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Fears police chief Thitisan won’t be held accountable for murder

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: Wikibio/CNN

Many, especially on social media, have expressed worries that Pol Col Thitisan “Jo Ferrari” Utthanaphon will escape harsh punishment or perhaps any punishment at all. With the hashtag #StopLyingJoe trending on Thai Twitter yesterday and the bizarre press conference allowing the now-fired police officer to speak to the public and defend his actions, many believe that after his surrender Thursday, Thitisan will eventually be let off the hook.

National Police Chief Suwat Jangyodsuk said that the Crime Suppression Division will handle the case as it is a high profile case and many believe that if the Nakhon Sawan police are investigating their own former police station chief, he will be freed with only a slap on the wrist for his actions.

Thitisan surrendered to police in Chon Buri and was transferred to the care of the CSD where he was interrogated and participated in that press conference. He confessed to ordering a “partial” suffocation during the incident that was caught on video that went viral, but claims that there was never any extortion involved and that he is an honest cop who has never engaged in any corrupt action.

“I swear by the amulet around my neck that I have never been involved in corruption.”

While the National Police say they have yet to uncover any proof of the extortion attempt, the validity of Thitisan’s claim is under investigation as the public outcry wonders how he amassed a collection of luxury cars worth nearly 200 million baht, a 60 million baht mansion, a 2-acre compound in Bangkok, and rumours of hundreds of millions of baht in cash stashed or held by nominees.

Still, Thitisan maintains he was merely investigating to destroy a drug business and protect the public after seeing photos of 20,000 speed pills and a kilogramme of meth on the suspect’s phone. He claimed to have used 6 bags over the suspect’s head and bound his arms behind his back only to stop the suspect from seeing officers’ faces.

He says it was the first time he ever took any actions like that or treated a suspect that way.

A 2017 Supreme Court ruling said that officers must know that putting a plastic bag on a suspect’s head would suffocate them, and called the practice attempted murder.

A former MP commented that Thitisan said the extreme interrogation was done for public safety to get info about the drugs and yet the suspect’s wife was released from custody after without the same intense questioning and without revealing any information about the drugs.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

 

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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