Police chief reassigned amid missing boats and smuggled oil probe

Image courtesy of Bangkok Post

Marine Police Chief Pritthipong Nuchanat has been reassigned to an inactive post amid an investigation into the recent disappearance of three boats and smuggled oil.

Reports revealed that Police Lieutenant General Jirabhop Bhuridej, commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), issued the transfer order last Friday, moving Pritthipong to the CIB operation centre. To fill his position, the Deputy Commander of the Crime Suppression Division Police Colonel Pornsak Laorujiralai has been appointed as the acting Marine Police commander.

Earlier, four Marine Police subordinates were also reassigned in relation to this case.

The transfer comes in the wake of an incident last month involving three boats that disappeared from a Marine Police pier in Chon Buri province. These boats, which had been modified for fishing, were discovered missing along with their cargo of smuggled oil. Although the vessels were eventually recovered, the oil was not.

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The sequence of events began on March 19 when five ships were seized and docked at the Marine Police pier in Sattahip, Chon Buri. Among these, three boats were found to carry a total of 330,000 litres of smuggled oil. Police arrested 28 crew members, who were later released on bail.

On the night of June 11, three of these vessels, along with 15 crew members, vanished. By June 17, police had recaptured the ships near the maritime border with Malaysia. The tanks were nearly empty, and it was determined that the oil had been sold while the boats were docked in Cambodia, reported Bangkok Post.

In related news, three vessels carrying 330,000 litres of contraband diesel that vanished from a police pier in Chon Buri have been located near Malaysian waters, police confirmed.

Police Major General Charoonkiat Pankaew, Deputy Commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau, announced that the three boats disappeared from the marine police pier in the Sattahip district of Chon Buri. After travelling through Cambodian and Vietnamese waters, they were found off southern Thailand.

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Ryan Turner

Ryan is a journalism student from Mahidol University with a passion for history, writing and delivering news content with a rich storytelling narrative.

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