Four former police officers attached to Bangkok’s Huai Kwang police station were sentenced to five years in prison today by the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases.
They were found guilty of malfeasance in office and corruption for demanding bribes from three Taiwanese tourists in exchange for dropping charges against them.
The four were also ordered to return Bt27,000 bribery to the tourists.
Two other officers from the same police station were acquitted by the court, due to insufficient evidence.
The extortion, which took place on the night of January 5 in front of the Chinese embassy in Huai Khwang, was widely reported in Taiwanese media because one of the tourists is an actress.
They were riding in a taxi, which was stopped for a search by a group of six Huai Khwang police officers, manning a checkpoint in front of the Chinese embassy. Three electronic cigarettes were found in their possession and only one of them was found to be carrying a passport.
The trio were charged by the police for illegal possession of electronic cigarettes and two of them faced an additional charge for not carrying their passports. The police officers told them, however, that if they didn’t want to be taken to Huai Khwang police station, and face the prospect of being held in custody for 2-3 days, they must pay 27,000 baht to them and the charges would be dropped.
A friend of the tourists, also Taiwanese, who was a prosecution witness, paid the police as demanded and the tourists were released.
The six police officers were initially transferred to the operations centre of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, pending the outcome of a disciplinary investigation, which resulted in their dismissal from police service and prosecution.