Update: Female police corporal gets 13-year sentence for torture

Photo courtesy of KhaoSod

After a harrowing ordeal that lasted over two years, the court has sentenced a female police corporal to 13 years and five months imprisonment for the brutal treatment of a former female soldier who served under her. The close male friend of the corporal was also convicted, receiving a four-year and one-month jail term.

The case came to light when the victim’s family sought help from the influential activist, Kan Jomplang. The police corporal, Kornsasi Buayaem, also known as Jenuch, was eventually charged with seven serious offences, including human trafficking, labour law violations, firearms offences, crimes against liberty and body, forced labour, and joint assault causing both serious and minor injuries. This followed an indictment by the prosecutor on December 1, 2022.

Kan Jomplang accompanied the victim, her lawyer Rose, and her relatives to the Ratchaburi Provincial Court yesterday to hear the long-awaited verdict that took over two hours to be delivered. The court ordered the main defendant to pay 365,620 baht in compensation, while her accomplice was ordered to pay jointly with her an amount of 350,616 baht.

The victim expressed relief following the verdict. Despite the trauma experienced, which included a broken nose that restricted breathing to one nostril, she received medical treatment which helped her recover normal breathing function, reported KhaoSod.

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The victim is now focusing on rebuilding her life, currently under witness protection and running a banana fritter business. She expressed her gratitude to the press and Kan Jomplang for their support and hopes her case serves as a warning to prevent such abuses from happening to others.

ORIGINAL STORY: Maid abuse case shines light on layers of corruption

On the surface, the policewoman who beat her maid is appalling enough, but as details unfold, they uncover multi-layered rotten corruption laying bare countless cases of abuse of power all the way to the top and connected to the acting prime minister.

Not only did the maid endure the abuse in exchange for a pass into the Royal Thai Army but her abuser used similar connections to get appointed to ascending positions in the police force that she was unqualified to do.

Police Corporal Kornsasi Buayaem, the 43 year old policewoman, was recruited four years ago, four years past the 35 age limit to join the General Staff Division of the Special Branch Bureau of the Royal Thai Police.

From there she moved from a squad leader to the Special Branch Bureau’s First Division and then to the Internal Security Operations Command’s Region 4 Forward Command of the Royal Thai Army.

Admiral Sitthawat Wongsuwon and Police General Patcharawat Wongsuwon, who are brothers of caretaker Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, are being questioned by the House Committee on Corruption and Misconduct Prevention and Suppression, accused of using connections to get the policewoman and her maid appointed to their positions.

Senator Thani Onlahiad, the senator the woman claimed to be the mistress of, even though he’s been divorced for nearly 30 years, says he did have a close relationship with her in the past but hasn’t spoken with her in a long time.

Government corruption

The whole unseemly ordeal reeks of cronyism with privileged people offering kickbacks and abusing connections to climb the ladder to increase power.

The secretary-general of the Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand says it’s a vicious cycle of corruption because, as people cheat their way to the top, they then gain the power to help other people cheat their way up the ladder as well. Anyone who blows the whistle on this back panel system sacrifices their chance to advance their career.

Laws do afford some wiggle room to sidestep qualifications or avoid punishments for the privileged, but in the case of this policewoman, authorities seem to be muddying the waters with confusing information instead of offering an outright justification of how she was able to follow her career path despite being unqualified.

This confusion, coupled with fear of reprisal, stops the public from pushing for transparency and holding people accountable for corruption.

The secretary-general pointed out that the Senate has opened a 60-day probe when it should take only a few days to uncover which senator appointed the policewoman, and who gave the green light to her advancements.

He calls for an independent panel to take over and at least lend some credibility to the probe, even if everyone involved escapes punishment.

Police corruption

The maid abuse case also shines a light on the crumbling credibility and corruption of Thailand’s police force, where officers can be appointed without any scrutiny and often with a bribe, leading to incompetency in job posts, and even people being appointed to jobs that don’t exist.

For example, the policewoman was appointed to a position in the Deep South, even though she never actually travelled there.

A member of the Move Forward Party laments that the police are lacking organization and internal checks and balances that allow them to eat up taxpayer money without performing effectively, with a government seemingly indifferent to the corruption problems.

The MP also points at shady dealings and alleges that the police look the other way for a fee as nightlife venues stay open past curfews, casinos operate illegally, and drugs flow fairly unrestricted.

In the case of the policewoman who abused her maid, he asks why no probes were launched, and who requested and who else signed off on her advancements and appointments to non-existent posts?

Investigations and transparency

Meanwhile, the National Police Chief has called for a full investigation to uncover who recruited the policewoman and determine if any regulations were violated in the process, pointing out that she was the only person above the age limit who was hired anyway in the Royal Thai police.

The chief says someone in high power must have ordered officers to waive requirements and allow her recruitment to proceed.

The chairman of Rangsit University’s Faculty of Criminology and Justice Administration calls for transparency in the police force and their recruitment process to avoid corruption before people lose faith and stop listening to or obeying to police.

He says the National Anti-Corruption Commission, as well as other independent agencies and unrelated experts in relevant fields, should be incorporated into the process to avoid it being a pay-to-play system. The loophole that allows the police to recruit people with specialized knowledge has become a floodgate for cronyism, where the only special knowledge appointees possess is the contact info and connection of high-ranking police officers or politicians.

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Nattapong Westwood

Nattapong Westwood is a Bangkok-born writer who is half Thai and half Aussie. He studied in an international school in Bangkok and then pursued journalism studies in Melbourne. Nattapong began his career as a freelance writer before joining Thaiger. His passion for news writing fuels his dedication to the craft, as he consistently strives to deliver engaging content to his audience.

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