Hawker takes on police over false charge

Hawker takes on police over false charge

SPEAKING OUT: Chicken vendor submits CIB complaint.

"Although I had been acquitted,... I felt my reputation and family name had been tarnished," said Pisith Suwanphim, a roast chicken vendor.

A roast chicken vendor has filed a complaint seeking legal action against Bang Sao Thong police in Samut Prakan province for wrongly accusing him of stealing 15.8 million baht worth of jewellery, which saw him held in custody for seven months ahead of a court trial.

Pisith Suwanphim, 54, on Monday filed the complaint with Pol Lt Gen Jirabhop Bhuridej, the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) commissioner, accusing Bang Sao Thong police station of negligence.

According to the complaint, on Dec 28, 2016 three diamond rings and a 17.34-carat diamond were stolen from a house at Nisachol Housing Estate in the Khlong Khwang area of Bangkok's Phasi Charoen district.

Boonyarat Rassamisukhanon, a jewellery trader, had taken the rings and the diamond to the house for a client to view, after they had been in previous contact. However, the client snatched up the tray of jewellery, fled from the house and locked the front gate behind him.

Ms Boonyarat climbed over the fence to get out. She later lodged a complaint with Pol Capt Sa-ngad Lepol, an investigator at Bang Sao Thong police. A police team led by Pol Maj Thitiwut Ronkaew, the station's chief investigator, went to examine the crime scene.

Ms Boonyarat identified herself and Galaxy Diamond Company as the damaged parties.

Bang Sao Thong police subsequently obtained a warrant from the Thonburi Criminal Court for Mr Pisith's arrest, because the number of the mobile phone used by the thief when initially contacting Ms Boonyarat was registered in his name.

Mr Pisith said that in February 2017, while he was selling roast chicken from a rented house in Nakhon Phanom police showed up with a warrant to arrest him in a fraud case which occurred in Sung Noen district, Nakhon Ratchasima.

Mr Pisith said he was unaware that he was wanted under an arrest warrant.

The damaged party confirmed that he was not the culprit, but Bang Sao Thong police had still come with another warrant for his arrest.

He had denied being the thief and explained to police that the real thief must have used a copy of his ID card to buy the mobile phone and used it to contact Ms Boonyarat.

He was later indicted in the Thonburi Criminal Court, but on Sept 26, 2017 he was acquitted having been detained at Thonburi Remand Prison for seven months and 10 days. The prosecutors forwarded the case to the Appeal Court on Feb 14, 2018. The court upheld the lower court's acquittal on Aug 14, 2018. The state did not pursue the matter in the Supreme Court. He was released and the case was closed.

Mr Pisith said in April 2019, he filed a lawsuit against Ms Boonyarat, Galaxy Diamond Company and two individuals, Devang Kumar Chewantilal Sangkawi and Prayom Tansathaporn, as the four defendants responsible for the initial; false charges against him in the jewellery theft case.

The Thonburi Criminal Court on Jan 20, 2022 sentenced Ms Boonyarat to three years in prison for filing a false charge accusing Mr Pisith of stealing, and acquitted the other defendants.

''Although I had been acquitted and received 200,000 baht in compensation from the Ministry of Justice for being wrongly prosecuted, I felt my reputation and family name had been tarnished,'' Mr Pisith said.

He asked the CIB police to take legal action against Bang Sao Thong police, who handled his case, for alleged negligence under Section 157 of the Criminal Code.

Mr Pisith's complaint was accepted for consideration by the CIB chief.

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