CCTV 'contradicts' Taiwan actress' extortion claims

CCTV 'contradicts' Taiwan actress' extortion claims

Charlene An posts on her Instagram on Friday that she did not drink and denies that she was drunk. (Photo from her Instagram account)
Charlene An posts on her Instagram on Friday that she did not drink and denies that she was drunk. (Photo from her Instagram account)

Footage from three security cameras in the area where a Taiwanese actress claimed Thai police extorted 27,000 baht from her contradicts her account of the incident, the Royal Thai Police (RTP) said on Friday.

The footage was from a camera installed outside the Chinese embassy on Ratchadaphisek Road and the other two cameras were on a pedestrian bridge which capture the corner of the alley where the actress claimed she paid money to the police, RTP spokesman, Pol Maj Gen Archayon Kraithong said.

The actress was seen together with three men approaching in a red Mazda 2 Grab taxi which was stopped by police at a security checkpoint at 2.27am, said the RTP spokesman.

The actress and the other three passengers were asked to get out of the car.

They stood on the pavement while communicating with the officers for a long while before an orange taxi came and picked them up, said Pol Maj Gen Archayon.

From start to finish, neither the actress nor any of the other three were seen on the cameras walking into the alley to pay the police as was claimed, he said.

Nonetheless, police will continue investigating the claimed extortion and there remains a key witness to question -- the driver of the orange taxi, whom police have now located, he said.

As for the actress, the RTP had contacted her via her Instagram message inbox asking for more information about the incident.

She sent back the GPS location of where she claimed the extortion took place, he said.

She promised to provide more details through Taiwanese authorities later, which prompted the RTP to contact Taiwan's main police investigation agency for cooperation, he said.

The police investigation also found the Taiwanese actress stayed at a hotel in the Thong Lor area from Dec 29 last year until Jan 2 before moving to a new place on Rama IX Road, where she stayed from Jan 3 until leaving Thailand on Jan 5, he said.

The first Grab driver who picked the four up and drove them to where they were stopped by the police has been questioned by investigators, said a source.

"Of course, I remember that woman in the news. She was speaking loudly all the time while sitting in the back seat looking obviously drunk," said the driver.

When officers informed them they needed to conduct a "police check" on them and asked to see their passports, the entire group went berserk and raised their voices.

After waiting for the passengers for about an hour, they paid him for the ride, and he then left, he said.

Pol Maj Gen Atthaporn Wongsiripreeda, the commissioner of Metropolitan Police Division 1, said the investigation was about 80% complete and is expected to finish in one or two days.

The Taiwanese actress was identified as An Yu Qing, also known by her English name Charlene An, in a news article published in Taiwan and translated into Thai.

It was posted on the Thai Facebook page "Ni Hao Taiwan, Chan Ma Laew" (Hello Taiwan, I'm here).

On Thursday, Pol Maj Gen Samroeng Suanthong, deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, said the seven police accused by the Taiwanese actress of extorting money from her denied any wrongdoing.

The officers admitted to having an argument with the Taiwanese tourist, who apparently was intoxicated.

She claimed she didn't carry her passport with her when asked to show it, said Pol Maj Gen Samroeng.

The officers also admitted having difficulties communicating with the tourist due to the language barrier and said they eventually let her go after concluding she was not a danger to others, he said.


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