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09:36 AM, April 6, 2016
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Thai Military Officers Get Policing Powers
Thailand under military rule

Thai Army, Navy and Air Force officers from the rank of sub-lieutenant and up will be considered as “crime suppression officers” and given powers to arrest criminals under Section 44 of the interim constitution.

The powers were authorized by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha as the chief of National Council for Peace and Order, Bangkokpost reported last Wednesday.

Under Section 44 of the interim constitution, they are authorised to search any place, seize assets, suspend financial transactions and ban suspects from travelling.

Col Piyapong Klinphan, an NCPO spokesman, said that the order was aimed at preventing and suppressing certain crimes that pose a danger to public order and peace or could sabotage the economy, society and the nation.

All officers from the three armed services with the rank of sub-lieutenant and higher are now considered to be crime suppression officers and the lower ranks will assist them in their new policing duties.

They are also authorized officers under the Criminal code and the Criminal Procedure code and their actions are not covered by laws relating to Administrative Court and Administrative Court Procedure.

They are authorized to action against crimes under 27 laws that include extortion, labor abuse, human trafficking, robbery, fraud, forgery, defamation, debt collection, gambling, immigration, child abuse, tour guide services, forests, prostitution, excise taxation, price conclusion, customs, loan sharking, entertainment venues and firearms.

Piyapong denied military officers woud overuse their new powers, saying they would only target suspects already blacklisted in 16 legal violation categories that were identified during a mafia crackdown.

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