Extortion of southern victim compensation to be probed: PM

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BANGKOK, April 26 – Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Thursday ordered officials to probe a group of persons allegedly demanding some portion of the government’s compensation payments for victims affected by the southern violence.

The premier’s instruction came one day after Deputy Prime Minister Gen Yutthasak Sasiprapa disclosed that he heard from some violence-affected residents during his trip to the deep South last week  that a group of unauthorised persons visited victims’ homes and tried to extort 20 per cent of the compensation to be allocated by the government from them.

In response to the report, Ms Yingluck initially ordered relevant agencies and governors tp pay compensation transparently and fairly for those affected, urging the government agencies to probe any irregularities.

Any money extortion, extortionists and others involved, will be prosecuted by law, the prime minister stated.

The Cabinet on Tuesday approved in principle a Bt2.08 billion budget to compensate victims of southern violence, according to Justice Minister Pol Gen Pracha Promnog.

The justice minister said the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre (PBPAC) was authorised to set criteria for compensation as earlier proposed by the rehabilitation committee, with the victims being divided into four categories.

Gen Pracha said Bt500 million will be allocated to the first group (the general public) affected by the violence, Bt200 million for state officials, Bt1 billion for those affected by state security operations and Bt300 million for those detained or prosecuted in insurgency-related cases.