National police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas has ordered highway police to investigate claims that drivers of overloaded lorries are not being arrested because they display special bribe-paid stickers.
Police spokesman Pol Lt Gen Archayon Kraithong said on Monday that Pol Gen Damrongsak wanted the Highway Police Division to get to the bottom of the allegations quickly.
Officers found involved in such bribery would face decisive action, including expulsion from the force.
The Highway Police Division earlier reported it regularly cooperates with the Land Transport Federation of Thailand and stops overloaded lorries, the spokesman said.
The national police chief would welcome any information from the public about the alleged racket so that the police could deal with it, Pol Lt Gen Archayon said.
Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn, a Move Forward Party list MP-elect, recently posted on social media that he was compiling evidence about the alleged racket. He claimed overloaded trucks with special stickers were not being detained or the drivers arrested at weighbridges.
The stickers variously depicted rabbits, a smiling sun or Kung Fu Panda, and were available at a cost of thousands of baht per month, he said.
Pol Maj Gen Ekkaraj Limsangkat, commander of the Highway Police Division, said that an inquiry panel was set up to look into the claim, and tough action will be taken against any lorry operator involved in bribery. Officers implicated will also face legal and disciplinary action. He also admitted that police taking bribes had existed for a long time, and amending related laws is necessary to address the problem.
Under current laws, legal action will be only taken against drivers of overloaded trucks, not owners or operators of the business, which leads to repeated offences, Pol Maj Gen Ekkaraj said.
"We may have to amend the laws so that when a lorry is found carrying a load exceeding the legal limit, it will be confiscated," he said.
"If the law is amended, tens of thousands of lorries are expected to be seized, and this measure should deter operators," Pol Maj Gen Ekkaraj said.
Wichai Sawangkachorn, president of the Northeastern Transport Association, said such stickers had been used for the racket for a long time. He also claimed those involved also include politicians and senior officials.