Covert stickers showing that trucks operating illegally on Thailand's roads have paid bribes to police and other officials to avoid arrest do in fact exist, according to national police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas.
After the controversy was brought to light by Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn, a Move Forward Party list MP-elect, Pol Maj Gen Ekkaraj Limsangkat, commander of the Highway Police Division, was transferred to an inactive post at the Operations Centre of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) on Tuesday.
The order was signed by CIB chief Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej. Pol Maj Gen Ekkaraj was replaced by Pol Maj Gen Jaroonkiat Pankaew, commander of the Anti-Corruption Division (ACD).
Pol Gen Damrongsak on Wednesday responded to the matter by saying the Office of the Inspector-General of the Royal Thai Police will work with the CIB to expedite the investigation.
"I admit that these 'bribe-paid' stickers have been around for a long time. Every agency is speeding up its investigation to find how many are out there. The investigation should be finished within 15 days," said Pol Gen Damrongsak.
The commander of the Highway Police Division was transferred to ensure the investigation is carried out transparently, Pol Gen Damrongsak said. The probe will be expanded to track down the recipients of the bribes, some of whom may be state officials, he said.
Pol Gen Damrongsak said any state officials or police who are found to be involved in the scheme will face criminal cases and disciplinary punishment.
More than 79 officers have been dismissed for committing such offences this year, he added.
"Since the matter has recently grabbed headlines, an order will be given for a deeper probe," he said.