Calls for former police chief’s wealth to be investigated

Former police chief, Thitisan Utthanaphon. PHOTO: Shutterstock

An activist from the Association for the Protection of the Thai Constitution has petitioned the Anti-Money Laundering Office to look into the wealth acquired by former police chief, Thitisan Utthanaphon. Thitisan has been fired as police chief in the northern province of Nakhon Sawan and is being investigated for his alleged role in the death of a suspect in custody.

He is accused of placing plastic bags over the head of 24 year old Chiraphong Thanapat, while the man was being questioned on drugs offences. Video footage of the incident has gone viral on social media, prompting nationwide outrage. In the footage, Chiraphong can be seen struggling before falling unconscious. An autopsy has confirmed the victim died of suffocation.

The Bangkok Post reports that activist Srisuwan Janya is calling for an investigation into how Thitisan acquired a luxury home in Bangkok and a collection of 29 cars worth over 100 million baht. He says he suspects the former police chief acquired the assets by laundering the proceeds of corruption, questioning how a police officer earning 43,000 baht a month could otherwise afford such luxuries.

Meanwhile, the 6 officers who were with Thitisan at the time of Chiraphong’s death have been interrogated by the Crime Suppression Division. Commander Suwat Saengnoom says each of the officers has given a statement but he refused to speculate on social media rumours that Thitisan suffers from bipolar disorder.

“It depends on the evidence, whether he suffered it before or after and whether he had received treatment or not. Any vague claims carry no weight in the case.”

Suwat has also denied claims that the suspects in the investigation, all police officers who have been dismissed from their posts, will be given any preferential treatment, adding that the handling of the case will be determined by the evidence available.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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