BMC president faces three serious charges for extorting vendors  

Metropolitan police Tuesday imposed three charges against  Bangkok Metropolitan Council (BMC) president Phipat Larbpratthana after he was arrested by soldiers and police following complaints by sidewalk vendors of demanding protection fee.

Charges slapped on the BMC president are  bribery, extortion, intimidation and racketeering.

He was earlier on August 14 escorted by army officer and Bang Rak police to the  Crime Suppression Division for questioning  following an accusation of extortion.

His adviser Prasert Prommi was earlier faced extortion charge.

CSD deputy chief Pol Col Prasobchoke Prommoon said Lt Col Burin Thongpraphai of the Judge Advocate-General’s Department requested Tuesday that charges be filed against the 54-year-old BMC president  after evidence was sufficient to prosecute him.

But Mr Phipat denied all the charges  insisting that he has been persecuted by some vendors in retaliation for his attempt to remove illegal street traders from the city’s sidewalks. He said he would prove his innocence in court.

Mr Phipat and Mr Prasert were taken into custody under martial law Aug 14 and will be held by the Criminal Suppression Division until at least Thursday.

Earlier  street vendors near Wat Hua Lampong temple and the Sam Yan subway station alleged Mr Phipat and Mr Prasert of  extorting money from vendors in the areas.

Vendors alleged they weren’t the only ones: On Aug 15, a Bang Rak city police  was arrested for allegedly demanding similar payments from motorcycle taxi drivers.

(Photo : ThaiPBS file)