Thailand and I would like to warn Taiwanese people that they should be careful when they are visiting Thailand and do not carry a lot of cash in their wallets,” she told her 109,000 Instagram followers.

Pol Maj Gen Atchayon Kraithong, a spokesman for the Royal Thai Police Office, said on Thursday that the actress arrived in the country on Dec 29 and left on Jan 5.

She checked in at a hotel in the Thong Lor area and used a van for transport. Police plan to question the van driver to verify her story, he said.

The police have tried to contact the actress through her Instagram and Facebook accounts and also through the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Thailand but had yet to receive a response, Pol Maj Gen Atchayon said.

“This matter must be investigated carefully,” he said. “If any official did wrong, they will face criminal action right away without a wait for the damaged person’s complaint.”

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