French man paid ฿245,000 to the girlfriend of a Thai Indian friend at his apartment after being released from custody in October to have charges not brought against him. He was earlier arrested on Soi Sukhumvit 43 and had his apartment raided and searched when a quantity of marijuana for medical use was discovered.

Three senior police officers at Thonglor police station have been removed from duty and are to face charges in respect of the alleged extortion of a French man following his arrest for possession of marijuana in October. The dramatic turn of events comes following a 3-hour meeting between the French businessman and senior Metropolitan police officers at Thonglor on Monday 23rd December. The removal of the officers from duty and action against them was announced by the Metropolitan police commissioner on Friday.

On Monday, December 23rd, the French man named as 42-year-old Jean Sebastien met with senior police officials of the Metropolitan Police at Thonglor police station to explain his case and was questioned at length. On Friday, the Metropolitan police commissioner announced the suspension from duty of three police officers who are now believed to be facing charges.

Three senior Thai police officers were removed from duty on Friday the 27th December after a French man came forward 4 days earlier to complain about what he decried as the extortion from him of ฿245,000 following his arrest by Thai police in October on Soi Sukhumvit 43.

The French businessman, named as 42-year-old Jean Sebastien, told officers that in October on Sukhumvit 43 in Bangkok he was asked to remove his clothes on the street so that officers could search him for drugs.

Met senior Metropolitan Police top brass at Thong Lor on December 23rd to reveal everything

He recalled what happened in October while being interviewed by Thonglor police station officers on December 23rd after initially going public with his complaint on the social network site Facebook and later reaching out to the French Embassy in Bangkok.

Arrested and held at Thonglor police station – Indian Thai friend asked for ฿245,000 to be transferred

On that day in October, Mr Sebastien’s flat on Sukhumvit 43 was also searched and marijuana oil used for a medical condition was retrieved by police.

The French national was arrested and held at Thonglor police station. During his detention at the police station, he was able to phone a Thai Indian friend named as Shane, an acquaintance of 3 years who told him that he would need $8,000 transferred into his girlfriend’s account or ฿245,000 to manage the affair. 

This money was needed to treat or deal with the police to have the matter forgiven and no charges brought.

Problem with bank account daily limits

Initially, given the shock of his ordeal and predicament, the French man agreed to this but found that he could not transfer the amount to the bank account number given due to daily limits applied by his bank for security reasons.

The French man then says he was released by police and later paid the money to the Indian friend’s girlfriend at his apartment. He then heard no more from the Indian man and his girlfriend and indeed could not contact them.

Contacted the French embassy in Bangkok

Mr Sebastien, after voicing his concerns on Facebook met with officials at the French embassy and give his account of events to them. He also lodged a human rights complaint against the treatment he was subjected to by police in October to the Office of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission. 

He claims that he was asked to remove his clothes in an alleyway off the main street which was a violation of his human rights. He also claimed that any marijuana he possessed was for valid medical purposes with a doctor’s prescription.

This is what made him go public with his situation and had led him to an interview at Thonglor police station on Monday 23rd where the French man was interviewed for three hours by Police Major General Samat Srisiriwiboonchai who is the Commander of Metropolitan Police Division 5.

On Monday, the police chief at Thonglor pointed out that no money had been paid to police officers

Earlier this week, the station chief at Thonglor, Colonel Samphan Leungsajjakul, told the press that the account given by the French man to officers on Monday accepted that he did not pay money directly to police officers.

The commanding officer also noted that the reason that Mr Sebastien had been released in October was that police had belatedly discovered the medical prescription which the French man was carrying for the marijuana being used.

Turnaround on Friday as officers removed from duty

However, all had changed on Friday. The stance taken by senior police had altered abruptly. It was announced that the three senior officers implicated in the case had been removed from duty and were being investigated for their role in extorting nearly ฿245,000 for the French man. 

A statement the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau Police Lieutenant General Pakkapong Pongpet said that the three officers linked with Mr Sebastien’s case were now wanted for questioning in relation to possible criminal offences and breaches of discipline relating to the detention and alleged extortion of the French national.

Officers now being charged by police at Thong Lor in relation to the Frenchman’s complaints

The three officers named as Police Colonel Pissanupol Detsri, a former deputy superintendent, Police Sub Lieutenant Anant Saengsawang, formerly a deputy chief inspector and police Sergeant Thanonchai Pakasamit a lead investigator were all suspended from duty.

It is not quite clear what has changed since Monday but it is understood that charges are being brought against the officers by Thonglor Police linked with the French man’s complaint.

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