Officers transferred after 'failing to spot gambling'

Officers transferred after 'failing to spot gambling'

Three senior police officers in Nakhon Ratchasima province were transferred yesterday after the military raided a gambling den in their jurisdiction area on Friday night.

Nakhon Ratchasima provincial police commander Thakul Nattheesri ordered the transfer of three policemen attached to Muang police station to inactive posts at the provincial police headquarters, pending an investigation.

The three officers were identified as Pol Lt Col Pattharawut Seeha, Pol Lt Col Witthawat Saengsawangsathit and Pol Maj Sutthirak Lakkhanalikhit.

An investigation panel, led by the deputy commander of the provincial police Wiwat Leelakhet, was also set up to look into the case.

Pol Maj Gen Thakul said the results would come out within a month as he had instructed the panel to speed up the probe.

However, he said he did not order the transfer of Muang police station chief Pathiyut Singsomroj, as the officer was on leave when the raid was launched.

Military forces from the 2nd Army Region stormed the gambling house in Nakhon Ratchasima municipality, leading to the arrest of 26 suspects.

The gambling den was on the second floor of a building, on Mookamontri road.

A noodle shop called Hom O-cha was on the first floor.

Authorities also seized more than 150,000 baht in cash, 22 decks of cards and a table and 30 chairs used in the gambling area.

Among the suspects were Sitthichoke Wongwai, who is suspected of being the gambling host, and Aphisorn Phuthong, 45, the noodle shop’s proprietor.

Mr Aphisorn confessed to police he owned the building and acquired 3,000 baht a day for leasing the second floor to a poker gambling operation.

Pol Maj Gen Thakul said the investigation indicated the gambling den had been operating for more than a year.

He said it was understood more than 500,000 baht was circulating daily from about 30 to 40 gamblers.

In the past two months, 43 other
gamblers were detained at the gambling den in raids conducted by Muang police station.

The suppression was carried out in response to orders from Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and national police chief Chakthip Chaijinda to crack down on betting and drug rackets as well as local influential figures nationwide.

Pol Maj Gen Thakoon said he also instructed 51 police stations in the province to intensify their suppression on illegal activities.

If local police let the suppression of rackets in their supervision areas slip, disciplinary action would be brought against them, he added.

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