Red Letter Day For Bangkok Cops

Social media exposure prompts official investigation

Wide social media video coverage of scores of uniformed Bangkok policemen queuing to receive “angpao” red envelopes from an alleged illegal gambling operator have prompted a major investigation in Thailand.

Angpao – the act of making a gift on special occasions, usually contained in a red envelope, is a widespread practice in Asia but has reportedly taken on a new dimension as a vehicle for bribery.

Metropolitan Police Division 7 commander Major General Boonyarit Rodma confirmed this week that he has ordered an investigation into some 60 officers from four Bangkok police stations who are allegedly implicated in the payments. The commanders of the four police stations involved are being interrogated as part of the enquiry.

The video of the policemen went viral on social media and has been viewed by tens of thousands of Facebook users since Friday, when it was posted by an unknown source.

The incident is embarrassing for the police, occurring just a week after deputy national police chief General Chalermkiat Sriworakhan issued instructions to all station chiefs to ensure that their subordinates did not accept angpao from Chinese businessmen.