Tangmo: Police examine ‘fresh evidence’ — CCTV video of person on speedboat

An enhanced image of CCTV footage showing the speedboat on the Chao Phraya River that night. This video, leaked on online, has received much attention from Thai netizen sleuths. Police may be examining this or a separate, unreleased video. Credit: BERITA VIRAL | YouTube

Police are examining “fresh evidence” from a CCTV camera that recorded footage of the speedboat TV actress Nida “Tangmo” Patcharaveerapong fell from before drowning in the Chao Phraya River last month.

The video taken from a riverside building reportedly shows a person at the stern (rear) of the speedboat standing up and sitting down, as the boats moves along the river, before Tango fell overboard and drowned on the night of February 24. Speaking of the footage, Pol Lt Gen Jirapat Phumichit, commissioner of Provincial Police Region 1, said on Sunday…

“This evidence is useful as it will help investigators get more clarity on this case.”

He said the footage shows an unidentified person standing up and sitting down at the stern of the speedboat at 10:34pm that night — before Tangmo fell into the river — but that further investigation is required to determine whether the person shown is in fact the actress. He said police will consult with film experts from local production houses to help them improve the video’s clarity, in conjunction with inspecting the boat’s GPS coordinates.

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Tangmo’s body was originally scheduled to be cremated today, but on Saturday her mother called on investigators to transfer the body to the institute for re-examination. Also on Saturday, Tango fans staged a protest in Bangkok, calling for justice to be served. Last week, a fellow actor and volunteer rescue worker questioned the results of the initial autopsy report. Three days of memorial services were held over the weekend celebrating the life of the late actress, as the investigation into her death ends its third week with no clear conclusion in sight.

Now the institute is setting up a panel in reparation of the second postmortem, which may include doctors from other institutes, according to Director of the Justice Ministry’s Central Institute of Forensic Science, Pol Col Songsak Raksaksakul…

“Her body will be kept at Thammasat University Hospital, and the re-examination is anticipated to be complete in no less than 30 days.”

The new evidence has come to light after a slew of CCTV footage — purportedly showing the speedboat party on the river that night — have merged online, stirring up much speculation and conspiracy theories. One video in particular appears to show a figure with long hair standing up at the bow (front) of the boat, where there appears to be a struggle — but it’s unclear whom the blurry figures are.

Tangmo’s family may also request the services of the Department of Special Investigation, the Bangkok Post reported. Meanwhile, Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunant, the ex-director of the Central Institute of Forensic Science, has weighed in on the ongoing investigation. Writing in a post on Facebook, the popular forensics doctor said that Tangmo’s family be able to review the autopsy report, something which many people incorrectly believe only police can access.

The doctor, who has previously been critical of the ongoing investigation into Tangmo’s death, said that in Thailand, forensic doctors have a lawful duty to reveal the truth, but that the the process isn’t transparent enough since autopsies have been incorporated into police investigations. She said Thailand should therefore adopt the UN’s Minnesota Protocol, which provides a set of guidelines that say doctors must be act independently without outside influence.

Read a rough English translation of Dr. Pornthip Rojanasunant’s post in Thai…

“Why is it so difficult for relatives to access the death data of the deceased? Probably because there was a traditional culture that the police sent the bodies for examination. We therefore have to send the results of the examination to the police only. It seems to be a misunderstanding from rights or legal principles. But probably because countries where the autopsy system is a police system has a culture that may hinder the search for the truth.”

“The United Nations therefore requires the world to adopt a fair approach under the Minnesota Protocol. The ethical requirements for forensic physicians are clear: they must be independent, impartial, and not under pressure from employers or the police. Based on this principle, requests for a second autopsy are reduced. People should be aware of these rights and principles as well.”

SOURCES: Bangkok Post | The Thaiger | YouTube | Facebook

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Jay Shine

A longtime expat in Asia with a degree in journalism and creative writing. Highlights include writing for Condé Nast Traveller and Apple Music. In his spare time, Jay enjoys writing poetry, brewing traditional Chinese tea and lounging with his calico soi cat, Almond.

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