An activist has urged a disciplinary investigation into deputy police chief Srivara Ransibrahmanakul after a video clip showed him bow low to the key suspect in the high-profile poaching case.
Srisuwan Chanya, secretary-general of the Constitution Protection Association of Thailand, issued the statement on Saturday, urging the Police Commission to set up a panel to look into Pol Gen Srivara’s behaviour.
The clip took place at Thong Pha Phum police station in Kanchanaburi province on Friday when Mr Premchai turned up to answer multiple charges relating to illegal camping and hunting protected wildlife in the province's world heritage forest early last month.
The clip shows Mr Premchai gave Pol Gen Srivara a wai. Pol Gen Srivara first returned the gesture with a regular wai but a few seconds later he repeated it by bowing low to Mr Premchai.
His gesture drew heavy criticism as social media users questioned whether it was appropriate for a high-ranking police officer to pay such high respect to a suspect. They found it unusual and wondered whether he treated other suspects the same way.
“Up until now, he acted tough toward suspects and always said he would follow the letter of the law. For instance, he opposed bail for the activists protesting near the MBK mall. But in Mr Premchai’s case, he did not object it even though the offences also carry heavy punishments,” Mr Srisuwan noted.
He questioned whether Pol Gen Srivara might have violated the 2010 Police Code of Ethics and Morality on discrimination.
“We would like Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the Police Commission and police inspectors to set up a panel to look into this case,” he said.