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7 Nakhon Panom officers transferred after cell death

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: Matichon

7 police officers in the upper northeastern province of Nakhon Panom have been “transferred to inactive duty” while an investigation takes place into the death of a man in their custody. The commander of Nakhon Phanom provincial police said yesterday that he’s ordered a probe into the case and moved the officers involved to prevent anyone tampering with the evidence.

The move comes after relatives of 40 year old Witthaya Sopawong, an official at the Tambon Kan Lueang Administrative Organisation, demanded an investigation into how he died after being placed in a cell on July 28. The relatives, led by 50 year old Thanapong Chaikham, the chief administrator, and 55 year old Si Wongsicha, the chairman of the organisation, claimed that Witthaya sustained fatal injuries while in police custody and vowed to pursue justice. Another relative, 43 year old Worrathep Kamkham, showed police photos of Witthaya’s corpse, which revealed bruises all over his body. Police forensic scientists in Khon Kaen found that one of Witthaya’s vital organs had been badly damaged.

Witthaya had been arrested after a police raid on his house, in which 6 teenagers were arrested for using methamphetamine, known locally as “yaba”. Witthaya was said to have only been drinking alcohol at the time but for some reason reportedly tried to run away, only to be caught and detained at Nong Bor police station.

The teenagers who were rounded up for taking drugs in his house are reported to have told police that Witthaya started having trouble breathing, turned pale and repeatedly asked police to take him to hospital.

The officers involved have all reported that they didn’t test Witthaya for drugs and had not pressed charges against him.

7 Nakhon Panom officers transferred after cell death | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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