Mother of murder suspect alleges corruption

PHUKET CITY: The mother of a suspect in the high-profile killing of Matichon journalist Athiwut Chainurat has accused a senior policeman of taking a bribe to secure her son’s release.

Prasert Kaowseesot, 53-year-old mother of murder suspect Lamduan Kaowseesot, 31, took the case to the Nakhon Sri Thammarat Justice Center after the police officer allegedly failed to follow through with his promise that Mr Lamduan’s case would be dropped.

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Mrs Prasert claims she gave 330,000 baht to a police lieutenant colonel in Nakhon Sri Thammarat.

It was agreed that the officer would ensure her son’s case was dropped by prosecutors, she alleged.

The mother said that she had consulted a friend over what she could do to help her son, who is currently out on bail of a chanote land title deed worth 700,000 baht.

Her friend put her in touch with a member of a tambon administration organization (TAO) in Krabi.

The TAO member told her that he had a relative in the Nakhon Sri Thammarat Police who could help her, Mrs Prasert said.

“Around four months later, [the TAO member] set up a meeting with the police lieutenant colonel and said that it would cost 330,000 baht. The colonel said that the faster I came up with the money, the faster the case would be dropped. He asked if I would rather have the case dropped by police or by the prosecutor. I chose the prosecutor, as I thought that would be more secure,” Mrs Prasert said.

She added that she borrowed the money at a rate of 5% interest per month. She gave 130,000 baht to the TAO member and 200,000 baht to the police officer, she claimed.

Thongsak Kaowseesot, Mrs Prasert’s brother and an assistant village chief in Tambon Lam Nao, said that the police officer later told them that they could go and ask for Mr Lamduan’s bail bond to be returned.

When they went to the court, however, they found that examination of prosecution witnesses had already begun.

Mrs Prasert said that she went to confront the police officer, who is a deputy superintendent at a police station in the province. When she asked for her money back, the colonel threatened to arrest her for bribing a government officer.

Mrs Prasert said she didn’t know what would happen to her now that she had gone public with the allegation.

She paid the bribe because she is certain her son is innocent and called for help from Provincial Police Commander Sarawut Phiranon, she added.

Jarumai Nopharat, Head of the Nakhon Sri Thammarat Justice Center, said that he had received the complaint and that the center’s investigation would take no longer than 30 days.

The results will be sent to the commanding officer of the police officer in question, he said.

The complainant has evidence to back up her allegation, Mr Jarumai said.

If he is deemed guilty, disciplinary, criminal and civil actions can be sought against the accused.

The provincial governor will be informed of the findings as well, he added.

— Kom Chad Luek

Phuket News
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