BANGKOK: Unscrupulous police officers extorting money from the public hardly constitutes news in Thailand – but it is noteworthy when the police themselves become victims of malfeasance. Between March and October this year, Pol Sgt Tarntip Preak-kratok managed to skim off nearly 3 million baht in fines collected by the Nongkam Police Station, where she was employed as a desk clerk. The probe followed months of requests to inspect the station’s accounting records, but Sgt Tarnthip kept stalling the investigators by telling them that the records were not up to date yet. Finally, on November 1, investigators arranged a meeting with Sgt Tarnthip. When they arrived they found that she had absconded. Checking the records she had left behind, the investigators discovered that she had been helping herself to 90,000 baht a week. The errant sergeant was found just four days later in her home province of Kanchanaburi – perhaps indicating why she had never climbed up the police ranks to the position of investigator – and was taken into custody. Like many women who steal and then head straight home with the money, Sgt Tarnthip, 31, had a tale of woe for the arresting officers. She admitted to embezzling the police money, but told investigators she had done it only to help her husband of eight years, Somboon. “We had a lot of expenses. He told me that he had lost his boss’s car in Chon Buri and needed 1 million baht to cover it. He had also killed people, so we needed money to keep him out of prison. He told me, too, that he had invested in a crocodile farm and lost the money. But it was all a pack of lies.” Despite all the help she had given him in his time of difficulty, hubby Somboon (whose name means “Perfect”) did not respond in kind. When his wife became the target of the police hunt, he simply disappeared.