Thai immigration officers accused of abducting, extorting visa applicant for crypto

A file photo of Gen. Surachet Hakpal.
A file photo of Gen. Surachet Hakpal.

Four Thai immigration officers have been fired for kidnapping and extorting a Chinese man and his Thai associate, police brass said today. 

The Royal Thai Police made headlines again for its own criminality with four immigration officers arrested today on warrants alleging they kidnapped and extorted a Chinese man, 62, and the 38-year-old Thai woman who worked as his translator. 

Two weeks ago, on March 10, the victims had returned home after the older man’s visa renewal was mysteriously rejected by the immigration office at the Government Complex in Chaeng Watthana. Upon their arrival home, men arrived in three cars to kidnap and demand unspecified cryptocurrency worth up to THB2 million (US$66,000).

The Chinese man negotiated that down to THB1 million instead, which sounds about right for your typical police encounter. 

The woman believed that the Chinese man’s driver-friend might have been an accessory to the crime.

The two were released after paying the men later identified as four immigration officers, according to Gen. Surachet Hakpal. He ordered their termination and called for their arrest on suspicion of extortion and malfeasance. 

While Surachet struck a tough-on-police-crime tone today at his news conference, his appetite for transparency didn’t go so far as to identify the officers by name.

The woman translator later filed a complaint at the Din Daeng Police Station, which prompted the investigation. 

The Chinese man has already left Thailand for China and has been unreachable, according to Surachet. 

Gen. Damrongsak Kittiprapas instructed his officers to fight their impulse to engage in “severe crime” because they could just possibly “ruin the image” of Thailand’s police. 

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