He said he would return corrupt payments ranging up to 20,000 baht if they did not tell the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission about the shakedowns.
The operators and others were due to reveal details to PACC Deputy Secretary-General Prayong Preeyachitt today about corrupt payments on Phuket as the dive industry finally opted to fight rather than pay up.
One of the dive operators said she had security camera evidence of police coming to her shop while others said they had photographs of the officers involved.
Whether the operators retain their resolve to fight remains to be seen. Khun Prayong said results of his investigation on Phuket should be revealed within two weeks.
He added that anyone who wanted to expose corruption on Phuket should feel safe in contacting him. Identities would be kept secret but justice would be done, he said.
About 50 dive industry operators first met last Saturday and resolved to confront corruption rather than, as they have done in the past, make the payments and learn to live with long-standing extortion on Phuket.
Most people who make corrupt payments on Phuket find that they never stop, and that the amounts increase.
''I'm impressed,'' said one dive industry worker who told on Saturday of making an extortion payment of 20,000 baht. ''I feel that we are no longer alone. They're here and taking it seriously.''
The worker said there were concerns about the PACC officials returning to Bangkok, with the identities of the dive industry people known to Phuket police, but that it was a risk more were now prepared to take.
''We are doing something about it,'' the worker said. ''If the PACC doesn't do anything about it, the ambassadors in Bangkok will get involved. None of us want to damage tourism in Thailand. Our livelihoods depend on it.
''But for the future of Thailand and for tourism, this corruption has to stop.''
Another dive industry operator said many people had been caught up in the corruption that involved officers from Chalong Police Station.
''They find small things to complain about and try to stop your activity,'' he said. ''People start paying at 3000 baht and big companies can pay 12, 15 or even 20,000 baht a month,
''We need to change things on Phuket. Many people have been caught up with police and it's very important for the dive industry to sort this out and change everything.''
If the dive industry succeeds in taking a stand against corruption, other sections of the Phuket community are also likely to consider ways of eliminating standover tactics.
For the first time, the refreshing dive industry stance against shakedowns has attracted support and it coincides with the transformation of the Thai Diving Association into the Association of Thailand Underwater Sports.
ATUS is calling on dive operators to join up to clean up the industry.
Khun Prayong of the PACC can be contacted by Thai speakers on O81 8017465 or email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org