The director of national parks in Thailand was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of corruption, announced the Thai police who found nearly 135,000 euros in cash in his office in Bangkok.
Ratchada Suriyakul na Ayutthaya, director general of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife and Plant Conservation, under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, “abused his power by receiving money of his subordinates, in exchange for their retention,” the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) said.
“He raised money from locally based directors across the country. If they could not pay, they were transferred to places far from their homes,” the statement said.
The arrest took place during a money exchange, so the evidence is "pretty clear", said Jaroonkiat Pankaew, head of the police's anti-corruption division.
The police, who must continue the investigation, found nearly five million baht in cash in his office, the equivalent of 135,000 euros.
Ratchada Suriyakul na Ayutthaya, who took office last February, denied the corruption charges, according to the NACC statement.
Thailand has more than 150 national parks, the entrance to which is paid.
The kingdom suffers from serious corruption problems, according to the NGO Transparency International, which expressed concern this year about the lack of progress in this area.