Alleged police extortion targeting Burmese worker sparks concern

Photo courtesy of Atstock Productions (iStock)

In a shocking case of police extortion, a group of men claiming to be police officers are alleged to have swindled a Burmese worker under the threat of severe repercussions. The incident took place in the Bangkok Metropolitan Region and was just investigated.

On August 12, Athiwat Sirikangwalwang, founder of the Fearless Step Facebook page, investigated the incident at a food shop in the city district of Nonthaburi, involving a Burmese woman who claimed she faced extortion by a man claiming to be police for a monthly protection fee of 500 baht.

The female worker struggled to produce documentation that enabled her to work legally in Thailand, revealing she had borrowed almost 30,000 baht. She mentioned a man, claiming to be a police officer, had been unhappy about this, and had demanded to inspect her work permit and passport.

After discovering her papers were still valid, he claimed not to understand and insisted on going to her home for further examination. She then called her agent, who had handled her paperwork, to explain the situation to the man. The agent confirmed that her papers were indeed valid and she was legally working.

Feeling threatened and worried, the woman contacted her employer and agent, who advised her to pay the man a thousand baht as a gas allowance for his vehicle, aiming to avoid further problems. The supposed police officer warned her again in vague threats in order to continue the extortion.

“If there’s a problem, you will encounter more troubling situations because we can cause a lot more issues.”

Despite paying him off, she continued to feel fearful and apprehensive. This prompted her to ask Fearless Step for assistance. She explained she had been paying the so-called rogue gang a monthly fee for the last 5-6 years.

She had been compelled to pay a monthly extortion fee to these alleged police as she had been working without the proper documents, but even after legalising her documentation using a 30,000 baht loan, the man continued to demand a fee. When she refused, the man threatened her, leading her to apprehensively offer the 1,000 baht fuel fee as she did not wish to create any issues.

Another incident was also reported involving these two rogue men allegedly posing as police officers who had come to the shop to collect a monthly protection extortion fee. The duo were found to be one actual police officer and a police volunteer.

From additional reported evidence, it has been found these men have been collecting money from other foreign workers at an ice factory and a vehicle repair garage as well. Upon not receiving the extract, they would often intimidate and threaten these workers. This has been confirmed by corroborative witnesses.

Once all evidence has been compiled, a dossier will be prepared and sent to the provincial head for further investigation into this troubling matter.

Bangkok NewsCrime News

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.