Corrupt officers 'must go'
PM backs efforts to reform police force
published : 14 Feb 2023 at 04:00
newspaper section: News
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha admitted on Monday that police corruption has been going on for years, and stakeholders must make a concerted effort to clean up the police force.
He was responding to questions regarding two senior police officers who are accused of being behind an online multi-billion baht gambling network. The issue is the latest in a series of misconduct allegations that have rocked the Royal Thai Police (RTP).
Last week, media firebrand Chuvit Kamolvisit said the macau888 online gambling network had about 5.5 billion baht in circulation, which was relatively small compared with another gambling network run by "Inspector Sua" and "General Jor". The pair allegedly used their connections to run the network with 10 billion baht in circulation.
Gen Prayut on Monday said the authorities are investigating the activities of the two officers. He said he has made it clear that those who are found in the wrong must face legal and disciplinary action.
The government takes the matter seriously and a regulation was issued recently to require state officials accused of corruption to be temporarily dismissed pending investigation, he said.
He said the problem requires collaboration, noting police corruption has been around for a long time. The government is determined to address the issue, but it needs people to come forward and obtain evidence to back up accusations, he said.
He said he appreciates people who step forward to expose police misdeeds, adding accusations will be looked into and wrongdoers will not be let off the hook.
Asked if the government will press ahead with police reforms before its term ends, the prime minister said a national policing act began to take effect recently. It introduced new rules governing the police force, in line with the national reform plan, he said.
"The police force has good and bad officers and the latter must be dealt with while stressing that work ethics and personal integrity must be taught and instilled," he said.
Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry on Monday lodged a complaint with Nang Loeng police against the Pentor Group Foundation for allegedly operating without being registered.
Pentor Group Foundation is allegedly linked to Pol Lt Col Wasawat Mukarasakul, also known as "Inspector Sua", one of the officers accused by Mr Chuvit of running an illegal online gambling network.
Suttipong Juljarern, the ministry's permanent secretary, said the foundation faces three charges -- setting up an unregistered foundation, soliciting without permission and uploading false information into the computer system.
Mr Chuvit last week posted a list of 10 companies allegedly linked to Pol Lt Col Wasawat under the Pentor Group umbrella as he pressed the RTP to take action.
Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, head of the police panel set up to look into Pol Lt Col Wasawat's alleged misconduct, said his team is tasked with finding out if Pol Lt Col Wasawat is involved in a gambling network and also examining his assets.
"The panel is gathering information and will build a case when it has evidence or information about illegal activities," said Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop, Central Investigation Bureau commissioner.
Mr Chuvit will be invited to provide information, he said, noting that the committee, which is made up of officers from various units, is up to do the task in hand.