Police have issued arrest warrants for three civilians over their alleged involvement in the extortion of six suspects who are under investigation in an online gambling case.
Deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn on Sunday said warrants have been issued for Veera Nasab, his wife, and Phisit Nakhisornpanee, for bribery and theft.
Mr Veera and Mr Phisit are believed to have fled to a neighbouring country on June 13, after learning from their police acquaintances that they are under investigation.
At Mr Veera's house in Chon Buri's Bang Lamung district, the police found cash, a flash drive, a mobile phone SIM card and memory card, as well as a gold ring. The cash was not seized because police believe the money came from Mr Veera's speedboat rental business.
The case grabbed public attention on Thursday, when six people filed a complaint with Khu Khot police in Pathum Thani, accusing the chief of Chon Buri police, Pol Maj Gen Kamphon Leelaprapaporn, and his team of demanding 140 million baht from them to avoid prosecution for running an online gambling site called Foxbet168.
At least 12 police were said to be involved in the scheme, according to Pol Gen Surachate, adding no warrants were issued as the officers did not make any attempt to reject the accusation.
Those officers, however, have been transferred to the Royal Thai Police operations command centre, while their personal contacts and financial transactions are being investigated. They will face a disciplinary process, he added.
Nine of the officers, Pol Col Damrongsak Onta, superintendent at the Cyber Investigation Bureau (CCIB), and Pol Lt Col Pathomphong Meeyu of CCIB, on Sunday met investigators.
They were accused of malfeasance by public officials, theft, unlawful detention, and demanding or receiving bribes. They denied the accusations.
Lawyer Atchariya Reuangrattanapong, chairman of the Help Crime Victims Club, was also summoned to provide investigators with more evidence.
Pol Gen Surachate did not answer when asked why Chon Buri Police, which is under Provincial Police Division 2, had jurisdiction over the case, instead of Division 1, which is in Bangkok.