BANGKOK – September 1, 2012 [PDN]: the arrests of three corrupt police officers were coordinated by Pol. Lt. Col. Surawej Karnwattanasirikul, detective inspector of Thammasaka police station; and Pol. Capt. Sutep Janthawong, vice detective inspector.
The three suspects were arrested in the Bangyai area. They were identified as: Pol. Sen. Serg. Maj. Weerapong Samseemuang, age 46, the leader of the squad of Prevention and Suppression division, Samsen police station; Mr. Lar Seewichai , age 37, from Thai Yai; and Mr. Nattawut Wanijkornchai, age 42, from Chumporn.
Police also seized a bronze Toyota pickup truck with no license plate as evidence.
One of their victims, Mr. Sommai Loongyee, age 35, who works as a house painter, described to police how the crooked cops operated. In late April 2012, Mr. Sommai received a call from the suspects to paint a house in the Thai cement village at soi 10, Bangsue district and sub district.
On May 1, he went to the house. When Mr. Sommai reached the top of the soi, he called the suspects, who then said there was a change in plans, and told him to drive to soi 22.
When Mr. Sommai reached soi 22, he called them again. He also noticed a pickup truck circling around many times. When his cellphone rang, the pickup truck was parked in front of him.
The pickup truck driver was Pol. Sen. Serg. Maj. Weerapong, dressed in full police uniform. The officer got out of the car and told Mr. Sommai that he looked like the suspect that a police secret agent had told him would come to deliver drugs at this spot.
After Mr. Sommai heard what the police officer said, he tried to explain that he was innocent, and had come here to look for the house that the owner had hired him to paint.
Then Pol. Sen. Serg. Maj. Weerapong told him to get in the pickup and would bring him to investigate at the police station, but he didn’t say which station.
When Mr. Sommai got in the pick-up, there were two other men sitting in the truck. As the truck was being driven out of the soi and headed somewhere unknown, the two men told Mr. Sommai that they were policemen from drug suppression division.
They asked him how much money Mr. Sommai had in the bank. He answered that he had 87,000 baht. The two then asked him his ATM password and PIN number.
Mr. Sommai thought that was not normal, but he did not say anything, because they started to threaten him. He got scared that they would kill him, so he gave them the information.
The men called to transfer money from the phone, and later dropped Mr. Sommai at Bhuddha Montol 3. When Mr. Sommai checked his account from an ATM machine, he discovered that his money was all gone.
After their arrests, the corrupt police officers confessed that they had been victimizing residents for two years. They would divide up the money they made, and would spend it for traveling or for online football gambling.
The suspects said they wore their police uniforms while shaking down victims because it was easier to intimidate people. The accused suspects were accused of stealing from people in many areas of Bangkok. More than 40 residents had reported thefts by the crooked cops at many Bangkok police stations in different provinces.
Police estimated that the men stole about 2 million baht from victims. The suspects will be charged with robbery, blackmailing, and detaining and holding other people against their will. They will be prosecuted according to law.