A former police chief accused of murdering a suspect in custody has been indicted, along with 6 other former police officers. The Bangkok Post reports that public prosecutors have taken the case to the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases. Thitisan Utthanaphon is accused of torturing Chiraphong Thanapat to death by suffocating the 24 year old with plastic bags while he was under interrogation in the northern province of Nakhon Sawan on August 5. The former police chief and 6 other officers are also accused of trying to extort 2 million baht from the drugs suspect during questioning. All 7 deny the accusations.
A leaked video of Chiraphong being suffocated with plastic bags went viral on social media, provoking national outrage. In the video, Chiraphong can be seen with his head covered by a black plastic bag. Thitisan can then be seen placing additional bags over the victim’s head. The man was officially pronounced dead the following day. Thitisan initially went on the run, before surrendering to police in the eastern province of Chon Buri.
Itthiporn Kaewthip from the Office of the Attorney-General says Thitisan and 6 other officers have been indicted and 4 senior prosecutors have been directed to work on the case. The 7 accused have been charged with malfeasance (wrongful conduct by someone in public office) abuse of authority, torture causing death, and coercion. If found guilty, they could face the death penalty. All 7 are being held at Bangkok Remand Prison. The 6 other police officers have been named as Rawirot Ditthong, Songyot Khlainak, Thoranin Matwanna, Suphakon Nimchuen, Wisut Bunkhiew, and Pawikon Khammarew.
Prior to his arrest, Thitisan had earned the nickname “Joe Ferrari” due to his large collection of luxury cars. He also had a 57-million-baht mansion in Bangkok. In total, investigating officers have seized 130 million baht of assets, including 24 cars worth 70 million baht, a condo worth 1.5 million baht, and 18 guns worth 720,000 baht.
SOURCE: Bangkok Post
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