Police warned 'drunk' Taiwanese actress
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Police warned 'drunk' Taiwanese actress

Officers deny demanding money at checkpoint, say they only warned her about having a vapouriser

Police man a checkpoint in Bangkok during the New Year holiday period. (File photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Police man a checkpoint in Bangkok during the New Year holiday period. (File photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Bangkok police say they did not extort money from a Taiwanese actress, who they say appeared drunk, but warned her about illegal possession of a vapouriser before letting her go during a New Year checkpoint stop.

Pol Maj Gen Samroeng Suanthong, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, was responding on Thursday to claims by Charlene An that she had to pay 27,000 baht for her release during a lengthy standoff in which officers told her that her visa was not valid.

The checkpoint manned by six officers from the Huai Khwang station was part of a normal operation to ensure New Year holiday safety, he said. 

When the officers stopped the taxi carrying the Taiwanese actress and her friends around 1am on Jan 4, they carried out a normal search for illicit items in line with procedures, said Pol Maj Gen Samroeng.

The actress appeared drunk and did not have a passport, he added.

Police had communication problems with the group, who spoke Chinese while the officers used English and gestures.

The actress told police that she would have a friend bring her passport to the checkpoint. The policemen waited for over an hour but no one showed up, Pol Maj Gen Samroeng said.

Due to communication difficulties, both sides became frustrated and grew irritated with each other, he said.

When the officers asked the tourists to open their bags, they found a vapouriser belonging to the actress. The policemen warned her that such e-cigarette devices were illegal in Thailand.

Finally the policemen had to move their checkpoint to another location as scheduled. They let the actress’s group go without any legal action and there was no extortion as claimed, Pol Maj Gen Samroeng said.

Video from local surveillance cameras showed that the policemen stopped the taxi at the checkpoint and they did not bring anyone from the checkpoint to any deserted alley to demand money, he said.

Police plan to call the taxi driver and gather evidence to prove their innocence, the deputy chief said.

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