16 fake army rangers detained for working security at Pattaya seminar

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Pattaya police arrested 16 people masquerading as army rangers to provide security for a seminar at a well known beach resort.

Officers stopped the 13 men and three women June 7 at the entrance of Pratamnak Soi 1 after they completed work at the seminar and were preparing to return to Bangkok.

Superintendent Pol. Col. Sukthat Pumpunmuang said the arrests came after a request by Maj. Gen. Kittithep Jiansumai, deputy director of the Civil Affairs Department of the Royal Thai Armed Forces Command, to be on the lookout for a group of people pretending to be soldiers from Pak Thong Chai Rangers Group in Bangkok.

They had applied to work security for a seminar attended by foreign visitors.

All 16 were taken to Pattaya Police Station for questioning.

Police bring in 16 people masquerading as army rangers to provide security for a seminar at a well known beach resort. None were still in the armed forces.Police bring in 16 people masquerading as army rangers to provide security for a seminar at a well known beach resort. None were still in the armed forces.

Police said the group’s leader, Tawatchai Chansoda, 46, confessed to no longer being an active-duty ranger, although he had been one in the past.

He claimed he was approached by tour operator 4F Capital Co., whose senior advisor is retired Lt. Gen. Poramet Pomnak, to find a team of guards for the seminar attended by about 6,500 visitors from China, Malaysia and other Asian countries.

Lt Vinai Duangthong of the 14th Military Circle in Chonburi attended the interrogation of the fake soldiers and said none were, in fact, still in the armed forces.

The police charged Pornthep Arsa, 28, Prawit Boonpok, 45, Samphan Pholmor, 30, and Supakorn Prawing with illegally wearing military uniforms and released 12 others without charge.