Joe Ferrari: From high profile police chief and luxury vehicle collector to a life in prison

Former Nakhon Sawan provincial police chief, Thitisan Utthanaphon, aka. Joe Ferrari, was in the media spotlight today after he was sentenced to a life in prison for the torture and murder of an alleged drug trafficker.

The 41 year old, along with six of his colleagues, was caught torturing a man to death on a CCTV camera leaked on Thai social media last August. Ferrari and the other 5 officers were sentenced to death but their penalties were commuted as they tried to save the suspect’s life after he lay lifeless on the floor of the police station office. Another officer faced 7 years in jail, reduced to 5 years and 4 four months.

So, who is Joe Ferrari?

Aside from being a high-profile police officer who served as a superintendent of Mueng Nakhon Sawan Police Station, Thitisan is a controversial and well-known figure among Thai high society, who was often seen mixing with celebrities and showing off his car collection. He is familiar with Thai people mainly because he used to date a famous Thai TV star, Pichanak “May” Sakakorn.

His fame increased after he married the daughter of a businessman who operated a luxury car import. He had around 30 luxury cars from famous brands like Ferrari, Porche, Bentley, Mercedes Benz, Mini Cooper and Lamborghini. He was the first and only Thai who owned Lamborghini Aventador LP 720-4 50 Anniversario. The luxury car was limited to only 50 worldwide.

He had one child and later divorced his wife in 2012.

His celebrity prominence gradually dissipated leaving only his status as a police officer in the central Thai province. He worked hard on drug cases and finally claimed a Police Colonel position. He became famous for cracking down on various narcotic cases and had built up a good image with his hardline tactics until his reputation was sullied by the murder case, when it became clear how far he would go to get a confession or extort an alleged criminal.

Last year on August 23, CCTV footage was leaked on Thai social media featuring a police officer, who was later confirmed as Ferrari, putting several plastic bags on the head of another man identified as a drug dealer. The video showed that Ferrari also tightened the bags and attacked the drug suspect in different ways until the suspect fell from a chair. From the video, 5 other police officers were monitoring the torture, and some seemed to help Joe work on it.

Watch the horrific video HERE. WARNING: Real life violence.

According to Thai media, the suspect was reported to be a 24 year old Jeerapong Thanapat. He was captured and brought to the police station between August 4-6 last year. After the torture and suffocation on August 6, the suspect was sent to Nakhon Sawan Hospital with information from the attending police that he had “suffered a drug overdose”.

An autopsy revealed there was no overdose.

Ferrari and the other officers were accused of murder, and the investigation began.

The officers found 7 suspects involved in the case, including Thitisan Utthanaphon (Joe Ferrari), Raveeroj Ditthon, Songyot Klainak, Thanin Masawanna, Wisut Boonkiew, Paweekorn Kammaraw, and Supakorn Nimchoen. Thitisan fled to a neighboring Myanmar to hide.

While the search for him continued, officers investigated his house and assets. The Anti Money Laundering Office seized more than 131 million assets, including a 57 million baht mansion with 2 acres of land in the Bang Chan district of Bangkok, luxury cars worth about 70 million baht, a luxury condominium costing 1.5 million baht and 18 guns. The media also reported that he had 700 million baht in cash, even though his salary was a modest 40,000 baht per month.

Thitisan later surrendered himself to the police at the Thai – Myanmar border on August 25 last year.

On January 19, the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases questioned Thitisan and his colleagues. He confessed to putting 6 plastic bags on the victim’s head, but says he didn’t tighten them and didn’t mean to kill the victim. He also insisted that he did it “for his country”.

The Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases announced the end of the case today and Thitisan, or Ferrari, and 6 other suspects were charged for intentionally murdering others by “dangerously torturing”. The death penalty was commuted to a lifetime jail as they still tried to save the victim’s life by sending the victim to a hospital.

Another suspect, Supakorn Nimchoen, who refused to be involved and claimed that he only witnessed the incident, was sentenced to 7 years in jail, but it was reduced to 5 years and 4 months. He wasn’t charged with murder as the rest but accused of abuse of functions as he witnessed the incident but didn’t try to suppress or stop it.

SOURCE: Thai News Agency | Than Settakij | Kon Chad Luek

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at

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