Chinese national, tour operator to be questioned in police escort scandal

A tour operator and a Chinese tourist are to be invited in for questioning over controversial and unauthorised police escorts provided by Thai tourist and traffic police officers.

Pol Maj-Gen Archayon Kraithong, spokesman for the Royal Thai Police, said on Monday that two traffic police officers and a tourist police officer are now under investigation by their respective agencies for providing an escort to a female Chinese tourist.

He said that the tourist police officer, Pol Captain Somphol Pinyosamosorn, picked up the Chinese tourist at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok and escorted her, through a special immigration channel, out of the airport to a waiting car, which was then escorted by a traffic police officer on his motorcycle to her hotel in Bangkok.

He said that both the motorcycle and the car used to take the tourist from the airport to her hotel were privately owned, but had been modified to look like official escort vehicles, adding that the two traffic police officers have been charged with violating the land traffic law and the law regarding official signage.

The police spokesman also said that police investigators are trying to discover whether the three officers had received 7,000 baht, as claimed by the tourist, for the unauthorised escort service.

He said that the national police chief has instructed the probe teams to determine how long the three police officers had been providing this moonlighting escort service to foreign tourists and whether more police are involved in the malpractice.

According to a cabinet ruling in 2001, police escort services are only provided to groups of people, not to an individual, and permission has to be granted by the traffic police commander on a case by case basis.

The unauthorised escort service was disclosed by the tourist herself on social media, boasting about the special police service with which she was provided. Her post sparked an uproar among netizens against the police.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service

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