Former police chief ‘Joe Ferrari’ says he just wanted to “scare suspect”

PHOTO: Wikibio/CNN

A former police chief charged with murder after a drugs suspect died when multiple plastic bags were placed over his head during questioning, says he just wanted to scare the victim. Thitisan Utthanaphon, aka. Joe Ferrari in Thai media, a police chief in the northern province of Nakhon Sawan at the time, told the court that he never intended to kill 24 year old Jeerapong Thanapat.

Thitisan, along with 6 alleged accomplices, all former police officers, are all on trial at the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases. According to a Bangkok Post report, the defendants say they posed as customers in order to arrest Jeerapong and his wife on drugs offences on August 4, last year. Thitisan admits to having placed plastic bags over the suspect’s head while he was under interrogation but insists this was merely an attempt to scare him.

Thitisan Utthanaphon was captured on video in a violent interrogation of a suspect in an alleged drugs case, during which the superintendent with his subordinates placed 6 plastic bags over the man’s head and tied his hands behind his back which led to his suffocation until he died.

The video of the botched interrogation and torture went viral, shocking viewers of the violent police treatment of a suspect. The police station CCTV footage was leaked by a junior officer.

Thitisan and 6 other officers were subsequently arrested and charged in the investigation. Thitisan is also being investigated for his role in the seizure, resale, and ownership of high-end cars. The former police chief earned the nickname Joe Ferrari as a result of his collection of luxury vehicles.

His assets, which were seized as part of the investigation, also include a 57-million-baht mansion in Bangkok. In total, investigating officers have seized assets valued at 130 million baht, including 24 cars valued at 70 million baht, a condo worth 1.5 million baht, and 18 guns worth 720,000 baht.

The next hearing will take place on March 16.

You can read some more about the early police investigations into the ‘Joe Ferarri’ case HERE.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

A seasoned writer, with a degree in Creative Writing. Over ten years' experience in producing blog and magazine articles, news reports and website content.