Police anti-corruption officers are preparing to investigate provincial administrative officials who were found in a Chiang Mai bar after legal operating hours, as an apparent dispute between the groups comes into the open.
“They are also government officials. If they stayed at the bar after closing time, it is considered malfeasance,” said Pol Maj Gen Jaroonkiat Pankaew, deputy commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB).
The announcement followed a raid around 2.30 on Friday morning by officers from the Chang Phueak police station in Chiang Mai at Level 9, a rooftop bar and restaurant.
They found more than 50 customers, one of them 17 years old, hanging out at the bar after the closing time of 1am.
The manager reportedly confessed that the venue had violated the law and has been charged with selling alcohol after permitted hours.
Among the 50 customers, according to local reports, were a few Department of Provincial Administration (DPA) officials who had taken part in a raid on Oct 31 at Le Neuf, an unlicensed bar.
That raid resulted in five senior officers from the Chang Phueak station being transferred to inactive posts for alleged failure to crack down on the venue in their jurisdiction.
Pol Maj Gen Thawatchai Pongwiwatanachai, the Chiang Mai police chief, said the force was not trying to get even with the DPA, noting that Chang Phueak officers had raided Le Neuf six times in the past.
“Police have tried to request the DPA to close down [Le Neuf Cafe] but our requests have been ignored,” he said.