National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) officials and police arrested a former traffic police inspector after gaining substantial evidence that he embezzled over 2 million baht of rewards paid to traffic police for arresting and fining drivers of trucks with black exhaust smoke.
The officer Pol Lt Col Surasak Srisawatkul, 55, was a traffic police inspector attached to the Traffic Police Division. He was sacked from the police force after the NACC found him guilty of corruption.
Pol Lt Col Surasak was arrested at his home in Bangkok’s Tao Poon area and taken to Rattanathibet police station pending prosecution by the NACC.
The arrest came one month before the statute of limitation of the embezzlement case will expire as the crimes he committed began in 1998 when complaints were lodged with the NACC that the officer forged evidence to claim higher rewards for arresting vehicles with black exhaust smoke.
Under the reward system, a duty officer will be given 50% of the fine amount as a reward for making the arrest of such a vehicle driver at road checkpoints. However, in a case that the arrest was made because of a traffic informer, the reward will be increased to 70% of the fine so that the duty officer and the informer will receive 35% each.
The NACC investigator said that the corrupted officer fabricated evidence by claiming most of arrests were made possible with the help of informers, thus earning him 70% of the fine amount, despite the fact that there were no informers, and most arrests were made at checkpoints.
Such malpractices had earned him over 2 million baht in the total 8 million baht reward paid to police officers.
The NACC have summoned him for clarification since 2012 but he never showed up and went into hiding .
He will be brought to the court for prosecution on March 30 before the statute of limitations expire on April 30.
Times comment:-Thailand is obsessed with the “reward” system which is always going to tempt people to abuse it. It is not good practice for police officers to be “rewarded” for simply doing their job. Pay the lower ranks of the police a reasonable wage and then ensure that NO fines end up in policemen’s pockets.