Police submit 139,000 pages of documents to graft-busters on enablers of Chinese nationals
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) has been given a 139,000-page police report into 107 immigration officers accused of helping Chinese nationals involved in “grey” businesses to obtain visas.
Investigators from the Weluwan police station in Khon Kaen played a key role in gathering evidence about the racket, which benefited mainly Chinese businesspeople but also some other foreign nationals.
In many cases, documents issued by language schools or volunteer foundations were used to support applications for visa extensions.
Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, the deputy national police chief, on Thursday observed the submission of the final report in dozens of cardboard file boxes to the NACC.
The investigation team questioned 446 witnesses and examined documents related to 107 immigration officers who face charges of malfeasance said Pol Gen Surachate.
Investigators have also pressed additional charges against nine of the officers for accepting money or other benefits unlawfully.
Pol Gen Surachate said it would now be up to the NACC to examine the documents and take legal action against the officers.
Authorities are now strictly enforcing the law against corrupt officers who abused their power to help Chinese nationals involved in illicit businesses commit offences in the kingdom, he said.
Legal action against the officers would help restore faith and confidence in the police, he added.
Pol Lt Gen Pakphumpipat, commissioner of the Immigration Bureau, said last month that more than 100 immigration officers were suspected of involvement in the illegal issuing of visas for Chinese investors involved in grey businesses.
Among them were three generals and a mix of officers of every rank, according to the commissioner.
The accusations first surfaced after former politician Chuvit Kamolvisit alleged that three Immigration Bureau commanders in Khon Kaen and Chiang Mai were accepting bribes of between 100,000 and 300,000 baht for each non-immigration visa approved.
The approvals were issued to a total of 3,325 Chinese nationals between 2020 and 2022, according to Mr Chuvit.
The disclosures prompted the national police chief to set up an inquiry panel.
Among the foreigners suspected of criminal activity, the highest-profile arrest so far has been that of the Chinese businessman Chaiyanat “Tuhao” Kornchayanant, who also holds Thai nationality. He and 40 others face multiple charges related to narcotics, organised transnational crime, money-laundering and more.
Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn, deputy national police chief, answers media questions about the investigation into the 107 immigration officers accused of helping to arrange visas for Chinese nationals running grey businesses. (Photo supplied/Wassayos Ngamkham)