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Thai tourist police officer arrested for extorting night spot owners

A tourist police officer and another man were arrested by Nonthaburi provincial police and local administration officials late Thursday night, after they had allegedly demanded protection money from pubs and bars in the province.

A special unit of the Provincial Administration Department and Bang Yai district police were dispatched to the car park of a shopping mall, in Sao Thong Hin sub-district of Bang Yai district, to look for a tourist police vehicle, whose driver is suspected of involvement in an extortion racket.

An official of the department said that they learned that the gang, claiming to be from a special task force of the Provincial Administration, had approached several pubs and bars in Nonthaburi province by phone and demanded that they pay them protection fees of 5,000 baht, as the first payment, and a monthly payment of 3,000-4,000 baht, if the pub and bar owners want to operate without being harassed by the police or other officials.

As members of the special unit moved in to arrest the two men in the suspect vehicle, they tried to flee the scene, forcing the special unit to use their cars to block the escaping car.

A subsequent search of the car found an amount of marked cash, which had allegedly been extorted from bars hours earlier.

Any pub or bar which has been approached by someone claiming to be local administration officials demanding protection fees can call 1567 around the clock, according to the department.

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