Police under scrutiny in assault death

Police under scrutiny in assault death

Public backlash after video emerges of attack on woman in Aranyaprathet

A screen grab from security camera footage shows five teenagers assaulting 47-year-old Buaphan on the side of a road in Sa Kaeo. Her body was found in a pond near a school on Jan 12. SCREEN GRAB VIDEO FROM CCTV
A screen grab from security camera footage shows five teenagers assaulting 47-year-old Buaphan on the side of a road in Sa Kaeo. Her body was found in a pond near a school on Jan 12. SCREEN GRAB VIDEO FROM CCTV

The Royal Thai Police (RTP) has instructed police in Sa Kaeo's Aranyaprathet district to clear doubts over their handling of an assault case involving the death of a 47-year-old woman following a public outcry.

Investigators are under heavy fire after a TV reporter found footage from security cameras showing that the victim, identified as Buaphan (surname unknown), who is believed to be mentally unstable, was assaulted by a group of teenagers aged between 13-16.

Buaphan's husband Panya Khongsaengkham, 54, was arrested shortly after her dead body was found in a pond. Mr Panya, who initially reportedly confessed to the crime, was charged in connection with her death.

But after the security camera footage emerged, he was released, and the five teenagers were arrested and questioned in connection with Buaphan's death.

Amid reports that one of the teenagers is the son of a local policeman, the public has questioned the police's handling of the case and suspected that Mr Panya was made a scapegoat.

Accompanied by Buaphan's relatives, activist Kanthat Pongpaiboonvej, alias "good Samaritan" Kan Chompalang, on Tuesday asked deputy national police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn to ensure a fair and straightforward investigation.

Mr Kanthat said that Buaphan's relatives could not locate Mr Panya after his release and could not contact local police to ask about the case, so they decided to ask Pol Gen Surachate for assistance.

Pol Gen Surachate said that although the five teenagers were arrested, he was to travel on Tuesday afternoon to Aranyaprathet to follow up on the case and instruct police to clear any doubts about their handling of the matter.

The deputy national police chief said the latest case has intensified calls for changes in the laws, which tend to compromise with minors who commit crimes. However, the matter needs thorough discussions.

Pol Col Pichet Srichantra, chief of Aranyaprathet police station, said a committee had been set up to find out why Mr Panya confessed to killing his wife.

He insisted that police had obtained the security camera footage and arrested the five teenagers before the news broke and that he found from media reports that one of the suspects was the son of a policeman.

Pol Col Pichet said police received a complaint on Jan 12, and they went with Mr Panya to the crime scene. Bloodstains were also found on his pants, and samples were sent for examination.

Citing witnesses, he said Mr Panya had a history of beating his wife and might have been under pressure to confess when questioned by police. Mr Panya was released after police reviewed the camera footage and found he was not involved.

Pol Maj Gen Omsin Boonyanuson, chief of Sa Kaeo police, said the policeman, who is the father of one of the suspects, has been transferred to the provincial police office to prevent any intervention.

According to local media reports, police were forced to review the case after CCTV footage submitted by a news channel revealed that Buaphan was allegedly being harassed and attacked by the five teenagers riding on two motorcycles.

The footage showed that after a row, she threw a bottle at them, which might have resulted in them assaulting her.

Buaphan

Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (37)