Ex-CIB chief, 6 cops held over bribery
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Ex-CIB chief, 6 cops held over bribery

Pongpat house raids net B10bn cash, assets

Former Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) chief Pol Lt Gen Pongpat Chayapan has been detained along with seven other suspects on a number of charges, including violating the lese majeste law, a highly placed police source said yesterday.

A photo shared via social media shows former chief of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), Pol Lt Gen Pongpat Chayapan, right, being held and questioned at an unidentified army camp.

About one billion baht in cash, valuables and assets totalling 10 billion baht have been found and seized during the recent searches of six houses owned by Pol Lt Gen Pongpat.

Among items and cash seized were more than a hundred rare Buddha images, several thousand amulets and a large number of land title deeds, said the same source.

Police commandos searched the houses of the eight suspects after their arrests, said the source.

Police spokesman Prawut Thawornsiri confirmed yesterday the suspects were Pol Lt Gen Pongpat; Pol Maj Gen Kowit Wongrungruang, a former CIB deputy chief; Pol Maj Gen Boonsueb Phraithuean, former chief of the Marine Police Division; Pol Col Wuthichat Liansukhon, former chief of the Anti-Human Trafficking Division's Sub-Division 4; Pol Snr Sgt Maj Surasak Chan-ngao, the driver of Pol Lt Gen Pongpat; Pol Snr Sgt Maj Chattrin Laothong, the driver of Pol Maj Gen Kowit; Pol Col Kowit Muangnual, chief of Samut Sakhon's immigration police office; and Sudathip Muangnual, the wife of Pol Col Kowit.

Aside from these suspects, police are also tracking Sahuang Mungthiang and Rerngsak Saknarongdech, who they believe committed similar crimes.

According to a police source, Pol Maj Gen Boonsueb confessed that he accepted bribes worth 2-3 million baht per month from oil smuggling gangs and the other members of his ring received 12-13 million baht a month from the same gangs.

Even the two drivers of the former CIB chief and deputy chief have assets worth about 50 million baht, the source claimed.

Pol Lt Gen Pongpat, who was detained at Tao Pun police station since 1am yesterday after his interrogation, was charged with violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, also known as the lese majeste law; Section 148, which deals with misconduct committed by state officials; Section 149, dealing with state officials demanding benefits; and Section 157, dealing with malfeasance. 

Pol Maj Gen Kowit, Pol Maj Gen Boonsueb, and Pol Col Wuthichat also face these charges, while Pol Snr Sgt Maj Surasak and Pol Snr Sgt Maj Chattrin Laothong were charged with malfeasance and unlawfully demanding benefits.

Pongpat: Faces lese majeste charge

Pol Col Kowit and Ms Sudathip faced deforestation and forest land encroachment charges for allegedly constructing buildings on natural water resources.

They also were charged with violating Sections 117 and 183 of the law on navigating through Thai waters.

Ms Sahuang and Mr Rerngsak were charged with possessing the carcasses of protected species.

National police chief Somyot Pumpunmuang yesterday ordered the dismissal of the detained officers, except for Pol Col Kowit.

Pol Lt Gen Prawut said police had evidence to back up charges that the suspects had insulted the monarchy and unlawfully sought benefits for themselves, among other crimes.

Details of their wrongdoings and evidence to back up the allegations made against them will be revealed at a press conference soon, he said.

Police will today seek approval from the courts to further detain the eight suspects while continuing their investigations.

Pol Col Akkharawut Limrat, former chief of the Crime Suppression Division's Sub-Division 1, who plunged to his death recently in an apparent suicide, was also found to have been involved in the same misconduct as the eight suspects, Pol Lt Gen Prawut said.

He said Pol Col Akkharawut had committed suicide by jumping off a building because he was under a lot of stress about the alleged misconduct. 

Witnesses insisted he had made three previous suicide attempts, Pol Col Akkharawut said.

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