Police assure fair investigation into Thawatchai’s death in DSI’s custody

Metropolitan police commissioner Pol Lt-Gen Sanit Mahathavorn on Wednesday (Aug 9) assured the younger brother of Thawatchai Anukul, a former land official who was “put to death” while in the custody of the Department of Special Investigation, that police would investigate the case in a way that is just and fair to all parties concerned.

Chainarong Anukul called on Pol Lt-Gen Sanit to discuss about the death of his brother, Thawatchai, after the Criminal Court ruled on Aug 4 that Tawatchai was put to death by someone, not a suicide as the DSI reported earlier.

Mr Chainarong later went to Thung Song Hong police station to meet with Pol Col Mana Pohchuey, the police superintendent, to discuss the same issue.

Chainarong Anukul, younger brother of Thawatchai

Thawatchai, a former Phangnga land official, was arrested by DSI on Aug 30, 2016 with a warrant issued by the Criminal Court for malfeasance in violation of Section 157 of the Criminal Code involving illegal issuance of land title deeds for several land plots in Phangnga and Phuket provinces.

Thawatchai was detained in a cell on the 6th floor of the DSI office. While in detention, Thawatchai was found unconscious with with his neck tied to the hinge of the detention cell with socks at 1am on Aug 31. DSI officials, who were in charge of the detention cell, testified to the court that they performed a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and sent him to Mongkutwattana Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 4.43am.

Citing the Criminal Court’s ruling last week that Thawatchai was “put to death” by someone, Pol Lt-Gen Sanit said the court’s ruling could be interpreted that the victim might be “put to death” deliberately or unintentionally.

However, he said that the police concerned would try to find out the truth about the victim’s mysterious death after they had received a copy of the court’s ruling from the public prosecutor.

Pol Col Mana, meanwhile, said his inquiry police officers would immediately launch the probe into Thawatchai’s death once they had received the court’s ruling from the public prosecutor.

Pol Col Mana

He said that the inquiry officers would also review autopsy reports which he described as a vital element of the investigation because there were no eyewitnesses when the victim died and there was no CCTV system in the victim’s detention cell.

Mr Chainarong told the media that the DSI had never contacted the victim’s family since his death about a year ago. However, he said he had hope that the case about his brother’s death would be cleared and the perpetrators would be arrested.