Charges laid against police who killed drug suspect

Charges laid against police who killed drug suspect

Case report goes to prosecutors on Wednesday

Pol Col Thitisan Utthanaphon, former chief of the Muang Nakhon Sawan police station,  in custody at the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok on Aug 26. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
Pol Col Thitisan Utthanaphon, former chief of the Muang Nakhon Sawan police station, in custody at the Crime Suppression Division in Bangkok on Aug 26. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

The Royal Thai Police Office has pressed four charges against seven policemen, one a station chief, who killed a drug suspect during interrogation in Nakhon Sawan province in August.

The station chief is also being investigated in a case involving the seizure, sale and possession of smuggled luxury cars.

Pol Gen Suchart Theerasawat, deputy commissioner of the Royal Thai Police, said on Tuesday that the seven policemen from Muang Nakhon Sawan station have been charged with malfeasance, abuse of authority, torture causing death, and coercion.

The police case report and charges will be handed to public prosecutors on Wednesday, he said.

The suspects in the case are Pol Col Thitisan Utthanaphon, Pol Maj Rawirot Ditthong, Pol Capt Songyot Khlainak, Pol Lt Thoranin Matwanna, Pol Sen Sgt Maj Suphakon Nimchuen, Pol Sen Sgt Maj Wisut Bunkhiew and Pol L/C Pawikon Khammarew.

Pol Gen Suchart said police were also investigating Pol Col Thitisan's involvement in the seizure of about 400 smuggled vehicles and had already found suspicious records of the vehicles and irregularities in the payment of rewards for the seizure.

The case involved many people - police, customs officials and people involved with Pol Col Thitisan, the deputy national police chief said.

He said invetigators impounded about 130 million baht worth of the assets of Pol Col Thitisan, aka Joe Ferrari. The assets included a mansion worth 57 million baht in Bangkok's Bang Chan sub-district, 24 vehicles worth 70 million baht, a 1.5-million-baht condominium and 18 guns worth 720,000 baht.

Pol Gen Suwat Jangyodsuk, commissioner of the Royal Thai Police Office, said it had yet to be decided whether Pol Col Thitisan would be dismissed or expelled from the force.

Former station superintendent Pol Col Thitisan and six of his subordinates at the same station are accused of killing Chiraphong Thanapat, a 24-year-old drug suspect, while reportedly trying to extort money from him. He was suffocated with plastic bags over his head.

Pol Col Thitisan is known as Jo Ferrari because of his collection of supercars.

Footage of the torture and death of Chiraphong was leaked and posted online, sparking outrage and a storm of criticism of the police force.

Pol Col Thitisan turned himself in on Aug 26.

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