Police chief apologises over alleged extortion of actress

Police chief apologises over alleged extortion of actress

Most police are decent and dedicated, he says

National police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas. (Photo supplied)
National police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas. (Photo supplied)

The national police chief has apologised to those affected by the alleged extortion of a visiting Taiwanese actress by Bangkok checkpoint police, saying that most police are decent people dedicated to serving the public.

Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas said on Tuesday that he apologised to people who were affected by the actions of police on duty at the time.

He had ordered the Bangkok police chief to find out the facts in the case involving actress Charlene An as soon as possible.

Bangkok police investigators might go to Taiwan and Singapore to question people involved, but would be willing to listen to them through any other channel. Maybe they would like to share their information with Interpol instead, Pol Gen Damrongsak said.

He was aware that police involved the alleged soliciting of a bribe admitted only to dereliction of duty for their failure to charge the actress for her illegal possession of a vaping device. They denied they extorted 27,000 baht in exchange for her freedom, at their early morning checkpoint on Jan 4.

A source said 14 police were questioned over the extortion allegation on Monday and all denied they took a bribe. Seven of the 14, from Huai Khwang station, were transferred to inactive positions pending further investigation.

The police chief said an investigating committee was still looking into the extortion allegation. Their probe would be aboveboard.

Pol Gen Damrongsak said the station chief and senior officers at Huai Khwang would have to take responsibility in the case. The Bangkok police chief should not be held responsible.

He said most police were decent people and devoted to serving the public. He had ordered all police, including tourist and immigration, to perform their duties transparently and honestly. 

"I would like all people, including tourists, to have confidence in the police," Pol Gen Damrongsak said.

Meanwhile, the woman at the centre of the storm, Ms An, has posted on her Instagram account, expressing her gratitude to the people who gave her encouragement, support and care "to help me walk through this moment of traumatic darkness".

"Thailand, your culture, people, food, will always be special to me. I look forward to a better experience on my future visits," she wrote.

Pol Maj Gen Atthaporn Wongsiripreeda, commander of the Metropolitan Police Division 1, said on Tuesday that investigators still needed information from people involved the case. They could contact him to arrange a video call so they could be questioned.

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