Lorry operators called on the Move Forward Party (MFP) to stamp out bribery in the transport sector on Thursday, saying the practice has been around for about two decades.
Land Transport Federation of Thailand (LTFT) chairman, Apichart Prairungruang, on Thursday led 30 representatives from logistics companies in submitting a petition to MFP MP-elect Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn, calling on the party to act swiftly to end the racket.
According to Mr Apichart, kickbacks to highway police add to their operating costs. He said LTFT members have tried to raise the issue in the past, but they were met with intimidation instead.
Out of the 1.5 million lorry operators registered with the Department of Land Transport (DLT), the LTFT estimated around 200,000 regularly pay bribes so their trucks can carry loads beyond the legal limit, he continued, though he insisted none of the LTFT's 400,000 members engage in such a practice.
He said the bribes range from 3,000-15,000 baht, depending on the load amount an operator wishes to put on a truck. He added those who have paid for a "premium" package can carry anything without a weight limit.
"In the past, there were four to five stickers. Now there are 40-50 stickers," he said.
Mr Apichart said the MFP's campaign against the bribes had given the federation hope that the issue would be dealt with seriously.
Shortly after the MFP raised the issue, the Royal Thai Police transferred Pol Maj Gen Ekkaraj Limsangkat, commander of the Highway Police Division, to an inactive post at the Operations Centre of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB).
However, Mr Apichart said it would take more than that to stamp out the practice, as it is a deep-rooted problem.
Mr Wiroj said the public's attention is currently on the highway police, but local traffic police are also involved in the racket.
He said the party would gather more information and submit the findings to the Office of the Inspector-General of the Royal Thai Police (RTP) and the police's anti-corruption division.
Earlier, Mr Wiroj claimed that overloaded trucks with special stickers on their windscreens are not required to stop at weighing stations. The stickers indicate a bribe has been paid.