Thai police apologize for Taiwan actor’s alleged extortion

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand’s police commissioner apologized Tuesday after seven officers were placed under investigation for allegedly extorting money from a Taiwanese actor who was visiting Bangkok on a holiday.

Charlene An posted on social media that she was traveling in a taxi with friends after a night out in the Thai capital when they were stopped and searched at a checkpoint in the early hours of Jan. 5. She said she was threatened with a criminal charge for having an e-cigarette and later paid 27,000 baht ($820) before they were able to leave.

Two captains, two senior sergeant majors and three sergeants who were at the checkpoint were transferred to inactive positions while the investigation is ongoing, police said.

“There are still many good police. We must encourage the good ones and deal with the bad ones,” police Gen. Damrongsak Kittiprapas told reporters at police headquarters.

“I would like to stress that our city has lots of visitors coming. Immigration police, tourist police and local police must take the best care of tourists. And for the incident that has happened, if there is wrongdoing, as the head of the organization, I apologize to the victims affected by what happened,” he said.

Anyone found guilty will be punished, he said.

Thai police earlier denied the accusation and suggested An was intoxicated and had not been able to produce travel documents, possibly because of a language barrier. Police were unable to produce videos from body cameras from the night, according to local media.

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