Prosecutors want to exit police case

Prosecutors want to exit police case

Say cops are using intimidation tactics

Two senior prosecutors are demanding protection and seeking permission to suspend their involvement in a police investigation as they claim to feel threatened by a team of police suspects, one of whom is allegedly a close aide of deputy police chief Pol Gen Surachate Hakparn.

Kulthanit Mongkolsawat, chief of the Investigation Office attached to the Office of the Attorney-General, yesterday confirmed media reports that he feels intimidated by police being investigated for their alleged involvement in online gambling websites allegedly linked to Suchanun "Minnie" Sucharitchinsri.

Mr Kulthanit said he had no idea how a petition regarding the alleged intimidation was leaked to the media while emphasising he was merely following procedure in doing his job.

"As for my request to the attorney-general to suspend my role in advising the police on this case until the OAG and the Royal Thai Police can ensure adequate protection for the prosecutors and their families, that decision will be made by my supervisors," he said.

According to media reports, Mr Kulthanit and Suriyon Prabhasavat, a senior public prosecutor attached to the OAG, submitted a petition dated Feb 2 to deputy national police chief Pol Gen Thana Chuwong, who is overseeing the investigation into the case.

In the petition, the two prosecutors said they have been assigned to advise investigators at Thung Mahamek police station on a case in which eight individuals -- including Pol Col Phakphum Phitsamai, widely said to be a close aid of Pol Gen Surachate -- are being probed regarding their ties to illegal gambling websites.

During the investigation, Pol Col Phakphum and his associates lodged a complaint against Mr Kulthanit and Mr Suriyon for their roles in assisting the case. The complaint included photos of the two men that appeared to have been taken clandestinely.

The prosecutors said such a complaint did not require photos, and their inclusion was thus perceived as a veiled threat showing they were being followed.

"It is a form of intimidation against the lives of prosecutors and their family members," the prosecutors claimed in their petition.

They reported the matter to the OAG and sought permission to suspend their roles in this case until adequate protection was given. They also requested a probe into the suspects and anyone else who may potentially be obstructing the investigation.

A source said the RTP looked into Mr Kulthanit's petition and identified the person who took the pictures as Pol Lt Col Kawipat Kraiperm, a deputy superintendent attached to the Cyber Crime Investigation Bureau.

The source said he was transferred to the operations centre of the CCIB in an order signed Wednesday by Pol Maj Gen Jirawat Phayungtham, the CCIB's acting chief.

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