A provincial public prosecutor accused by runaway inmate Chaowalit Thongduang of having a hand in taking a drug suspect from authorities has been transferred to the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) pending a fact-finding investigation.
OAG spokesman Prayuth Phetkhun said on Thursday that the attorney-general has signed an order to transfer prosecutor Phongphiphat Kerdthep from Songkhla provincial prosecutor office to the OAG’s Office of Trafficking in Persons Litigation during the fact-finding inquiry.
Fugitive inmate Chaowalit, alias Sia Paeng Nanod, recently posted videos online accusing a public prosecutor identified by the initial Thai alphabet "Bor" and six others of involvement in a plot to seize suspect Sitthidet, alias Jaruad, from police in Phatthalung province in 2019.
In the videos, Chaowalit, 37, claimed he was unfairly treated and he was the only person sentenced despite numerous other suspects in the case.
The OAG spokesman said the transfer of the accused public prosecutor did not imply guilt but was done to uphold transparency in the investigation and maintain public confidence.
The probe panel would also look into the fugitive’s claims that certain prosecutors had allegedly demanded 500,000 baht from him in exchanging for dropping a case against him, said Mr Prayuth.
On Oct 22, Chaowalit escaped from his Nakhon Si Thammarat hospital bed after being taken there from the provincial prison for dental treatment and has since evaded capture.
He was serving a 20-year and six-month sentence at Nakhon Si Thammarat Prison for attempted murders related to an armed attack on police during an attempted abduction on Sept 2, 2019, in Phatthalung.
Although cornered in a forest hideout in Trang province on Nov 8, the runaway prisoner, accompanied by armed bodyguards, managed to escape after exchanging fire with police.
Earlier this moth, the Songkhla provincial prosecutor filed a report with police in Muang district of this southern province after receiving a life-threatening letter from Chaowalit's close friend, whose identity was not disclosed at the time.
The letter, dated Oct 27, demanded the prosecutor return money to Chaowalit, threatening harm to him and his family if he refused. The message contained the word "die" and a drawing of a gun.
The prosecutor denied personally knowing the runaway prisoner, adding that he had been transferred to work in Songkhla from the Office of Juvenile and Family Prosecution in Phatthalung in April.