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Six men arrested on extortion charges in Samut Prakan

Written by Thailand News

Six men, including three claiming to be Excise Department officials, were arrested by police for allegedly extorting money from a Chinese shop-owner in Mueang district of Samut Prakan province yesterday (Wednesday).

According to Pol Maj Chatchapong Khawsaard, investigative inspector at Mueang district police, a sting operation was planned, after police received a complaint from a Chinese businessman who owns a smart-phone shop in Mueang district.

The complainant told the police that a group of men, claiming to be excise officials, came to his shop for a search and charged him with selling contraband goods. The men took his younger sister and a Myanmar employee away and demanded 300,000 baht for in return for releasing the two captives and dropping all charges against him. The ransom was negotiated down to 50,000 baht, which was to be handed over to the perpetrators at a petrol station on Sukhumvit Road in Paknam sub-district, yesterday.

Plainclothes police officers staked out the petrol station and a pickup truck arrived, with the two hostages, at the appointed time to pick up the 50,000 baht.

After the release of the hostages, the police rushed the pickup truck to make the arrests. They found three men inside, the 50,000 baht cash, two vests displaying “Excise Department” and ID cards of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board.

Subsequently, another police team arrested three men in a car near the petrol station, who claimed to be excise officials. The three men claimed that the 50,000 baht was excise tax collected from the shop.

All six men were escorted to the Mueang district police station for questioning. All were initially charged with extortion, but the three excise officials face additional charges of malfeasance in office.

It is reported that a group of Chinese men tried to approach the police to settle the case, but without success.

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