Top police face Lese Majeste charges


– Thailand news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Top police face Lese Majeste charges
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The suspended commander of the Central Investigation Bureau, Lt Gen Pongpat Chayaphan, and his deputy Maj Gen Kowit Wongrungroj, who have been accused of lese majeste, have confessed to their crimes, Royal Thai Police spokesman Lt Gen Prawut Thawornsiri said yesterday.

These cases would be clarified further and in greater detail at a press conference, said Gen Prawut, who is also an assistant national police chief.

Senior police have rarely been charged with Lese Majeste.

Three civilians accused of similar crimes were at large and were being pursued by police, he said.

As for the death of Pol Col Akkharawut Limrat, Gen Prawut said a death certificate issued by coroners on Friday said he suffered a broken spine at chest level, which was caused by a fall from a high position.

He said Col Akkharawut, who was transferred from a prominent position along with Gen Pongpat, had earlier attempted suicide on three occasions after his transfer.

Col Akkharawut was cooperative and gave useful information to police, he said.

“After giving his statements, he jumped off a building to kill himself out of distress and fear for prosecution, he said, adding that the colonel left a suicide note. Gen Pongpat, his deputy Gen Kowit and Col Akkharawut were transferred to inactive posts in an urgent transfer order issued late at night on November 11.

A Royal Thai Police notice issued on Friday details their alleged crimes and lists the names of eight more people – five police officers and the three civilians. Col Akkharawut had not been charged with any offence and his death was made known via social media posts yesterday.

Crime Suppression Division (CSD) commander Chaithat Bunkham was transferred on November 13, but he was not on the notice, which comprises 10 people in total.

Another transfer order issued on November 14 resulted in a police commander being assigned to replace Col Watcharaphol Thongluan, commander of the CSD’s Subdivision 5. Col Watcharaphol is also not on the notice.

The other officers named on the list are the Marine Police commander, Maj Gen Bunsueb Phrai-thuen; Samut Sakhon immigration police chief, Col Kowit Muangnual; Snr Sgt Major Surasak Jan-ngoa; and Snr Sgt Major Chattrin Laothong.

The three civilians have been identified as Sudathip Muangnual, Sawong Mungthiang, both of whom are women, and Rerngsak Saknarongdej.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

Thailand News
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