Net widens in probe into custody death

Net widens in probe into custody death

An additional 13-15 people are implicated in the sting operation engineered by Pol Col Thitisan Utthanaphon and his seven accomplices, which ended in the death of a drug suspect, says deputy national police chief Pol Gen Suchart Theerasawat.

Pol Gen Suchart said police are investigating the sting operation in which plastic bags were slipped over the head of Chiraphong Thanapat, a 24-year-old drug suspect, to force him to tell all. However, the suspect's suffocation was captured in a video clip that later leaked on social media.

The operation was ordered by Pol Col Thitisan, the former superintendent of Nakhon Sawan Muang police station.

Evidence collected in the case includes money, meth pills and three grammes of crystal meth.

The deputy national police chief said there may be 13-15 people, in addition to the seven police already charged, who were involved in events leading up to Chiraphong's death. They may face various charges.

Pol Gen Suchart also showed the media police records detailing the Aug 4 operation. They showed that Pol Capt Somyot Klainak, deputy inspector at the station, had taken out 64 1,000-baht banknotes to lure a man named Marvin to sell undercover police the crystal methamphetamine or ya ice in downtown Nakhon Sawan.

He insisted the record was genuine and disproved accusations of off-the-books transactions by Pol Col Thitisan.

However, Pol Gen Suchart did admit the details may have been entered into the system later than usual.

The deputy national police chief said the person who accompanied Pol Col Thitisan when he surrendered to Saen Suk police in Chon Buri was a retired state official who insists he did not provide shelter to Pol Col Thitisan, or help him escape in any way.

Meanwhile, Palang Pracharath Party MP Sira Jenjaka said the House law committee will summon national police chief Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk to explain why Pol Col Thitisan was allowed to speak via mobile phone at a press conference on Thursday night after he handed himself in.

The incident drew widespread criticism that Pol Col Thitisan had received special treatment and could have adversely affected the case.

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