'Joe Ferrari' wealth sparks probe call

'Joe Ferrari' wealth sparks probe call

Assets don't match up with monthly pay

Joe Ferrari: Unusually rich
Joe Ferrari: Unusually rich

Activist Srisuwan Janya has formally asked the Anti-Money Laundering Office (Amlo) to investigate the wealth of Pol Col Thitisan Utthanaphon, as investigators handling the torture-death case against the former superintendent finished interrogating six of his subordinates on Tuesday.

Mr Srisuwan, secretary-general of the Association for the Protection of the Thai Constitution, petitioned Amlo to investigate the vast amount of assets held by Pol Col Thitisan, who was a former chief of Muang Nakhon Sawan police.

Pol Col Thitisan, also known as "Joe Ferrari", was accused of ordering other officers to slip a plastic bag over the head of Chiraphong Thanapat, a 24-year-old drug suspect, during interrogation.

In his petition, Mr Srisuwan said he suspected Pol Col Thitisan's assets were acquired as a means to launder his ill-gotten gains.

His assets include a luxury home at the Panya Inthra housing estate in Khlong Sam Wa district of Bangkok, and 29 cars worth over 100 million baht.

Mr Srisuwan said it was hard to imagine how Pol Col Thitisan could afford to live in such luxury on a 43,000-baht monthly salary.

Separately, officers in charge of investigating the case against Pol Col Thitisan have finished interrogating six subordinates who were said to be involved.

Crime Suppression Division commander Pol Maj Gen Suwat Saengnoom on Tuesday said the six officers gave their statements as witnesses to the murder, as they were present when Chiraphong was arrested and brought to Muang police station for questioning.

Asked about a rumour on social media which said Pol Col Thitisan is suffering from bipolar disorder, the CSD commander was noncommittal.

"It depends on the evidence, whether he suffered it before or after [the alleged crime] and whether he had received treatment or not. Any vague claims carry no weight in the case," Pol Maj Gen Suwat said.

The CSD chief rejected claims that the police will help the suspects, saying their handling of the case will be based on evidence.

On Pol Col Thitisan's obvious wealth, the CSD chief said the Economic Crime Suppression Division (ECD) has been assigned to investigate his assets and his handling of the seizure and sales of more than 300 illegally imported luxury cars.

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