Five men who allegedly extorted 5,500 baht from an elderly female grocer on February 13th in Bangkok have been confirmed as officials from the Thai Excise Department. The accused allegedly shook down the grocer in exchange for dropping contraband possession of fake tobacco against her.
The viral incident took place at a small retail store in Bangkok’s Sai Mai area. The victim Mrs. Sunaporn Boonkerd, 75, filed a complaint with Bang Khen district police after five men who claimed themselves as excise officials showed up at her shop for a search and demanded 20,000 baht from her.
The lone elderly woman said that the suspects entered her store without a warrant and alleged that they found counterfeit cigarettes on the premises. The cigarettes, however, were not the ones she had in her possession because the officials suspiciously took her cigarettes into their van for a so-called “check” before reemerging and accusing that the cigarettes were contraband, the victim told Thai media.
CCTV cameras inside the shop also captured the five men searching around the premises for a long time although they did not have a warrant, according to Thai media.
The men then forced the grocer into their van to try to extort 20,000 baht from her. Out of fright, the woman agreed to pay 5,500 baht to the suspects, saying she did not have enough money on her at that moment.
After the incident, the suspects dropped her off at her store and drove away.
Mrs. Sunaporn later filed a complaint with the police, making the story go viral on Thai media. According to the latest report, the five men have been identified as excise officials. They will soon be summoned to acknowledge the extortion charges and be identified by the grocer. If found guilty, the suspects will be dismissed from service and face severe legal consequences, Thai media reported.