Legal proceedings expected this week for “Joe Ferrari” death in custody case

"Joe Ferrari" (August 2021) | Photo courtesy of the Royal Thai Police

Officers from the Crime Suppression Division have completed their investigation into the former police chief known as “Joe Ferrari” who is accused of suffocating a suspect to death while demanding a 2 million baht bribe. Nation Thailand reports that prosecutors will launch legal proceedings this week against the station chief of rural province Nakhon Sawan and six of his subordinates.

Ex-cop Thitisan Uthanapol and six officers allegedly demanded a 2 million baht bribe from two drug suspects back in August. Video footage from surveillance cameras shows officers around a man during what appears to be the interrogation. Plastic bags were placed over the man’s head. He was beaten as he fell to the floor. Officers reportedly wrote the death off as a drug overdose and allegedly ordered the other suspect to keep quiet. Last week, the Nakhon Sawan provincial court ruled that the suspect died from deliberate suffocation.

Thitisan is known as “Joe Ferrari” for his car collection and lavish lifestyle, especially given his police salary which was reportedly around 40,000 baht. His wealth is said to have come from confiscating and auctioning luxury cars that had been illegally imported from Malaysia. Following his arrest, the National Anti-Corruption Commission launched an investigation into the officer’s wealth.

Investigators from the Crime Suppression Division have collected enough evidence related to the death in custody to move forward with the case. Nation Thailand says the division is looking into irregularities related to Joe Ferrari’s seizure of over 400 luxury cars, but investigators are still waiting on additional evidence. According to Nation Thailand, the division says legal proceedings can still move forward.

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“However, we believe legal proceedings against the defendants can go ahead in this case as well, because the investigation team uncovered irregularities throughout the entire procedure, such as seizures, bribes, arrests and auctions.”

Once prosecutors file the case, Joe Ferrari’s lawyer says the former cop’s relatives are ready to apply for bail, which ranges between 400,000 to 500,000 baht.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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