BANGKOK — Four Thai men have been arrested for allegedly disguising themselves as police officers and extorting money from immigrant workers in Bangkok.
According to police, the four suspects have been dressing up as police officers and stopping immigrant workers in Bangkok for fake drug tests.
After luring the victims into their pick-up truck for the “tests,” the men then demand money in exchange for the victims’ release, said Pol.Lt.Gen. Sriwarah Rangsiphramanakul, commander of Bangkok Metropolitan Police Bureau.
"They liked to prey on alien workers because it's easy for them to use the pretense of ID cards or drug checks," Pol.Maj.Gen. Sriwarah said.
Police have received 17 complaints about the scheme since early March, he said.
According to the officer, one of the suspects also raped a teenage girl in the pick-up truck while the others served as lookouts.
The suspects were identified as Kawi Luangnan, 26; Kittitat Permwaranyu, 26; Kanokpol Changkanak, 21; and Chalathorn Pawanacharoensuk, 19.
The four men have been charged with posing as law enforcement officers, conspiring in a rape, illegal detention, taking away a minor from guardians for sexual abuse, and robbery.
Police say they confiscated handcuffs, two fake handguns, five mobile phones, and two bank account booklets from the suspects as evidence.
There are over a million immigrants living and working in Thailand illegally, mostly from neighboring countries such as Myanmar and Cambodia. Due to their lack of legal protection, the immigrants are often vulnerable to exploitation.