City police chief halts bribe bonus

City police chief halts bribe bonus

New Metropolitan Police Bureau (MPB) commissioner Sriwara Rangsipramkul has ordered a halt to a campaign in which traffic police are rewarded with 10,000 baht for arresting people who offer a bribe and will decide later whether to dismantle it completely.

His decision came after heavy criticism of the campaign, which was launched by MPB deputy chief Pol Maj Gen Adul Narongsak, who oversees traffic affairs. Many people on the social media demanded to know why policemen should be rewarded for performing their duty and why only bribe-givers are targeted.

On Friday, the Royal Thai Police Office (RTPO) ordered all officers not to use spy buttons or pen cameras to record potential bribe-givers as it created division and suspicion between police and the public. The order was issued after allegations and pictures flew across the internet that some traffic police wore secret electronic devices to film drivers who try to bribe them.

Pol Lt Gen Sriwara said he was aware of strong opposition from the public to the campaign and admitted it should be terminated rather than just suspended. However, he would check first if the policy originally belonged to the RTPO before he and Pol Maj Gen Adul came into office and if he had authority to disband it. Pol Maj Gen Adul would be summoned to clarify the issue, he added.

On Saturday,  Pol Maj Gen Adul said the campaign would run until the end of this month as planned, after which it would be evaluated.

Meanwhile, a civic group is going ahead with a similar reward campaign against bribery, but in the reverse direction: a 20,000-baht reward is offered to anyone producing a video clip of a policeman demanding a bribe.

Atchariya Ruangrattanapong, chairman of the Club for Justice Under Investigation, said on Saturday the campaign was a pilot project being launched ahead of a big anti-corruption crusade next year.

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