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Manhunt launched for ex-cop who allegedly killed suspect in custody



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Thai police are out to catch one of their own, with a manhunt launched for former police chief Thitisan Utthanaphon, who is on the run. The ex-cop, previously chief of police in the northern province of Nakhon Sawan, is accused of causing the death by suffocation of a drug suspect in custody. The dead man has been named as 24-year-old Chiraphong Thanaphiphat.

The incident came to light after a video purporting to show the alleged killing went viral on Facebook. It was first posted by lawyer Sittha Biabangkerd, who says he was sent the footage by a junior police officer who wanted it sent to the national police chief. It was then shared by prominent lawyer Decha Kittiwittayanan, going viral and prompting national outrage.

In the clip, Thitisan is allegedly seen trying to extort 2 million baht from Chiraphong, who had been arrested with his wife on drugs offences. The police chief can be seen placing a plastic bag over the suspect’s head, while Chiraphong can be seen struggling. Other police officers are also present.

The Bangkok Post reports that 7 officers allegedly involved in the incident have been fired, with arrest warrants issued. National police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk says 5 have been arrested, while 2 are on the run. 4 of the detained officers are from the same station in Muang district, while the fifth is from Takhli district station. Suwat says the main suspect, Thitisan, and former deputy chief investigator, Thoranin Matwanna, remain at large.

“The police are seeking cooperation from their counterparts in neighbouring countries in attempts to locate Thitisan in case he already has fled across the border.”

Yesterday, police searched Thitisan’s luxury home in the Kannayao district of Bangkok, finding a collection of luxury cars worth over 100 million baht. They included a Lamborghini and a Ferrari. According to the Bangkok Post report, 2 Burmese staff at the house told police that Thitisan, otherwise known as Jo Ferrari, only uses the 60-million-baht property at weekends, sometimes with his girlfriend.

Meanwhile, Sompong Chingduang, chief of the Immigration Bureau, says all checkpoints have been alerted to the possibility that Thitisan may try to flee Thailand. He adds that while the borders are closed due to Covid-19, cargo trucks are still allowed to cross.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post


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