Drug suspect's dubious death investigated

Drug suspect's dubious death investigated

National police chief Somyot Pumpunmuang on Monday ordered an investigation into the dubious death of a 33-year-old drug suspect while being held at a police safehouse in Songkhla.

Pol Gen Somyot named his deputy Jakthip Chaijinda to lead the probe and also signed an order to transfer Songkhla police chief Pol Maj Gen Aumpon Buarubporn and ten other anti-narcotics policemen to inactive posts after parents of the diseased accused officers involved in the arrest of their son of beating him to death.

The case had been transferred to the Crime Suppression Division investigators, CSD acting commander Akradej Pimolsri said after a meeting with Pol Gen Jakthip in Songkhla's Hai Yai district on Monday.

Pol Col Akradej said an initial investigation found Teerapat Saereekiatdilok was arrested by police attached to Songkhla's anti-drug unit on March 7 for allegedly possessing illicit drugs and was taken to a house in tambon Kor Hong of Hai Yai.

According to Teerapat's parents, the arrest team contacted them and demanded one million baht in exchange for their son's freedom. They negotiated with them and both sides settled on a payment of 300,000 baht. When they asked to see Teerapat, the police told them he had hanged himself at the house.

Teerapat's body was found hanging from a belt and curtain tied to a bedroom window's security grating. An autopsy performed at Songklanagarind Hospital showed he had four broken right ribs and a laceration in the lung.

The investigation team on Monday made an additional inquiry of Teerapat's parents and a police officer who guarded the safehouse and is accused of being involved in the assault. They also inspected the safehouse's bedroom where Teerapat's body was found.

Pol Col Akradej said the investigators are waiting for the results of Teerapat's second autopsy. If it confirms Teerapat was killed by officers, the investigators would ask his family to file a complaint and take further legal proceedings with the accused police. 

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