Details were given by Colonel Kissana Phathanacharoe of the Royal Thai Police who confirmed that a full probe is now underway into the incident. The video went viral on the Facebook social media platform which counts Bangkok and its neighbouring provinces as its most penetrated market in the world.
An undercover citizen reporter or snoop this week blew the cover on what may be a bribery scheme at the Nonthaburi Immigration office adjacent to Bangkok when a video was posted online via the hugely popular social media platform, Facebook, showing what appears to have been a bribe being requested from a foreigner of ฿20,000 to speed up a work-related visa application. The impact of the video was driven by the massive penetration of the social media giant.
Senior Thai police in Bangkok later announced the suspension of two immigration police officers at the Nonthaburi Immigration Office located in the Bang Kruai District of the province.
The newly opened modern building services Nonthaburi which has a very large and growing population of foreigners which has zoomed up alongside the area’s population since 2000.
The province, which was once officially part of Bangkok and is often still seen as part of the extended city, has seen its population double in the last twenty years rising from 816,614 people to over 1.611 million according to a July 2019 estimate.
Online video leads to an investigation
An online video posted on Facebook purporting to show an immigration officer suggesting a bribe to a foreigner at the modern immigration centre in the province drew the attention of supervising authorities.
Details of the case were given by deputy police spokesman, Colonel Kissana Phathanacharoe, at a briefing in Bangkok.
He explained to the press that the video published online has led to an investigation being launched at the immigration centre.
Video taken by a snooping citizen who attended the immigration office and witnessed the interaction
The video, taken surreptitiously, shows an officer explaining to a foreigner, seeking a visa to work in the kingdom, that payment of ฿20,000 would help to expedite the process.
The person who posted the video had recorded it while witnessing the interaction between the foreigner and the immigration police officer at the centre.
The citizen reporter also posted an accompanying caption with the online exposé which was aired on Facebook.
Huge Facebook audience in Bangkok witnessed the purported act of corruption or bribe request
Bangkok and surrounding provinces have the highest level of penetration by the social media giant, based in America’s Silicon Valley, in the world.
Thailand’s capital city has the largest number of Facebook accounts for any city in the world at 22 million registered users while Instagram, its sister network, has a penetration in the metropolis of 19% compared to 11% on average worldwide.
The viral video showing the purported act of bribery had a note which read: ‘This is real, it’s such a shame. Thailand is good, foreigners can get visas to work in the country. They go to Nonthaburi Immigration. The officer told the foreigner that if he wanted the application to be completed fast then it would take ฿20,000.’