Arrest warrants sought for extortion gang suspects

Arrest warrants sought for extortion gang suspects

Arrest warrants sought for extortion gang suspects
Police arrest activist Srisuwan Janya at his house in Pathum Thani on Friday last week. (Screenshot)

Police will pursue arrest warrants for at least two people over their alleged involvement in extortion attempts by a group led by political activist Srisuwan Janya.

Pol Maj Gen Jaroonkiat Pankaew, deputy commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, said investigators are expected to pursue warrants against at least two more individuals on Friday as the investigation is expanding.

The CIB deputy chief declined to give details about the new suspects other than to say they are much-sought-after by police and are believed to have played a crucial role in the alleged extortion attempts.

As part of the investigation into Mr Srisuwan’s group, police have questioned witnesses including an individual who was allegedly extorted by the group. They were also reaching out to a senior government official who was also extorted for further information, he said.

Earlier, Pol Maj Gen Jaroonkiat said there were more suspects at a higher level and the gang was bigger than initially thought.

Mr Srisuwan was arrested Friday at his home in Pathum Thani for allegedly demanding 3 million baht from Natthakit Khongthip, director-general of the Rice Department.

Two alleged accomplices, Yoswaris Chuklom, also known as Jeng Dokjik, and Phimnattha Chiraphutthiphak, were also arrested. They were granted bail of 400,000 baht each.

Ms Yoswaris was a member of a civil servant working group appointed by Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Pirapan Salirathavibhaga, while Ms Phimnattha is a former United Thai Nation Party election candidate.

Following the scandal, Mr Yoswaris was also removed as an adviser to UTN MP Sanya Nilsupan who is the chairman of the House committee on courts, public independent agencies and prosecution.

Meanwhile, deputy government spokeswoman Rudklao Suwankiri on Wednesday clarified media reports about the atmosphere of the cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Some reports claimed the meeting shrugged off Mr Pirapan’s attempts to explain the measures taken after two people with party affiliations were implicated in the extortion saga.

She said such reports were inaccurate.