In 2012, police end up as their own worst enemies

A string of high-profile busts of crooked cops does few favours for the reputation of the force

Corrupt policeman have been accused of many of this year's biggest murders, robberies and drug crimes, undermining the reputation of the police force as an agency which the public can rely on to dispense justice in a fair and honest fashion.

Five suspects are brought before a press conference after police arrested a gang in June for allegedly assisting applicants to cheat in police entrance examinations. Officers also seized 10.5 million baht in cash paid by applicants to the suspects. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)

Uniformed criminals started to hit the headlines this year on March 26 when four armed robbers took more than 2 million baht in cash from a Kasikornbank cash truck in In Buri district of Sing Buri province in broad daylight.

About a month after the robbery, police were able to arrest a gunman who is a follower of an influential figure in Uthai Thani province, and two suspected robbers.

The suspects identified the mastermind as Pol Col Phichit Kromprasit, chief of the Sai Ngam police station in Kamphaeng Phet province, and another accomplice as Pol Sen Sgt Maj Narai Thippreechathorn of Nakhon Sawan province police. Pol Col Phichit is a close aide of the influential person in Uthai Thani and is still at large.

On Sept 15, Pol Col Dr Supat Laohawattana, a doctor of Police General Hospital in Bangkok, was named as a key suspect in the murder of a couple named Samart Noomjui and Orasa Kerdsap, both aged 27, of Phetchaburi province.

The couple's pickup truck, which went missing in June 2009, was found at a house owned by the doctor in Muang district of Nonthaburi province.

After digging up Dr Supat's plantation in Phetchaburi for a month, police were unable to find any remains of the couple, but did find three skeletons of others who officers suspect had been murdered.

DNA tests confirmed one skeleton belonged to Ita, a former Myanmar male worker employed by Dr Supat.

Dr Supat was charged with murder and has been detained pending prosecution. Police have rejected his bail request.

In October, police in Ngao district of Lampang province arrested Thiti Pengsuk, aged 42, with about 1.28 million methamphetamine pills and 5kg of crystal methamphetamines, or "ice".

According to police, the trafficker said Pol Sen Sgt Maj Manas Seupho of the Pracha Chuen police station in Bangkok hired him for 100,000 baht to drive and deliver the drugs to Bangkok.

Pol Sen Sgt Maj Manas was arrested in Lampang on Oct 24.

Arrest warrants are out for six accomplices, including another policeman and his wife.

All executive officers at the Pracha Chuen police station were transferred to inactive posts early this month after the gang was exposed.

On Dec 10, fertiliser trader Pallop Trinprisada, 55, and his lawyer Sommai Chomngam, 59, were shot dead in tambon Samed of Muang Chon Buri district, Chon Buri province.

Mr Pallop had made an appointment with his neighbour, Pol Sen Sgt Maj Samran Jaengsuk of the Provincial Police Region 2, to discuss their two-year-long land dispute.

Police believe the breakdown of negotiations led to the shooting.

Pol Sen Sgt Maj Samran turned himself in but denied murdering Pallop, saying he had not met the man as agreed.

On Dec 12, a gang of four non-commissioned officers was arrested for robbing a Thai man and two Lao siblings of 3.5 million baht in cash which they had just withdrawn from a branch of Kasikornbank in Muang Nakhon Phanom district, Nakhon Phanom province.

The culprits were eventually identified as Pol Sgt Maj Ekachai Singthongyai, 35, Pol Sen Sgt Maj Chadawut Nonkhamwong, 39, Pol Sen Sgt Maj Jamnong Raksa, 36, and Pol Sen Sgt Maj Narong Boonsinchai, 39.

Kasikornbank employee Thonglert Maslooplao, 41, was also arrested for conspiring with the robbers.

On Dec 13, narcotics suppression police arrested Pol Lt Col Thammanoon Nakbua, Pol Sub Lt Jittipong Sochai, Pol Sen Sgt Maj Noltawat Pansa, Pol Sen Sgt Maj Atthapol Khamsaen and Pol Sen Sgt Maj Sakkapong Chiangnoon of the Uan police station in Pua district of Nan province while they were using a police truck to allegedly deliver 1 million methamphetamine pills in Ayutthaya province.

These police-related crimes have damaged the reputation of the force.

They also pose a big challenge to national police chief Adul Saengsingkaew, who says he wants to clean up the force by getting rid of rogue officers.

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About the author

Writer: Wassayos Ngamkham
Position: Reporter