CHON BURI: A Pattaya police officer accused of demanding 60,000 baht from a tourist for possession of an e-cigarette has been temporarily dismissed from the police service pending a serious disciplinary investigation.
Pol Sen Sgt Maj Noppakrit Pornwatanathanakij, a traffic officer at Pattaya police station, was initially transferred to an inactive post at the operations centre of the provincial police office on Feb 1 following a news report and pictures on the "Hone Krasae" television programme aired on Channel 3 on Jan 31.
In the report, a Chinese tour guide was said to have sent a message to other guides in his group saying that a tourist under his care was detained for having an e-cigarette by a policeman who demanded a fine of 60,000 baht. After some bargaining, the sum was reduced to 30,000 baht. This allegedly happened in Pattaya on Jan 28 or 29.
A fact-finding committee was set up to investigate. The committee found there was sufficient evidence of Pol Sen Sgt Maj Noppakrit having committed a serious breach of discipline under Section 112 (1) of the National Police Act.
Another committee was subsequently set up to conduct a serious disciplinary investigation against the officer.
The provincial police office on Tuesday issued an order temporarily dismissing Pol Sen Sgt Maj Noppakrit from the police service pending the completion of the disciplinary investigation.
Under the same order, Pattaya police were to proceed with legal action against the officer on extortion charges.