Police chief orders crackdown on lorry drivers nationwide
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Police chief orders crackdown on lorry drivers nationwide

National police chief Pol Gen Damrongsak Kittiprapas has ordered officials nationwide to enforce the law on overloaded lorries after news of them paying "sticker bribes" surfaced last week.

The sticker-bribe scandal came to light after Wiroj Lakkhanaadisorn, a Move Forward Party list MP-elect, said overloaded trucks with special stickers were not being detained, nor were their drivers ever arrested.

Pol Gen Damrongsak yesterday signed a memorandum with deputy chiefs, inspector-generals and police commissioners of provincial divisions to assure the public that steps were being taken to fix the issue.

More checkpoints will be set up to take action against overweight lorries and other illegal activities, such as lorries that that make loud noises or release billows of black smoke, the memo said.

The memo also told officers not to receive or solicit any bribes from truck drivers. Those officers found to be involved in the scandal will face punishment, both legal and disciplinary.

Mr Wiroj and the president of the Land Transport Association of Thailand will be invited in to give more details regarding the issue next week, said police inspector-general Pol Gen Wissanu Prasartthong-osod.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT) said the culture of bribery is deeply rooted in society and the practice is common in various businesses, including lottery vendors, tour agents, and restaurants.

Mana Nimitmongkol, ACT's secretary-general, told the Bangkok Post that the bribery stickers have existed for at least 20 years.

"Bribes in the country are now everywhere, as people do not have the courage to file complaints, while those involved in the crime, including higher-ranking officers, are never held accountable," he said.

"I think both sides [the giver and takers of bribes] are to blame. Some people pay bribes because they conduct illegal acts and do not want to get caught while others pay bribes to speed up processes or brush off those authorities who accused them for no reason," he added.

Social media vigilance and a decree on the Digital Government Development Agency, which will take online complaints, could help fix the problem, he said.

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