The senior investigator for Provincial Police Region 2 in Chonburi has been suspended amid allegations he framed a Pattaya karaoke bar owner and demanded a bribe to make the case go away.
Pol. Lt. Col. Narawut Karamhito was transferred to an inactive post at the Region 2 operations center July 17 on orders from the national police chief and the Region 2 commander after they were contacted directly by Nangfa Karaoke owner Paranisa Chainapanitkul three days earlier.
The investigator failed to appear for questioning by Pattaya police and the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission July 22 after Paranisa also filed a complaint against him July 15. Another summons was issued.
The case began when Narawut led a half-dozen officers in a raid on the karaoke pub – which had been busted for allegedly pimping underage girls in January – accusing the bar again of illegal prostitution and also having improper licenses.
On Jan. 8, manager Somai Jongthanakamol, 48, was arrested after an undercover informant was offered the opportunity to take a 16-year-old girl out of the bar for 400 baht.
Paranisa wrote on her personal Facebook page July 22 that the girl indeed was underage, but she had applied for work using a fake identification card showing her to be 19. She also said the girl and informant had had a long-running relationship and often would disappear together. However, on that occasion, she wanted to leave work and had the man pay a fee to the bar so her salary wouldn’t be cut.
Before the recent raid, employees said a man came in and offered a waitress 2,000 baht for sex, only to be told those services were not on the menu. He then went to the female deejay and solicited her, only to be refused. The undercover cop then dropped the money at the deejay booth and the employees contacted their boss, realizing something was off.
The other officers then swarmed the bar, Paranisa said, and added that – despite the fact no woman accepted the cash – she was accused of pandering. It was then that Narawut allegedly told Paranisa he’d drop all the charges if she paid him 20,000-30,000 baht.
The well-connected bar owner wasn’t about to take the extortion bid lying down and dialed up the Royal Thai Police chief Gen. Chakthip Chaijinda. Yet, according to her, Narawut called her a liar, saying the voice on the phone was not the police chief, and slapped on handcuffs.
She then contacted Region 2 chief Maj. Gen Amphon Buarubporn and, again, the investigator scoffed at the man on the line – until Amphon called Narawut’s phone number directly.
He was then told to release the karaoke staffers and leave the scene immediately, according to Paranisa.
The embattled cop on July 21 contacted Pattaya police and told them he was collecting evidence to disprove the allegations leveled against him. He also denied allegations he had later offered Paranisa a half-million baht to drop her complaint.
According to Narawut, the entire story was not being told and when he eventually appeared to answer questions, he would set the record straight.