Runaway cop wanted for alleged murder turns himself in in Chon Buri

PHOTO: Royal Thai Police

A police chief who allegedly killed a suspect while in custody has surrendered to police in Chon Buri, saying he was just trying to protect society from the dangers of drugs. A video of Thitisan Utthanaphon allegedly suffocating a suspect by placing plastic bags over his head has gone viral, leading to the dismissal of 7 officers, including Thitisan. He formerly held the position of chief of police in the northern province of Nakhon Sawan.

After initially absconding, leading to reports that he was already in Myanmar, Thitisan handed himself in at Saen Suk police station in Chon Buri at 4pm yesterday. According to a Bangkok Post report, deputy police commissioner Ekarak Limsangkat says he received a call from Thitisan around 11pm on Wednesday. During the call, the former police chief said he wanted to kill himself. Ekarak says he persuaded him to protect the honour of the police and hand himself in.

Meanwhile, police chief Suwat Jangyodsuk, who had previously declared that no police officers involved in the incident would get special treatment, appeared to have arranged a press conference for Thitisan. Speaking to reporters by phone, Thitisan was allowed to answer their questions, using the occasion to give his side of the story. Addressing claims he was trying to extort 2 million baht from the suspect, 24 year old Jeerapong Thanapat, the ex-cop said he was merely trying to get more information in order to protect the public.

“I intended to get the information so I can destroy the drug business and protect the people of Nakhon Sawan. I made a mistake. My subordinates just followed my order and I take sole responsibility.”

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Asked about why he needed to use 6 plastic bags over Jeerapong’s head, Thitisan claimed he was trying to prevent the suspect seeing his face. He added that as Jeerapong kept trying to remove the bags, he was forced to tie his hands. He says that when the suspect passed out, he assumed it was from drug consumption. The reason given for ordering his team to remove the station’s security cameras was that Thitisan was shocked by the suspect’s condition as he’d never experienced anything like it before.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Maya Taylor

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