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Phuket police confirm 63 arrested in connection with Thalang riots

PHUKET: An officer from Thalang Police Station has confirmed to The Phuket News that a total of 63 people have been arrested in connection with last year’s Thalang riots. He also confirmed that a further 23 suspects are still at large.

crime, police, drugs, violence, transport,

Supatra Sutham

Thursday 17 November 2016, 10:18AM

Thalang Police Chief Col Somphong Thiparpakul. Photo: Supatra Sutham
Thalang Police Chief Col Somphong Thiparpakul. Photo: Supatra Sutham

During a face-to-face interview with The Phuket News reporters yesterday (Nov 16), Thalang Police Chief Col Somphong Thiparpakul said that so far police had arrested 63 suspects wanted in connection with the riots in Thalang in October last year.

Half a dozen police officers were treated for injuries while over twenty vehicles were vandalised by angry rioters who had encircled the Thalang Police Station in retaliation for the death of two teenagers on Oct 15 last year. (See story here.)

During the interview yesterday, Col Somphong explained, “A total of 86 arrest warrants were issued for suspects involved in the riot. To this day we have arrested 63 of them. Most of these were arrested on separate warrants issued for drug charges. Their cases have been handed over to the Office of Phuket Public Prosecution.”

Col Somphong said those who have been arrested are either out on bail, being held at Phuket Provincial Prison or at the Phuket Department of Juvenile Observation and Protection (DJOP).

“Most of the arrested suspects have been arrested before on drug or other charges so we have a record about them already.

“However, we believe that most of the 23 wanted suspects who are still at large have already left the island and gone to other provinces. We have informed police in other provinces to keep eye out for these wanted men and bring them in,” Col Somphong said.

“I can assure you that we have not neglected this case. To the general public it may seem that we have not arrested anyone because some suspects are not in jail. Our job is to arrest them and pass the cases onto the public prosecutor.

“If some suspects are still out on the streets, this is because their families or community leaders have paid their bail, there is nothing we can we can do about this,” he added.

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A post made on the Facepage page of Wipaporn Tawongsri on November 10 concerning one of the suspects named as Mr Uthai Suklien, whose family and friends believe is a scapegoat for this case, states that Mr Uthai was not involved in the riot and even that police from Thalang Police Station have confirmed that CCTV images caught of a man with tattoos was not Mr Uthai.

It also states that Mr Uthai was one man who had an arrest warrant issued for him and that his family must come up with B500,000 bail for public prosecutors. It goes on to say that his family is poor and questions how they would be able to find such money to bail him out. (See post here.)

In reply to this, Col Somphong said, “Most suspects arrested in this case would have denied any involvement even if we have hard evidence against them. In the case of Mr Uthai, he was on the wanted list and I believe investigators had enough evidence to put him on it. I don’t think it is a mistake.

“Beside, the suspect caught on CCTV looked exactly like him but with tattoos. Now people are saying that Mr Uthai does not have any tattoos so he is not the person in the CCTV footage. People can remove a tattoo nowadays, some even have temporary tattoos. We just never know.

“However, his case is with public prosecutors now and it is up to them to decide. Everything we do must be done in accordance with the law,” he said.

“Cases are no longer our responsibility after arrests have been made and details have been sent to the public prosecutors. If the public prosecutor does not want to proceed with the case due to lack of evidence then the case might be dropped.

“Whether suspects including Mr Uthai are guilty or not it is up to the court to decide based on evidence collected,” he added.



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Joe12 | 19 November 2016 - 19:25:14

Rorii...Alas poor Rorri. You can't even understand an act of parliament let alone a simple news article.  It states, "To this day we have arrested 63 of them." It is merely co-incidental that most were arrested as well for drug offences on "separate warrants". Pretty straight forward really. So on your analysis, there were more than the 63 arrested, which is not right. If you want to know a court date, its merely a matter of asking...again straight forward. 

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Kurt | 19 November 2016 - 11:43:42

Timothy, you hit the nail on the head!
Exactly what I feel.
Unfortunately, this are not the 'circumstances' khun swerv ment.
He did conveniently overlook that by accusing me to be sarcastic.

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Timothy | 19 November 2016 - 09:46:23

The villains destroyed the Police station while the Police were hiding inside. They had video of all the criminal activity but then did nothing. In other reports, the Police were quoted saying that they were afraid to make arrests as this would cause another demonstration. Why did they allow the criminals to leave the island? The Police work was not that good...

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Kurt | 18 November 2016 - 19:51:37

Yes, Rorii, You are very right, in Singapore, indeed, it would have been handled more adequate and efficient.
Very much less bla bla and ..'on hand sitting'..

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Rorii | 18 November 2016 - 18:09:09

Oh dear joe12, you have been quiet for some time, but hey, welcome back, alas, you still haven't  learnt to read "Most of these were arrested on separate warrants issued for drug charges. " please note, not arrested on a warrants for the riot, my understanding of English  is that they where arrested on warrants NOT associated  with the riot. Perhaps your interpretation  is a little different, but then that wouldn't surprise me, you do seem think differently to most others, except swerv, oh and that ex-editor. As for showing up in court, there is no set date, no charges, so your blowing air out your, you know what.

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Joe12 | 18 November 2016 - 17:40:32

Rorri...the article states, "A total of 86 arrest warrants were issued for suspects involved in the riot." so the article cannot be wrong as you suggest. Co-incidentally, most of those arrested had outstanding separate warrants issued for drug charges. Pretty clear to me. 63 arrests being a few? That's a staggering amount. Great Police work. Yes, I can imagine some being on run. If I was wanted on a warrant I would be running and hiding too. 

What other questions would you want PN to ask? It has informed the public of what has occurred. Turn up to Court and hear the evidence if you are that interested in the case. 

The Phuket News

Rorii | 18 November 2016 - 15:04:34

"Phuket police confirm 63 arrested in connection with Thalang riots."
"An officer from Thalang Police Station has confirmed to The Phuket News that a total of 63 people have been arrested in connection with last year’s Thalang riots.

"Most of these were arrested on separate warrants issued for drug charges."

So, just how many actually had warrants, related to the riot.

So, it looks like the headline is WRONG, most arrests were unrelated to the riots... more poor reporting.

Over a year, and few arrests, maybe 23 still on the run, can you image this in any western country, or China, Japan, Nth and Sth Korean, Singapore etc.

Again, poor police work.
Oh, and let's not forget, no photos, just some dude behind his desk, so it didn't happen. Come to think about it, sitting behind ones desk is problem all that happened.

It really is a pity reporters do not ask question, just swallow what is spoon fed to them. My wife often comments, she wish Thailand news was like Australian news, i.e. ask questions, and question what they are fed.

The Phuket News

swerv | 18 November 2016 - 12:09:55

Kurt: The majority of them had fled Phuket, in fact 23 of them are still on the run.

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Kurt | 18 November 2016 - 10:39:19

khun swerv, what circumstances?

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swerv | 17 November 2016 - 15:53:53

Kurt: Do you have to be so sarcastic?
I think given the circumstances the police have done a good job.

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