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Investigation reveals Narathiwat police protected weapon and drug suspects

An investigation into the southern Narathiwat provincial police department has revealed its police chief and subordinates protected weapon and drug suspects.

According to the Bangkok Post, the commander of police, Waesamae Salae, and his subordinates are accused of taking bribes in exchange for helping drug and weapon suspects. The national police chief, Surachate Hakparn announced the news yesterday.

Surachate says he filed a criminal and disciplinary action with the Anti-Corruption Divison after prominent lawyer, Atchariya Ruangrattanapong, complained. Atchariya is a well-known campaigner for crime victims.

He says Chayanont Nithor, a murder suspect was helped by corrupt police. Atchariya says a decision was made not to prosecute the 25 year old Chayanont in connection with the murder of a policeman, Thanakrit Ruekdee.

Thanakrit was a 23 year old police officer who was on patrol in Sungai Kolok on July 16 last year.

Atchariya says Chayanont paid 40,000 baht to have licenses for seven guns issued by the Sungai Kolok district office despite having a record of drug abuse. After paying, he received three licences in one day.

Narathiwat police also didn’t reprimand Chayanont in a case that involved the seizure of compressed marijuana in Songkhla. The accused dealer, who was caught with the drugs, told police Chayanont had hired him to transport the drugs to Malaysia.

After police searched Chayanont’s house, they found three guns but did not charge him with a crime. Five people were arrested during the search, but only one was charged. Police also reportedly found financial transactions with some local police officers on their phones.

Atchariya alleges that Waesamae gave informants cards with his name and mobile number, which gave such criminals no fear of carrying weapons in public places.

Waesamae was then transferred to an inactive post last October pending the investigation. He then filed a defamation complaint against a person who accused him of helping such criminals.

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Ann Carter

Ann Carter is an award-winning journalist from the United States with over 12 years experience in print and broadcast news. Her work has been featured in America, China and Thailand as she has worked internationally at major news stations as a writer and producer. Carter graduated from the Walter Williams Missouri School of Journalism in the USA.