Four officers from Thailand’s Immigration division have been fired after being accused of demanding a cryptocurrency bribe from a Chinese visa applicant. According to a Coconuts report, the officers initially demanded 2 million baht valued in crypto, which was subsequently reduced to 1 million.
The officers are accused of kidnapping and extorting a 62 year old Chinese man and a 38 year old Thai woman who works as his translator. It’s understood the Chinese man had visited Chaeng Watthana Immigration on March 10 to renew his visa. However, the renewal was rejected without explanation.
As the man and his translator arrived back at his home, 3 cars pulled up at the property and the 4 occupants kidnapped the Chinese man and Thai woman, demanding they pay 2 million baht in cryptocurrency. It’s understood the victims managed to negotiate the officers down to 1 million baht.
Both were then released after paying the bribe to the men, who were later identified as Thai immigration officers. According to the Coconuts report, the Thai translator says she believes her employer’s driver may have been an accomplice. She filed a complaint with Din Daeng Police Station following the incident, which is what sparked the investigation.
Thailand’s deputy national police chief, Surachet Hakpal, has confirmed that the 4 have been fired and arrested on suspicion of extortion and malfeasance. However, while addressing a press conference, he declined to name the officers.
It’s understood the Chinese national has now left Thailand and Surachet says investigating officers have been unable to reach him.