TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Four Thai police officers who extorted 27,000 baht (NT$24,500, US$761) from a Taiwanese actress have been sentenced to five years in prison each, reports said Thursday (Nov. 9).
In the early morning of Jan. 5, a police checkpoint outside the Chinese embassy in Bangkok ordered a Grab Taxi carrying Taiwanese entertainer Charlene An (安于晴) and her friends to stop. The police officers accused members of the group of carrying banned vaping devices and of not having their passports on them.
The officers initially denied having asked for money, but An publicized the incident on social media. She also received the support of prominent Thai whistleblowers against police corruption.
On Wednesday (Nov. 8), the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases sentenced four officers, including two captains, to five years in prison and a fine of 27,000 baht to state coffers, the Bangkok Post reported. Two other officers at the checkpoint only stopped vehicles and searched other cars, so they were found not guilty of involvement in the extortion.
The Royal Thai Police dismissed all six officers from duty following an internal investigation in February, according to The Nation. The verdict came as Thailand prepared to welcome more tourists from Taiwan, with a six-month visa waiver coming into force on Friday (Nov. 10).