Probe into police officers who helped Yingluck begins Monday

Probe into police officers who helped Yingluck begins Monday

A Toyota Camry used to take former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra to the Cambodian border has been towed from Nakhon Pathom to police headquarters in Bangkok where forensic experts have been combing it for evidence. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)
A Toyota Camry used to take former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra to the Cambodian border has been towed from Nakhon Pathom to police headquarters in Bangkok where forensic experts have been combing it for evidence. (Photo by Pornprom Satrabhaya)

A police colonel has dismissed talk that he could face difficulty investigating a fellow officer of the same rank for involvement in helping Yingluck Shinawatra flee the country.

National police chief Chakthip Chaijinda has picked Pol Col Kiattipong Nala, the deputy commander of the Metropolitan Police Bureau's Division 5, to chair a disciplinary committee looking into the involvement of officers in the former prime minister's escape last month.

Specifically, he will be investigating the activities of Pol Col Chairit Anurit and two other officers of lower rank from the provincial police office in Nakhon Pathom province.

The trio are accused of being involved in driving Ms Yingluck to the Cambodian border in Sa Kaeo so that she could flee the country before the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions ruled in the negligence case stemming from her government's corruption-plagued rice-pledging programme on Aug 25.

The decision by Pol Gen Chakthip is seen in bureaucratic circles as a rare instance of one official investigating another who holds the same rank.

Pol Col Kiattipong said on Saturday that his work would begin on Monday, adding that he had no concern about investigating Pol Col Chairit.

When the committee members sit down on Monday, Pol Col Chairit and two other officers will not be called for questioning, however.

The panel will first study the information gathered from the interrogations of the three on Thursday night and Friday before ordering them to appear for interviews, Pol Col Kiattipong added.

He said the committee's mandate was to determine whether the officers committed a serious disciplinary violation by going beyond their areas of responsibility without approval from their superiors and driving for Ms Yingluck when they had no duty to do so.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon on Friday claimed that Pol Col Chairit had given interrogators the name of the person behind the escape.

Sources told the Bangkok Post earlier that Pol Col Chairit was known to have close ties with a former Metropolitan Police Bureau commissioner who reportedly has connections with a former deputy police chief.

The three policemen accused of helping Ms Yingluck flee were questioned and a car that police say was used to take her to the border was found in Nakhon Patho. It is now being examined for evidence at police heaquarters in Bangkok. Authorities believe more than one vehicle was used for the escape plan.

The Supreme Court has set Sept 27 as the new date to hand down its ruling on the rice case regardless of the absence of the former prime minister.


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