Man demands record be expunged after wrongful imprisonment

A 38-year-old man wrongly jailed for almost two years on drug trafficking charges has called on police to remove his name from their criminal records.

Anukul Nithinusakorn, 37, a Chiang Mai resident, says police have refused to do so despite all charges against him being dropped.

Having a criminal record is hurting his chances of finding a job, he says.

Atchariya Ruengrattanapong, the chairman of a group to help victims of miscarriages of justice, took Mr Anukul to the Crime Suppression Division yesterday. Mr Anukul was in jail at Khlong Prem Central Prison for one year and 7 months for a crime he did not commit.

Police from the Narcotics Suppression Sub-division 3 arrested him on July 7, 2010, while he was working at an auto firm in the Lat Phrao area. The drugs team accused him of involvement in the illicit drug trade following the arrest of two drug suspects _ Montri Srilakhot and Somboon Pon-iem _ at Nonthaburi bus station.

The men were found with a fruit box containing about 7,000 speed pills.

Mr Anukul said police had found a copy of his ID card inside the fruit box and arrested him for involvement in the drug trade.

A document showed the fruit box containing the drugs had been sent to the two suspects from Chiang Mai.

He denied all charges.

Witness accounts were submitted to police to prove he was in Bangkok, not in Chiang Mai as alleged. He had also presented documents showing his ID card had been lost and he had applied for a new one. However, police had not considered the documents, Mr Anukul claimed.

Mr Anukul was denied bail during his trial, resulting in him being imprisoned for one year, seven months and 13 days, he said. The court later dropped his case and public prosecutors had not appealed against the verdict.

After his release, he petitioned the Royal Thai Police Office to expunge his criminal record. However, nothing was done. The record deprived him of opportunities to find a job.

"When I was arrested, I was taking a course in engineering at university," he said. "I was a third-year student and my only son was three years old at the time. I had just moved from a factory to work at an auto firm. After I was arrested, I had to end my studies and ended up with family problems," Mr Anukul said.

Mr Atchariya said he would take Mr Anukul to seek justice from the Royal Thai Police Office and the Justice Ministry's Rights and Liberties Protection Department and would gather evidence to file a lawsuit against the police handling the case.

Pol Col Pornchai Charoenwong, deputy chief of the Narcotics Suppression Sub-division 3, said if Mr Anukul wanted his record removed, he could directly submit his request to the Narcotics Suppression Bureau.

About the author

Writer: Wassayos Ngamkham
Position: Reporter