Fraud charges await senior justice officials, many police

Victims of the 240-million-baht fraud give details to an investigator at Provincial Police Region 4 headquarters in Khon Kaen province on Friday. (Photo by Chakkrapan Natanri)

Provincial Police Region 4 will charge two senior officials of the Justice Ministry and about 30 policemen over an alleged 240-million-baht fraud perpetrated on nearly 200 low-level police in Loei province.

Pol Lt Gen Boonlue Korbangyang, deputy commissioner of the northeastern police region, said on Friday that seven suspects in the case fingered the two high-level officials at the Justice Ministry, and both were summonsed to acknowledge charges.

The positions and identities of the suspects were withheld.

About 30 policemen were also suspected of involvement, and the national police chief would discipline them, Pol Lt Gen Boonlue said.

He said that investigators learned from money trails that many groups of people were involved, and most were well-known and well-to-do.

Provincial Police Region 4 had identified 17 suspects in the case.

The victims are 196 policemen in the northeastern province of Loei. They had been persuaded by former Loei police commander Suthip Palitkusolthat to borrow from the Loei police cooperative to clear their debts with other creditors. He was ex-officio head of the cooperative at the time.

Pol Maj Suthip allegedly then suggested his subordinates hand the money loaned by the cooperative to him and he would invest it for them. They would get a lucrative yield as well as having their old debts paid off. 

The 196 police who went along with his scheme have complained he did not keep his promise, and they are still saddled with their old debts in addition to their new loans.

Pol Maj Suthip was later transferred to Bangkok as deputy chief of the human resources office at Royal Thai Police headquarters.

On Aug 17 he was temporarily discharged from the police force after being charged by police region 4 with fraud and the embezzlement of 240 million baht from the 196 policemen.

Investigators suspect he was part of a much larger fraud.

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