Thai police arrest 19 in corruption ring, including prominent general

World Today

FILE – In this Aug. 31, 2007 file photo, Thailand’s Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn, right, chats with his royal consort Princess Srirasm as they watch a parade at the historic Merdeka square in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Thailand’s Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn has asked the government to strip his wife’s family of their royally issued surname, the latest development in a high-profile crackdown that involves senior members of the police force. The move came after at least three of Princess Srirasm’s relatives were arrested as part of the probe. In a letter dated Friday, Nov. 28, 2014 but released over the weekend, the crown prince ordered the “cancellation of the royally bestowed family name ‘Akrapongpreecha,'” which was issued after the pair married in 2001. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian, File)

Police in Thailand continue the hunt for members of a gang of corrupt policemen they say are running smuggling rings and illegal casinos while collecting payments for kidnapping and extortion. CCTV America’s Tony Cheng reported this story from Bangkok.

Thai police arrest 19 in corruption ring, including prominent general

The police in Thailand continue the hunt for members of a gang of corrupt policemen they accuse of running smuggling rings and illegal casinos while collecting payments for kidnapping and extortion. In the past week, one of Thailand’s most senior policemen has been arrested and accused of masterminding the criminal network while several other members of his family have been detained. CCTV America’s Tony Cheng reported this story from Bangkok.

In the past week, police arrested Lt. General Pongpat, head of the Central Investigation Bureau, and one of Thailand’s most senior policemen. He was accused of masterminding the criminal network while several other members of his family have been detained.

Police have also made 18 other arrests, including seven members one family.

The arrests were part of an anti-corruption investigation, but the targeted nature of the arrests has left many doubting if it will really tackle the problem.

In a recent raid by the Thai police, they found sports cars, ivory tusks, ancient artifacts, and antiques. In one site alone, they found goods and cash valued at more than $30 million.

“They earned money illegally, obtaining it by opening illegal casinos, accepting bribes from others, buying up positions, and being involved with oil smuggling,” Thai National Police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang said.

If found guilty, those accused could face the death penalty. However, many Thai people say they aren’t convinced the police is really tackling corruption.

Chuwit Kamolvisit, a former massage parlor owner turned politician, ran for office on an anti-corruption platform and said he thinks the investigation is far too limited to make any impact on a widespread problem.

Since Pongpat’s arrest, a letter has also emerged from the office of the Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn revoking a royal title that had been bestowed on his family after the prince married Pongpat’s niece, Princess Srirasmi.