Connect with us


Former land official in Phuket DSI case found hanged in cell



PHUKET: A former land department official under investigation in Phuket land-title cases allegedly committed suicide while in official custody yesterday.

Tawatchai Anukul, who was under investigation for illegal registration of land deeds for about 1,000 plots in Phuket and Phang Nga, allegedly took his own life. Custody officials said the suspect was found to have hung himself just hours before he was due to appear in the Criminal Court in Bangkok.

Department of Special Investigation (DSI) officials said Mr Tawatchai, a former official of the Phang-Nga Provincial Land Department, had hanged himself by attaching a sock to his detention room door early yesterday morning – a day after he was arrested for wrongfully exercising his duties as an official of the Provincial Land Department.

DSI director-general Pol Colonel Paisit Wongmuang said Mr Tawatchai killed himself due to anxiety and stress after being arrested in Nonthaburi on Monday.

“I believe the suspect committed suicide because he faced a DSI arrest warrant and was also being sued in many cases related to offences involving illegal land-deed registration,” Col Paisit said.

He added that apart from the DSI case, Tawatchai was also being investigated by the Anti-Money Laundering Office over his property, as well as in a National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) probe over corruption.

The DSI chief said that Mr Tawatchai was allegedly involved in illegal land-deed registration of more than 1,000 plots of public land in Phuket and Phang-Nga provinces, and that his crime had cost the country more than B10.5 billion.

DSI deputy director-general Pol Colonel Songsak Raksaksakul said Mr Tawatchai was arrested on Monday in Nonthaburi following issuance of an arrest warrant in June. He was detained at DSI headquarters for one night before being sent to the Criminal Court for further sentencing yesterday.

However, Col Songsak said that after interrogation yesterday afternoon, Mr Tawatchai showed signs of stress and ate very little, so officers let him rest in his detention room.

Then when an officer went to that room around 2am, he saw that the suspect had hanged himself, Col Songsak said. The officer said he broke into the cell and had the suspect sent to Mongkut Wattana Hospital but that he died around 4:45am.

“I insist that the DSI has proper detention standards and we would like to express our deep condolences to Mr Tawatchai’s family,” Col Songsak said.

“The DSI will set up a committee to investigate this tragic incident to see if there was any negligence on the officers’ part,” he added.

Col Paisit said that a postmortem would be conducted because Mr Tawatchai had died in custody. Then his body would be returned to his family for funeral rites.

“The criminal offences against him are now nullified because he is already dead, but investigation on money laundering related to his property will continue,” Col Paisit said.

Pol Lt-Colonel Prawut Wongseenin, a director at the DSI’s Consumer Protection and Environmental Crime Bureau, stated that Mr Tawatchai’s death would not affect the illegal land-deed registration cases as the investigation was complete and the DSI had solid evidence against all the defendants.

“The DSI has two special cases involving this suspect, Colonel Prawut told the press.

“These two cases involve illegal land-deed registration in Phuket’s Thalang district and prosecution moves are being made on three companies and three officers, one of whom was Mr Tawatchai.”

According to the DSI, the suspect was being investigated by the NACC in 12 cases related to land documents covering 22 sites. He also faced a 12-year jail sentence issued by the Surat Thani provincial court.

— The Nation


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Video2 hours ago

Timeline of the mass shooting in Thailand

Crime3 hours ago

Finnish CEO detained for alleged mistreatment of 1,100 Thai berry pickers

Thailand3 hours ago

Thailand News Today | No drugs detected in system of daycare center killer

Sponsored11 hours ago

5 reasons why Thailand educators shouldn’t miss Bett Asia in Bangkok this year

Myanmar4 hours ago

Burmese junta sentences Japanese journalist for sedition and other charges

Thailand4 hours ago

Thai woman & foreign men charged for child sex trafficking in Pattaya

Guides4 hours ago

10 strange laws to be aware of in Thailand

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Thailand4 hours ago

Love rat Thai soldier threaten’s Israeli husband of adulterous wife

Best of4 hours ago

Outstanding halal restaurants in Bangkok

Pattaya5 hours ago

Pattaya dwellers want public restrooms built faster at pier

Thailand5 hours ago

No Buddhist temples willing to cremate body of daycare centre killer

Phuket5 hours ago

AI upgrade planned for pier in Phuket

Medical6 hours ago

When snakes strike, why not call for the chicken-ass squad?

Crime6 hours ago

Massacre in Thailand: No drugs detected in system of daycare centre killer

Thailand6 hours ago

Woman’s body in suitcase identified as Lao millionaire

Crime6 hours ago

Massacre in Thailand raises questions on gun control

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11